"We knew this was an opportunity for us," said Deschler, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound two-way lineman. "We wanted to prove a point. We wanted to show that we deserve the No. 1 ranking."
Williamstown (10-0) could have beaten Washington Township (7-3) by a point on a last-second fluke play and the Braves still likely would have risen to No. 1 in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings.
That's because No. 1 St. Joseph lost by 14-6 to crosstown rival Hammonton on Wednesday night. As the No. 2 team, Williamstown was poised to assume the top spot with a victory.
But here's the thing: Williamstown seized the high ground in high style.
The Braves didn't back into the first No. 1 ranking in the history of the program. They banged down the front door.
"Our kids were excited," Williamstown coach Frank Fucetola said. "They had an incentive, a chance to make a statement."
The Braves had their annual "wing night" on Wednesday. Chamberlin wasn't there, as he was watching his cousin, St. Joseph senior quarterback/defensive back Anthony Giagunto.
Chamberlin was texting updates to junior halfback/defensive back Marques Little, who was passing the news to the rest of the Braves.
"I felt bad for Ant," Chamberlin said of his cousin. "But I knew it was an opportunity for us."
The Braves took care of business. They went 85 yards on 19 plays on their first possession, chewing up more than nine minutes in a drive that Chamberlin capped with a 3-yard scoring run.
It was more of the same all morning. The Braves controlled the clock with a powerful ground game that featured Chamberlin (21 carries, 102 yards), Little (14 carries, 87 yards), and senior Kali Boyce (12 carries, 116), who was named the Braves' most valuable player.
Senior linebacker Derek Lauria and senior end Marcus Riley (two sacks) led a defense that forced three turnovers and kept Washington Township from penetrating the 40-yard line expect for one drive late in the first half.
"We were hungry," Lauria said. "We knew what was at stake."
Williamstown's season is far from complete. The Braves will host Atlantic City (7-3) in a highly anticipated South Jersey Group 5 semifinal next Friday night for the right to advance to the first sectional title game in program history.
Moments before kickoff, the Braves will bust through that big banner as South Jersey's No. 1 team, a ranking they earned with their own performance.
Williamstown 6 14 15 7 – 42
Washington Township 0 0 0 0 – 0
W: John Chamberlin 3 run (kick blocked)
W: Kali Boyce 2 run (Boyce pass from Doug Banks)
W: Chamberlin 3 run (run failed)
W: Chamberlin 13 run (Matt Peacock kick)
W: Chamberlin 7 run (Marques Little run)
W: Chamberlin 1 run (Peacock kick)
Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/