"I've been on the other side," Hammonton coach Pete Lancetta said. "It can be a tough weekend to figure out how to handle it."
Three undefeated teams went down. Delran, Cedar Creek, and St. Joseph were a combined 26-0 and lost to teams that were a combined 16-11.
Paul VI was 5-4 and had lost four of five. The Eagles stunned a 7-2 Camden Catholic team that was coming off a huge playoff road win.
Cinnaminson was 5-4 and coming off a 27-point loss in the playoffs. The Pirates beat a 9-0 Delran team that had fashioned the program's best season in 20 years.
Lenape was 3-6. The Indians beat a 6-3 Shawnee team that had won three in a row, including a road playoff game.
Hammonton was 4-5 and had lost three in a row. The Blue Devils were looking at their first losing season since 1989. They stunned an 8-0 St. Joseph team that was No. 1 in The Inquirer Top 10 and had won 26 games in a row.
"It's really a tribute to the kids," Lancetta said. "Our practices were still good. We were still practicing last week the same as when we were 3-1.
"We hadn't been in this situation [with a losing record late in the season] for a long, long time. But the kids hung in there and kept battling. I was so happy for them to be able to come out with a win in the last game."
Hail Hawks. Haddon Township won its final two games, including a 30-0 victory over rival Audubon on Thanksgiving, to finish with a 6-4 record.
Coach Dave Dale said the Hawks recorded their first winning season since the 1991 team went 5-4.
"The kids accepted the challenge," Dale said. "They didn't let the minor bumps in the road stop them from accomplishing what they set out to accomplish."
Haddon Township had just five seniors, but Dale said the Hawks got plenty of production and leadership from that group.
Setting the tone was quarterback Jake Campbell as well as all-purpose standout Connor Wade.
"He never came off the field," Dale said of Wade.
The Hawks also got strong work from three other seniors: tight end/linebacker Corson Harter, center/defensive lineman Alex Higareda, and running back/defensive back Dan Clemente.
"They stayed the course," Dale said. "We would have taken 5-5. But 6-4 is a whole lot better."
This and that. Kingsway junior Ray Lawry has scored 10 touchdowns in the Dragons' last two games. With 1,828 rushing yards, Lawry needs 172 to join Glassboro's Corey Clement (2,166, and counting), Wildwood's Wesley Hills (2,106), and St. Augustine Prep's Calvin Cass (2,001) as 2,000-yard rushers this season. . . .
In St. Augustine's 41-40 overtime win over Cedar Creek on Thanksgiving, Cass tied the South Jersey record of 53 carries in a game set by Haddon Township's Beau Sherry in 1998. . . . Clement needs 344 yards to break his year-old record of 2,510 rushing yards in a season. He would play two more games if Glassboro beats Woodbury in Saturday's Group 1 sectional semifinals. . . .
Cherry Hill East senior Daishi Goto ran for 263 yards in a 28-0 victory over Cherry Hill West on Thanksgiving eve. Goto finished with 1,583 rushing yards, breaking the program record of 1,570 set in 2011 by Brian Regan. . . . Mainland senior Jim Cooper, a Temple recruit, set the state record for career field goals with 31. Cooper kicked three in a 30-9 win over Egg Harbor on Thanksgiving to break the mark of 30 set in 1991 by Lenape's Rob Juliano.
Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @PhilAnastasia. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports