Florence defeats Bordentown in rivalry football matchup

Florence Township Memorial High School quarterback Jason Baldorossi connects with receiver Cole Connelly for a 46-yard TD pass in the second quarter in an Oct. 11 game against Bordentown Regional High School in Bordentown. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

Florence Township Memorial High School earned a victory on the football field and bragging rights of the field, too.

Florence moved forward with a powerful running game and rolled to a 35-10 victory over Bordentown Regional High School on Oct. 11 in the rivalry showdown that was staged in Bordentown.

Florence, which was seeking to rebound from a 42-0 loss to a strong Penns Grove High School unit, did so behind a rushing attack that was sparked by Devonte German.

The dominating victory over its rival moved Florence to 3-3 on the season.

The defeat left Bordentown with a 0-5 record.

Florence struck fast when Daniel Bland returned the opening kick to the Bordentown 45.

On Florence’s first play from the line of scrimmage, quarterback Jason Baldorossi handed the ball off to German, who took off and dashed 45 yards to the end zone. Kicker Daniel Jantos converted the extra point to make it a 7-0 game and Florence was off to the races.

German ended with more than 130 yards on the ground and three TDs, including a 61-yard sprint in the second period.

German credited his big game on the ground to the efforts from his offensive line.

“The blocking was amazing,” German said. “The holes [they opened up for me] were huge. I was able to read the holes, find them and get to the end zone.”

Baldorossi got in on the action as well when he connected with receiver Cole Connelly for a 46-yard TD pass in the second quarter, and once Jantos connected on the conversion, Florence opened a 14-0 lead.

Baldorossi also scored on a short run from a yard out later in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Bordentown’s offense was led by running back Kerry Nicholas, who returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and a 29-yard field goal from Eliot Robinson, which also came in the first half.

Florence coach Joe Frappolli had explained after the game that there were some things he wanted to tighten up in his team’s play against Bordentown. But he had his sights set on a big upcoming Oct. 25 road game against Freedom Division rival Burlington City High School.

“We did some decent things and we started off good, but we’ve also got a lot of things to clean up,” Frappolli said. “[Bordentown] scrapped us. I told the [team] that it’s a bit of a trap game for us because we have to face Burlington City in two weeks, an arch rival for us, but [the win] does put us even. We have been battling all year long.

“Hopefully, we can go back and regroup, and get ready for the next game,” Frappolli commented.

With more than 560 rushing yards on the year from German, Frappolli will likely call upon him against Burlington City. Although German’s efforts on the field against Bordentown were limited in lieu of rest, once the Flashes took a commanding lead in the second half, the Florence coach was pleased with his performance.

“Devonte always plays with a lot of energy,” Frappolli said. “He has explosive speed and runs low to the ground and he had a big game.”

Although Florence remains undefeated against their Freedom Division opponents, each of the team’s losses has come from South Jersey teams around the league.

While the victory over Bordentown gives Florence a chance to earn a winning record against Burlington City, German said that the team will have to work on consistency throughout the game.

“I like how when we play our division games, we start off strong,” he said. “We come out hitting and get our turnovers, but our problem is maintaining that intensity. We start off strong, but we can’t maintain it, so if we can maintain that intensity, I think we can win the division.”

As Florence looks to take hold of the division in the upcoming weeks, Bordentown coach Skip Edwards said he is focused on development with his young group of players.

In his first season at the helm of the Bordentown squad, Edwards explained that he is proud of his team’s efforts to battle each week, but building a winning program will take time.

“I liked the fact that our players didn’t quit,” Edwards said. “They fought all through the game. We are growing. We are playing a lot of young kids, and we are trying to buy into the program. This is going to be a process […] We are going to do everything we have to do to make ourselves better.”