There were 40 seconds left in the first half.

West Deptford was at midfield, figuring to run out the clock and take a 13-0 lead into the locker room.

Tyshawn Bookman had other ideas.

The junior running back broke about six tackles, cutting and spinning his way to a 49-yard touchdown that served as one of the highlights of West Deptford's 51-0 victory over St. Joseph on Saturday.

West Deptford’s Tyshawn Bookman raises the football in celebration after his 49-yard touchdown run.
Akira Suwa/For the Inquirer
West Deptford’s Tyshawn Bookman raises the football in celebration after his 49-yard touchdown run.

For West Deptford, there were many highlights.

For St. Joseph, there was shock.

"To be honest, I don't know what happened," St. Joseph junior two-way back Jada Byers said. "They took our pride."

St. Joseph (5-2), the No. 4 team in the Inquirer Top 25, played without veteran coach Paul Sacco and a pair of top two-way linemen, all of whom had been suspended Wednesday by school principal Allain Caparas.

In a statement issued by the school on Wednesday, Caparas wrote that, on Sept. 28, St. Joseph players had used "foul and racially offensive language" in a video that was posted on social media and directed to a Haddonfield player.

Caparas said that St. Joseph players would receive disciplinary consequences "proportionate to each student's involvement" and also that Sacco, South Jersey's all-time leader with 322 career victories in his 36th season, would be suspended for two games.

Sacco also will sit out St. Joseph's game Friday at Timber Creek. The team was coached by top assistant Rick Mauriello

The Wildcats must try to rebound from their worst loss since a 64-8 setback to cross-town rival Hammonton in 1969.

St. Joseph was 0-9 that season.

The Wildcats were undefeated and No. 1 in South Jersey as recently as the morning of Sept. 29.

"It was a very tough week, a very tough week," Byers said.

West Deptford’s Jason Collier (No. 88) with tackle of St. Joseph’s Nate Johnson (No. 6).
Akira Suwa/For the Inquirer
West Deptford’s Jason Collier (No. 88) with tackle of St. Joseph’s Nate Johnson (No. 6).

West Deptford (4-2), the No. 15 team in the rankings, played its best game, according to first-year coach Jason Morrell.

"We made it us versus us and challenged our guys to be the best version of ourselves," Morrell said.

It was a surreal scene on a cool, overcast afternoon at Bill Bendig Field.

Sacco's absence was odd enough. But it was a jarring sight to see the Wildcats, who probably are the most decorated South Jersey program in the modern era, struggle to play solid football.

"I love Paul Sacco," Morrell said. "I've known him since I was a young man. We've worked camps together. I'm sick for him.

"But we wanted to make the focus about us."

West Deptford dominated the game from start to finish. Bookman opened the scoring by picking up a fumble and racing 26 yards into the end zone on St. Joseph's second offensive play.

West Deptford defensive back Ray Seas also scored on a fumble return, picking the football out of the air and running 35 yards into the end zone early in the third quarter.

"It just popped into my arms, and I ran with it," Seas said.

The Eagles, who were coming off a 27-21 loss to arch-rival Haddonfield, the No. 1 team in the rankings, on Oct. 5, also got two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Aaron Graeber.

The Eagles broke the game open with three touchdowns in the three-minute stretch spanning the second and third quarters, a sequence that included Bookman's touchdown run, recovery of an onside kick to open the third quarter, Graeber's 56-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Jake Paratore on third-and-16, and Seas' return for touchdown.

Seas' score made it 34-0 with 10 minutes, 1 second left in the third quarter.

"We wanted to show we were not a team that was going to be run over," Seas said.

Morrell said his team's defense and special teams were "lights out."

Graeber's scoring throws to Paratore and tight end Jason Collier were offensive highlights, along with T.J. Hoyt's one-yard plunge into the end zone.

But the play of the game for the Eagles was Bookman's scoring run.

"He is one a mission to become something special," Morrell said. "And he's all about the team."

Bookman called it a "simple pitch," but the junior turned it into as spectacular moment for the Eagles.

"At that point when I got the pitch, in my head no man was taking me down," Bookman said. "I just went all for it and it paid off at the right moment."

West Deptford        13    7    17    14   –   51

St. Joseph                0    0      0       0   –   0

WD: Tyshawn Bookman 26 fumble return (kick fail)

WD: Jason Collier 17 pass from Aaron Graeber (Brandon Radcliffe kick)

WD: Bookman 49 run (Radcliffe kick)

WD: Jake paratore 56 pass from Graeber (Radcliffe kick)

WD: Ray Seas 35 fumble return (Radcliffe kick)

WD: Radcliffe 28 FG

WD: T.J. Hoyt 1 run (Radcliffe kick)

WD: Donovan Stone 70 pass from Gavin Gismondi (Radcliffe kick)