Cohen, Haddock lead Cherry Hill East past Florence in home opener


The Cougars celebrate after making a big play

The Cougars got exactly what they needed this past Saturday morning.

After dropping the season opener last week with a 34-7 loss to Moorestown, fans assumed that this would once again be the same East football team as it’s been for the past 10 years. However, the Cougars proved under new Head Coach Tyler Drob that this team could finally be turning the corner by winning 33-14 over the Florence Flashes. East has struggled mightily over recent seasons with their inability to close out games. But the Cougars putting up 18 unanswered points in the 2nd half is a good sign that this team could be different.

“Offensively, we simplified things this week and talked about execution,” Drob said. “We have many players with experience on offense and we challenged them to make plays. The offensive line played great and allowed Ben Cohen (‘24) and our wide receivers to make plays.”

After recovering an onside kick on the opening kickoff, the Flashes jumped out to an early 8-0 lead. Panic never set in for the Cougars as on the very next drive, Cohen connected with Ethan Haddock (‘23) on a 36-yard screen pass for a touchdown. Later in the half, Cohen found Haddock again on a 45-yard touchdown pass. The duo would strike magic one more time in the 2nd half with a 41-yard touchdown.

“Ben has the confidence and leadership to make a great QB,” Haddock said on his teammate. “We’ve created a great connection shown in last week’s game by trusting each other and knowing we have each other’s back. When we are on the same page, Ben and I make a good pair that is hard to beat.” 

The Cougars  forced three turnovers which is something that they were not able to do very often last year. Andrew Watson (‘23), a defensive lineman, had a rare interception that set up Haddock’s second touchdown of the game. Haddock himself had an interception in the 2nd half which shut down all hopes of a comeback for Florence. Haddock’s brother, Aidan Haddock (‘24), forced a fumble on a kickoff that set up Ethan’s third touchdown of the game. Brayden Peeler (‘24) had a team-high eight tackles.

For Drob, this was his first win as the head coach of his alma mater. Drob returned to East four years ago as an assistant coach after being a Division II standout and team captain for West Chester University.

“This first win means a lot because our team has worked tremendously hard for this,” Drob said. “The players and coaches have been dedicated all summer and it is great to get the first win and see some hard work pay off.”

The Cougars will look to continue their momentum when they take on Holy Cross Prep on Saturday morning at home.