WEST ORANGE, NJ (updated Sunday Dec. 3, 7:37 p.m.) – With his future college head coach in attendance, Ta’Quan Roberson certainly showed he knows what it takes to deliver a state championship.
The junior quarterback accounted for the only touchdown of the game in directing the top-seeded DePaul Catholic High School varsity football team to a 7-3 win over third-seeded St. Joseph of Montvale in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Non-Public Group 3 state championship game at Kean University in Union on Saturday afternoon.
Roberson, an Orange native and current West Orange resident, hit Teddy Harper with a 6-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to erase a 3-0 deficit. St. Joseph opened the scoring with a field goal earlier in the second quarter.
Statistically, it wasn’t one of Roberson’s best games as he completed 14 of 25 passes for 130 yards, but it was enough to get the job done.
For DePaul, based in Wayne, the victory was sweet redemption after losing to St. Joseph in last year’s state title game to spoil the Spartans’ bid for a four-peat state championship. St. Joseph also defeated visiting DePaul, 28-21, Nov. 4 in the Spartans’ final regular-season game this fall.
The state title is DePaul’s fourth in the past five seasons, and sixth in their history. DePaul capped the season with an 8-3 record.
Roberson played in front of Penn State head coach James Franklin, who was in attendance. Roberson committed to Penn State in October.
After losing to St. Joseph in the regular season finale, DePaul received a bye in the quarterfinals. Roberson was nearly flawless in the 42-21 win over sixth-seeded St. John Vianney in the semifinals as he completed 15 of 17 passes for 191 yards and six touchdowns.
Roberson completed his junior season with 2,433 yards passing and 30 TD passes.
For Roberson, winning the championship with his team was a thrill.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to (end the season) as champions, especially with my (teammates) and the ones who are seniors,” said Roberson on Sunday night, Dec. 3, in a phone interview with The West Orange Chronicle and The Record Transcript of East Orange and Orange.
Roberson and his team was determined to make amends from last year’s loss in the final
“We knew we couldn’t lose again. We just had to finish,” he said.
Roberson has fond memories of playing for Orange as youngster, particularly when he led his team to the league championship in the eighth grade.
Harper also played with Roberson for Orange.
Roberson also talked about his decision to pick Penn State, saying he has made a few visits to the campus and has built a good relationship with coach Franklin. Roberson said Penn State runs a similar offense to DePaul’s, and the school isn’t too far from home.