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Football

by Marc Narducci

Bishop Eustace Crusaders
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Conner Bor is one of the top defensive backs in the WJFL after earning first-team all-conference honors. He also is expected to take over at quarterback. Junior Daniel Wilkins is another quarterback candidate. Senior offensive lineman Eddie Hill was a second-team all-conference choice. Senior Cameron Lindh is expected to contribute at both offensive tackle and defensive end. Senior Philip Livecchi is a key component at running back and linebacker. Senior wide receiver-defensive back C.J. Rizzo has experience, especially in the secondary. Senior two-way lineman Jack Brandt and senior fullback-linebacker Sean Cirone are other key returning letter winners. Junior two-way linemen Mark Madrigale and Matt Fitzpatrick provide depth to both lines. A true sleeper hit is senior receiver-defensive back Luke Szumski (6-5, 185). Sophomore defensive back Tim McConnell is a key newcomer to watch.

OUTLOOK: The Crusaders were 4-6 and earned a playoff berth last season. Under coach Rob Cormier, the Crusaders annually have one of the top defenses in South Jersey and this year should be no exception. The key for the Crusaders will be finding offensive consistency and if so, then Eustace could produce a winning record and earn another playoff berth.

Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior running back/linebacker Jarred Alwan is considered one of the top defensive players in the state and is also one of the most recruited. He had 86 tackles last season. Joining Alwan on the first-team all-conference team were senior two-way lineman Jeff Miller and senior receiver-safety Thomas Wescott. Second-team all-conference choices were senior running back-linebacker Sean Collins, senior fullback-linebacker Will Jackson, junior receiver-defensive end Nick Tretina, and senior two-way lineman John Blake.

OUTLOOK: The Irish were one of the surprise teams in South Jersey, reaching the state Non-Public 2 title game before losing to Holy Spirit during a 10-1 campaign. Replacing graduated Pete Galiano at quarterback and in the secondary will be the biggest task for second-year coach Gil Brooks, but the Irish have enough to contend for a divisional and playoff title. Junior Ryan Ziegler could emerge as the quarterback for the Irish. Timber Creek, the likely preseason No. 1 team in South Jersey, has moved to Camden Catholic’s division, the WJFL Constitution, so it will be a major challenge to repeat as division champions.

Cherokee Chiefs
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior tight end Jake Powell and senior offensive guard Drew Wilhelm are returning starters on offense, while the two returning defensive starters are senior defensive back Tyler Miller and junior linebacker Ryan Seward. Junior quarterback Max Joseph threw five touchdown passes. Joseph and sophomore Ryan Vallen are the main quarterbacks in camp. Junior running back Matt Stickney rushed for 456 yards and five touchdowns. Other experienced players include senior defensive tackle Zach Madden, senior tight end Chris Brown, senior fullback Steve Murawski, junior offensive tackle Chase Hoger, junior strong safety Troy Domenick, junior wide receiver Matt Curry, junior defensive back Rob Agnoni, junior linebacker Anthony Gambone, and junior kicker Kenny Ravel.

OUTLOOK: The Chiefs were 7-3 last season but didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. This is a relatively inexperienced team, but a strong junior class should help Cherokee return to the postseason and compete in the new South Jersey Group 5 class. Cherokee will also be a contender in the Olympic Conference American Division. This is a program that is among the best in South Jersey and is always expected to contend, regardless of how many players have graduated. Coach P.J. Mehigan is among the area’s best coaches. Most programs would be in a rebuilding mode, especially after losing quality running back Zaire Williams, who transferred to Timber Creek. Yet Cherokee ended its season winning five of its last six games and looks to carry that momentum into this season.

Cherry Hill East Cougars
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior wide receiver/defensive back/punter Nick DiVito earned first-team all-WJFL National Division honors on defense. He will be among the most versatile players in the WJFL. The Cougars will have three quarterback prospects, seniors Blaise Paglione and Alex Kramer and sophomore Brandon Stern. Despite some serious losses to graduation, East has a solid core of seniors, including tight end-defensive end Josh Flowers, two-way linemen Jonni Cassano and Tyler Drob, wide receiver-safety Nick Dellavecchia, fullback-linebacker Daishi Goto and defensive lineman Isaiah Milligan-Smith. Key returning letter winners from among the senior class include two-way linemen Jason Stitt, Evan Alterman and Lou Calabrese, and wide receiver-defensive back Nick Phelan.

OUTLOOK: The Cougars move from the National to the American Division, and with so much lost to graduation, it will be difficult to match last year’s 7-3 record. That was the school’s first winning record since 2006. Still, East did establish a winning attitude and showed it could compete favorably against anybody on its difficult schedule. The goal this year is to be competitive since East will probably be less experienced than any other team in the American Division.

Cherry Hill West Lions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior quarterback-defensive back Rodney Williams is a returning first-team all-conference player who can impact a game on either side of the ball. Williams rushed for nearly 600 yards and six touchdowns and also passed for 411 yards and four touchdowns. He is also a prolific scorer in basketball, and has been a varsity football performer since his freshman year. Senior two-way lineman Connor Moloney was a second-team all-conference selection on defense. Three other returning two-way starters are senior wide receiver-safety Jimmy Verzicco, senior two-way lineman Matt Mena and junior receiver-cornerback Geronimo Santana. First-year coach Brian Wright also welcomes back the following starters—senior linebackers Nick Mallardi and Craig Lind, senior receiver Greg Smolsky (two touchdown receptions), junior defensive end David Campone, and junior fullback John Bendig.

OUTLOOK: The Lions as usual have a difficult schedule, but they were more competitive than their 2-8 record showed and also earned a 38-35 win over playoff-bound Moorestown. Williams is a game-breaker and the key will be the development of the offensive line. Moloney (6-1, 240) will be a leader on both sides of the ball. West’s first goal is improvement and, with a strong junior class leading the way, it’s a realistic goal.

Eastern Vikings
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior defensive back-receiver Eli Woodard was one of the most highly recruited players in the state before making a verbal commitment to attend Ohio State, where he will play defense. Woodard will also offer an explosive player on offense, to go along with one of South Jersey’s top juniors, quarterback Tom Flacco, who was the starter all last season. Eastern’s strength is in its secondary and senior Tyrone Thompson and junior T.J. Gardner are quality defensive backs in addition to Woodard. Two-way linemen who offer experience are senior Tim Sheridan and junior Diante Young.

OUTLOOK: The Vikings went 4-6, an improvement of three wins over 2010 and now the goal will be to produce a winning record and vie for a postseason berth. It’s possible, but Eastern has one of the more difficult schedules in South Jersey. A key will be the development of Flacco, who made great strides in his first season at Eastern after transferring from Camden Catholic.

Gloucester Catholic Rams
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior running back-defensive back John DeLaurentis was a first-team all-conference performer on offense. Two second-team choices were junior offensive tackle-linebacker Glen Garrison on defense and junior two-way lineman Anthony Antonini on offense. Senior Pat Hiester saw time at quarterback and receiver last season and also could play in the secondary. Other returning veterans include junior defensive back Pat Rafferty, senior nose guard Brandon Wethman, junior offensive guard Zachary Carney, senior center Nick Liscio, junior receivers James Higginbotham and Matt Davis and senior defensive end Brian Myers.

OUTLOOK: The Rams went 3-7 (with one forfeit win) but won two of their last four. This is a team that struggled to score for the first part of the season. In the last four games, the Rams averaged 20 points per game. If the offense can keep that type of pace, the Rams should be improved, although they won’t be favored against the likes of Glassboro and Penns Grove in the WJFL Diamond Division.

Haddonfield Bulldogs
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior offensive lineman-defensive lineman Charlie O’Neil and senior offensive lineman-defensive lineman Michael DiNoia are returning two-way starters. Junior quarterback-defensive back Mike McLaughlin saw extensive time on defense and had three interceptions. He is expected to take over at quarterback. Others who saw some playing time on what was a senior-laden team were senior tight end-linebacker Brian Collins, junior fullback-linebacker Henry Klaus, senior running back-linebacker Adam Augugliaro, senior two-way lineman Eric Currie, senior receiver-linebacker Mike Ranalli, junior receiver-defensive end Ted Stavetski, and junior two-way lineman Patrick Porter.

OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs were 11-1 in winning the Colonial Conference Liberty Division and suffered the lone loss to West Deptford in the South Jersey Group 2 final. (Haddonfield had beaten West Deptford in the regular season to win the Colonial Conference Liberty Division.) Few teams in South Jersey were hit as hard by graduation as the Bulldogs, but coach Frank DeLano (68-40) has built this program to be competitive every year and this is no different. Haddonfield will clearly be the underdog to West Deptford in the Liberty, but the Bulldogs should get better as the season goes on, and despite all the new faces, this should be a playoff team, and a dangerous one at that.

Lenape Indians
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior running back-defensive back Arkemus Baskerville was a first-team all-conference choice on defense and he also scored 10 touchdowns. The offensive line will be strong, led by two second-team all-conference choices, seniors Ulysses Amanfu and Dan Walker. Both will also play on the defensive line. Senior fullback-linebacker Abdul Crowther earned second-team all-conference honors on defense. Defensive back Kendall Green and junior two-way lineman Craig Cassidy are other experienced players returning. Among the key letter winners are two-way lineman Chad Cunningham, quarterback Justin Holl, and wide receiver John Morgan.

OUTLOOK: The Indians were 4-6 under then first-year coach Tim McAneney, who enjoyed success at previous stints at Holy Cross and Bishop Eustace. Lenape was competitive in virtually every game and this season the Indians, while not considered a WJFL American Division favorite, will be a difficult opponent. Lenape hopes to improve on last year’s record and possibly vie for a playoff berth, both difficult, but attainable, goals.

Moorestown Quakers
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Drew Pederson was one of the top safeties last season, with eight interceptions. He will also take over at quarterback and could be among the elite in that position as well. He is also an accomplished punter. Senior receiver-defensive back Anthony Bonett had four touchdown receptions. Senior two-way lineman Shane Rafter (6-5, 290) is a Temple recruit and a top returning player. He teams up with fellow senior two-way lineman Jake Dever (6-2, 265) to give Moorestown stability on both sides of the ball up front. Senior wide receiver-defensive back Sidney Ruffin had 38 receptions for 478 yards and three touchdowns, while junior Justin Varga returns to help the linebacking corps. Other key returning seniors include two-way linemen Jerry Barlow, Patrick Visco and Dan Willis, offensive guard/tight end/nose guard Anthony Sebastiani, running back-linebacker Albert McHugh, and tight end-linebacker Doug Jurin. Juniors of note include receiver-safety Dallas Clark, tight end-linebacker Shane Lawless, receiver-safety Tyreek Robinson, two-way lineman Trevor Allen, and running back-line backer Kevin Ewers.

OUTLOOK: Last season, the Quakers were a preseason top 10 team, and while this year they may not be, Moorestown could exceed its win total after a 6-5 season. Timber Creek and Camden Catholic are the WJFL Constitution Division favorites, but the Quakers will be highly competitive. Pederson only attempted 10 passes as the backup quarterback, but this year he could be among the best in South Jersey. By season’s end, Moorestown could be a viable threat in the sectional playoffs.

Paul VI Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior linebacker Greg Pease, a second- team all-conference selection, is the Eagles’ defensive leader. Senior receiver-defensive back Zach Grant, who was a welcome addition last season, has game-breaking ability. Last season, both junior Alec Vignola and senior Chase White saw time at quarterback, but White is moving to receiver. White is also a defensive back. Some of the other veterans include junior linebacker Keaton Sentak, sophomore tight end-linebacker Matt McEwen, sophomore linebacker Kishon Banks, junior two-way linemen Robert Marra and Evan Tootle, junior defensive back Allen Trusty, and junior running back-defensive back Faheem Boyd, yet another potential game-breaker.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles had high expectations last year, but it was a season with one costly injury after another and they could never rebound during a 2-8 campaign. Now this year, Paul VI faces added competition in a difficult WJFL Constitution Division that has added Timber Creek, the likely preseason No. 1 South Jersey team. So their goal will be to improve on the record and get back to winning ways for a program that prior to last season had captured four consecutive division titles.

Seneca Golden Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior tight end/defensive end Will Flake is a returning first-team all-conference player on defense who could be among the top defensive linemen around. Senior two-way lineman Garrett Funches (6-2, 275) joined Flake on the all-conference first team. Senior running back/safety Joe Pawlowski rushed for 990 yards and 15 touchdowns. Four others who saw extensive two-way duty last year are senior running back/linebacker Alec Flexon, senior receiver-linebacker Matt Southwick, senior receiver-defensive back Allen Seigler, and senior wide receiver-defensive back Tyler Schulte. Seigler led the team with 19 receptions, three for touchdowns. Other returning starters include senior center Derek Kammerer, senior guard Matt DeSantis, junior guard John Maurer, junior offensive tackle Bryce Sonberg, senior defensive tackle Tim Will, senior linebacker Kevin Wojno, senior linebacker Evan Wassall, junior defensive end Chase Vena, and senior safety T.J. Johnson, who is also expected to be the quarterback.?

OUTLOOK: With an experienced unit, the Golden Eagles should improve on last year’s 3-7 record. Seneca’s strength is its line and running game, two staples under coach Bill Fisher, and if the defense shows improvement from last year, the Golden Eagles could be among the more improved teams in the West Jersey Football League.

Shawnee Renegades
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior running back Rob DiOrio rushed for 755 yards and nine touchdowns and leads what should be a strong ground attack. Senior running back-linebacker Evan Wayns was a second-team all-conference choice on defense and rushed for 464 yards and two touchdowns. Senior linebacker Marc Yeager had 99 tackles. Junior two-way back Anthony DiOrio recorded 58 tackles and was a second-team all-conference defensive choice. Senior wide receiver-defensive back Jake Dean was a second-team all-conference choice on offense after catching 25 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Other key veterans include senior wide receiver-defensive back Zach McHale, senior defensive back Cory Munger, senior offensive guard Chris Moran, and senior kicker Vince White, who had five field goals. Among the other key veterans are senior quarterback Andrew Bertolino, senior two-way lineman Jake Pisarcik, senior receiver-defensive back Eric Spires, and junior running back-receiver Kyle Borbi. Shawnee suffered a key blow when senior two-way lineman Zach Smekal (5 sacks) was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury in June.

OUTLOOK: As usual, Shawnee will have a big line, led by Pisarcik (6-4, 285). Coach Tim Gushue (195-93-6) is among the best in South Jersey and has built a team that expects to contend and usually delivers every year.

Washington Township Minutemen
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Tom Hildebrand earned first-team all-conference honors after rushing for nine touchdowns and throwing five more. Senior receiver-defensive back Chris Colavita was a second-team choice on defense after intercepting three passes. He also caught three touchdown passes. Senior linebacker D.J. Brown was another first-team all-conference choice after averaging 8.5 tackles per game. Junior linebacker Andrew O’Neill and senior Joseph Cotton were second-team all-conference choices.

OUTLOOK: The Minutemen were 7-4 and won a playoff game over a Williamstown team that then beat Washington Township on Thanksgiving to earn the WJFL American Division title. Township should again contend for the division and will be a viable threat to earn a playoff berth. This is a program that usually contends each season and this year should be no different.

Schedules

Bishop Eustace Crusaders
9/7 vs. Woodrow Wilson, 7 p.m.
9/14 vs. Gloucester Catholic, 7 p.m.
9/21 vs. Cumberland Regional, 7 p.m.
10/5 at Deptford, 7 p.m.
10/12 vs. Camden Catholic, 7 p.m.
10/19 vs. Delsea Regional, 7 p.m.
10/26 at Cherry Hill West, 7 p.m.
11/3 at Camden, 11 a.m.
11/22 at Pennsauken, 11 a.m.

Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
9/7 vs. Timber Creek, 7 p.m.
9/14 vs. Camden, 7 p.m.
9/21 vs. Moorestown, 7 p.m.
10/12 at Bishop Eustace, 7 p.m.
10/19 at Seneca, 7 p.m.
11/2 vs. Cherry Hill West, 7 p.m.
11/21 at Paul VI, 7 p.m.

Cherokee Chiefs
9/14 at Triton, 7 p.m.
10/5 vs. Washington Township, 4 p.m.
10/12 at Shawnee, time TBA
10/19 at Eastern, 7 p.m.
10/26 vs. Pennsauken, 7 p.m.
11/2 vs. Cherry Hill East, 7 p.m.
11/22 vs. Seneca, time TBA

Cherry Hill East Cougars
9/7 at Williamstown, 7 p.m.
9/15 at Pennsauken, 12 p.m.
9/22 vs. Eastern, 11 p.m.
9/28 at Moorestown, 7 p.m.
10/6 vs. Lenape, 3 p.m.
10/13 vs. Paul VI, 11 a.m.
10/20 at Washington Township, 4 p.m.
11/2 at Cherokee, 7 p.m.
11/21 vs. Cherry Hill West, 6 p.m.

Cherry Hill West Lions
9/7 at Paul VI, 7 p.m.
9/14 at Cumberland Regional, 7 p.m.
9/21 vs. Timber Creek, 7 p.m.
10/5 vs. Seneca, 7 p.m.
10/12 vs. Woodrow Wilson, 7 p.m.
10/19 at Moorestown, 7 p.m.
10/26 vs. Bishop Eustace, 7 p.m.
11/12 at Camden Catholic, 7 p.m.
11/19 vs. (TBA), 7 p.m.
11/21 at Cherry Hill East, 6 p.m.

Eastern Vikings
9/7 at Washington Township, 7 p.m.
9/13 vs. Timber Creek, 6 p.m.
9/22 at Cherry Hill East, 11 a.m.
9/28 vs. Rancocas Valley, 7 p.m.
10/5 vs. Williamstown, 7 p.m.
10/12 at Clearview, 7 p.m.
10/19 vs. Cherokee, 7 p.m.
10/26 vs. Winslow Township, 7 p.m.
11/2 at Lenape, 7 p.m.
11/9 vs. (NJSIAA Game), 6 p.m.
11/16 vs. (NJSIAA Game), 7 p.m.

Gloucester Catholic Rams
9/8 vs. Arthur P. Schalick, 10:30 a.m.
9/14 at Bishop Eustace, 7 p.m.
9/22 at Penns Grove, 12 p.m.
9/29 vs. Pitman, 10:30 a.m.
10/5 at Highland, 7 p.m.
10/20 vs. Woodstown, 10:30 a.m.
10/26 at Camden Catholic, 7 p.m.
11/3 vs. Glassboro, 2:30 p.m.
11/22 vs. Gloucester City, 10:30 a.m.

Haddonfield Bulldogs
9/7 vs. Paulsboro, 7 p.m.
9/14 at Lindenwold, 7 p.m.
9/21 vs. Sterling, 7 p.m.
9/28 at Collingswood, 7 p.m.
10/13 at Woodbury, 10:30 a.m.
10/19 at Gateway Regional, 7 p.m.
10/27 at Overbrook, 11 a.m.
11/2 vs. West Deptford, 7 p.m.
11/9 vs. (NJSIAA Game), 7 p.m.
11/16 vs. (NJSIAA Game), 7 p.m.
11/22 vs. Haddon Heights, 11 a.m.
11/30 at (NJSIAA Game), 7 p.m.

Lenape Indians
9/7 vs. Cherokee, 7 p.m.
9/14 vs. Seneca, 7 p.m.
9/21 vs. Washington Township, 7 p.m.
10/6 at Cherry Hill East, 3 p.m.
10/12 at Timber Creek, 7 p.m.
10/19 at Washington Township, 7 p.m.
10/26 vs. Rancocas Valley, 7 p.m.
11/2 vs. Eastern, 7 p.m.
11/22 at Shawnee, 11 a.m.

Moorestown Quakers
9/28 vs. Cherry Hill East, 7 p.m.
10/5 vs. Timber Creek, 7 p.m.
10/13 at Camden, 11 a.m.
10/19 vs. Cherry Hill West, 7 p.m.
11/3 vs. Paul VI, 3 p.m.

Paul VI Eagles
9/7 vs. Cherry Hill West, 7 p.m.
9/14 at Clearview, 7 p.m.
9/21 at Seneca, 7 p.m.
9/28 vs. Winslow, 7 p.m.
10/13 at Cherry Hill East, 11 a.m.
10/19 at Timber Creek, 7 p.m.
10/26 vs. Triton, 7 p.m.
11/3 at Moorestown, 3 p.m.
11/9 vs. NJSIAA State Tournament, TBA
11/21 vs. Camden Catholic, 7 p.m.

Seneca Golden Eagles
9/21 vs. Paul VI, 7 p.m.
10/5 at Cherry Hill West, 7 p.m.
10/26 vs. Washington Township, 7 p.m.

Shawnee Renegades
9/21 vs. Triton, 7 p.m.
10/20 at Winslow, 12 p.m.
11/2 vs. Pennsauken, 7 p.m.

Washington Township Minutemen
9/7 vs. Eastern, 7 p.m.
9/15 at Winslow, 12 p.m.
9/21 at Lenape, 7 p.m.
9/28 vs. Pennsauken, 7 p.m.
10/5 at Cherokee, 7 p.m.
10/20 vs. Cherry Hill East, 4 p.m.
10/26 at Seneca, 7 p.m.
11/2 vs. Clearview, 7 p.m.
11/9 at NJSIAA State Tournament, TBA
11/16 at NJSIAA State Tournament, TBA
11/22 vs. Williamstown, 10 a.m.
11/30 at South Jersey Finals, TBA

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Fall Sports Preview, July, 2012.
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