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Fall Sports Preview: Football

by Matt Cosentino


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Kevin Brandt is back to lead the offense after starting at quarterback as a junior. He ran for seven touchdowns and threw a pair of TD passes last fall. Bishop Eustace graduated its top running backs— including 1,000-yard rusher Kevin Lammers—and will turn to senior CJ Basso and juniors Andrew Ciampi and Stephen Schoenborn to handle the bulk of the carries. Schoenborn was the program’s JV Offensive Player of the Year last season. Junior Blake Hansen and senior Jeff Love should be the key targets through the air for Brandt, along with senior Ryan Gallagher. Junior Andrew Klitchko and seniors Spencer Wilkins and Michael Snyder are experienced players on the offensive line. Defensively, Klitchko paves the way up front and the linebacking corps includes Brandt and juniors Anthony DelMastro and Brian Dugan. Hansen was an all-conference second-team defensive back and leads a secondary that also returns Love and Basso.

OUTLOOK: A 29-28 win over Pennsauken in the 2015 season finale helped the Crusaders finish with a winning record of 6-4. They’ll look to make it two in a row in the new-look West Jersey Football League Royal Division, which brings in Moorestown and Triton to replace Camden and Camden Catholic.

Fighting Irish

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Camden Catholic suffered critical losses to graduation, including quarterback Tyree Rodgers and wide receiver/defensive back Jamal Parker, who both moved on to Division I college programs. One electrifying player who does return is senior running back Nazir Streater, an all-South Jersey and all-conference first-teamer who rushed for 1,106 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. Streater will take handoffs from a new QB, with sophomore Rob McCoy Jr. and junior Andre Tucker battling for the job. Junior Marcus Hillman and sophomore Tyrese Ware add depth at running back. Senior Kyle Dupree is an important target in the receiving game who had 14 catches last fall, and sophomore wide receiver Dante Kiett should take on a bigger role. Senior Chris King is a key returner on an offensive line that graduated all- conference players Jake Stillings and Hank Morris. On defense, Hillman (39 tackles, three sacks) and senior Tyler Romano (64 tackles, three interceptions) spearhead an excellent group of linebackers that also features senior Steve Burns and junior Gage Panno. King and sophomore Jeremy Nutt (30 tackles, two sacks) are stalwarts on the line, and Streater (95 tackles, three interceptions) leads the secondary along with Dupree. Sophomore Brian Cooey is back as the kicker and punter.

OUTLOOK: The 2015 campaign was a fantastic one for the Irish, who went 9-1 and claimed the WJFL Royal Division title. They hope to contend for a title this year in their new division—the Constitution—despite the loss of Rodgers and Parker.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cherokee brings back some exciting players at the skill positions, starting with senior running back John Lovett. The all-conference first- teamer rushed for over 1,300 yards and scored 14 touchdowns last fall and is receiving Division I college interest. Senior Jacob Bodine ended last season as the starting quarterback and returns to direct the offense. He tossed nine TD passes and also ran for four scores as a junior. Senior tight end Steve Gervasi earned all-conference first-team honors after making a team-high 22 catches and scoring three TDs, while senior wide receiver Mike Bowers and senior tight end Nick Elskamp are also receiving threats. Senior Brian Stickney and junior Patrick McKenna have experience on the offensive line. Defensively, the graduation of all-South Jersey linebacker Evan Powell (now at Monmouth) leaves a gaping hole. Leading the returners are senior defensive line- man Mike Pawlowski, an all-conference second- teamer, and safeties Lovett and senior Connor Ashton. Gervasi is back at defensive end, and junior Tyler Ludwikowski returns as a starting cornerback and the punter.

OUTLOOK: The Chiefs’ 8-3 season included a share of the WJFL American Division title and a trip to the South Jersey Group V semifinals, where they lost in overtime to Williamstown. The division only gets tougher this year with the addition of Hammonton and Kingsway, but look for Cherokee to be a contender as usual.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: A solid rushing attack is back for Cherry Hill East, led by seniors Jay-Jay Vaughters, Miles McLeod and Yusef Gordon. All-conference second-team quarterback Vinny Guckin has graduated, opening the door for junior Nick Patrizi, last year’s backup, to possibly take over as the starter. Sophomore Mitchell Donavan will also compete for the job. Seniors Josh Santana and Frankie Petalino are experienced receivers, and important players on the offensive line are senior Ryan Swenson and junior Devin Brown. Sophomore running back Nick Gazzola and junior lineman Justin Prechodko could also play bigger roles this fall, and sophomores Dominic Seta and Phil Drebick will add depth on the line. Defensively, Swenson leads the way after earning all-conference second-team honors on the line. Seta and Drebick will also contribute up front and the talented linebacking corps includes McLeod, Vaughters and seniors Gary Jackson and Chase Tinsley. Senior Josiah Lebrun and Santana are experienced defensive backs.

OUTLOOK: After finishing with a 2-9 overall record in 2015 as a member of the WJFL American Division, the Cougars move to the National Division this season. It will be interesting to see how they fare against a radically different schedule.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cherry Hill West has talented returners on both sides of the ball, starting with senior Harrison Hand, a Division I recruit at defensive back. Hand was an all-conference first-teamer on defense and is a key threat on offense at wide receiver. Senior linebacker Drew Lipford also made the all-conference first team and other returning starters on D include senior linemen Sameer Parks, George Vyzaniaris and Lorenzo Hernandez and senior defensive back Nick Alberto. Senior linebacker DeAndre Benson has recovered from a torn ACL and will also be a difference-maker on D. On offense, Alberto contributed at running back and quarter- back last fall and could take over as the full-time QB. Sophomore Monte Williams is expected to compete for the quarterback job as well. Junior Nick DiVietro and Benson are strong runners out of the backfield and Hernandez returns at fullback. Vyzaniaris earned all-conference first-team honors and leads the offensive line, and Lipford joins Hand at receiver.

OUTLOOK: The Lions finished with a 4-6 record last year thanks to a thrilling comeback win over rival Cherry Hill East in the season finale. They should remain competitive in the WJFL Constitution Divi- sion, which now includes strong programs from Camden and Camden Catholic.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Clearview graduated a big portion of its starting line-up but brings back two key players to build around. Senior running back Gyair Sharper possesses blazing speed and is a threat to find the end zone every time he touches the ball. He averaged 12 yards a carry and rushed for 14 touchdowns and added three TD receptions on his way to all-conference second-team honors as a junior. Senior Jarett Baker returns as the starting quarterback and should be even better with a year of experience under his belt. The option QB averaged 6 yards per carry and ran for four TDs and also tossed six TD passes. Senior Dan Kooistra and junior Sami Iqbal are important veterans on the offensive line and junior Reuben Cumpio is back at wide receiver. Defensively, senior linebacker Jake Welischek (59 tackles) and Baker (100 tackles), a defensive back, were both all-conference second-teamers. Sharper is also back in the secondary, Kooistra is a returning defensive lineman and senior Fred McAlpin contributes at linebacker after showing tremendous improvement in his first season on the team last fall. The Pioneers also expect several sophomores from last year’s 7-2 freshman team to contribute.

OUTLOOK: After three straight 4-6 seasons, the Pioneers hope to contend for a winning record in the new-look National Division behind Baker and Sharper.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Eastern has endured back-to-back rough seasons, but several seniors gained valuable experience and will look to lead the team this fall. That includes senior quarterback Zach White, a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder who has been starting since his sophomore year. Senior Shaun Davis and sophomore TJ Franden are key contributors at running back and will get the bulk of the carries. Seniors John Shaw and Jamir Wilson return on the offensive line, while junior Zahir Goyins and sophomore Dominic Harris could each play a big role at wide receiver. On defense, junior Cheston Bulgin—a 6-foot-3, 265-pound lineman—is drawing recruiting interest from Temple, Rutgers, Boston College and Virginia and should be a force up front. Davis and Goyins are important players in the secondary along with Harris, a free safety. Senior Ben Forsman returns at linebacker and Shaw and Wilson are back on the D-line.

OUTLOOK: The Vikings went 1-9 overall last year against an extremely tough schedule in the WJFL American Division. Things don’t get much easier with their move this season to the National Divi- sion, but they hope to make progress as a team.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Gloucester Catholic’s roster last fall was filled with juniors and sophomores, so there are plenty of returners. One important one is all-conference second-team defender Neil McGee, a senior linebacker who had two sacks and 30 tackles. Also back on defense are senior Angelo DeAngelis and junior TJ Logan on the line and senior linebacker Christian Holmes. The secondary is solid with junior safeties Matt Gray and Mike McAleer along with seniors Rashaan Hornsby, Colin Corrado and Santino Capone. On offense, senior Chris Garwood figures to take over as the starting quarterback after serving as the backup last year. Hornsby is a weapon out of the backfield who averaged 4.3 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns. McGee and Corrado will also carry the ball, and Gray is a promising wide receiver who led the team with 15 receptions in 2015. Holmes, McAleer and sophomore Cam Irrizary will also be targets for Garwood. DeAngelis is a returning starter on the offensive line, and juniors Kyle Murphy and Marty Shipe are expected to be key players on both the offensive and defensive lines.

OUTLOOK: After consecutive winless seasons as a member of the WJFL Diamond Division, the Rams make the move to the Classic Division, where the matchups should be more competitive for the rebuilding program.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: No matter what position he lines up at this fall, senior Brendan Gilmartin is sure to have an impact for Haddonfield. Last year he was an all-South Jersey third-team and all-conference first-team selection at defensive end as he led the Bulldawgs with 12.5 sacks and had 56 tackles. On offense, Gilmartin had 15 catches for 350 yards and two touchdowns at wide receiver, but actually finished the season as Haddonfield’s starting quarterback after an injury to starter Tommy Kadar. Gilmartin threw two TD passes in his only start at QB—a victory over Haddon Heights on Thanksgiving—and should move to the position full-time now that Kadar has graduated. Other key weapons on offense are senior running back Justin Gallo (667 yards rushing and six TDs) and senior wide receiver Matt Burns (18 receptions, 450 yards, five TDs). Seniors Alex Bolinger and Luis Clax are returning starters on the offensive line, while senior Joe Ellis and junior Ben Klaus are experienced backs and seniors Spencer Flores and Jason Garstkiewicz will contribute at receiver. Defensively, Gallo and Klaus are returning starters at linebacker and safety, respectively. Junior linebacker Will Ciemney had 66 tackles a year ago, and other experienced returners are Ellis in the secondary and Clax on the defensive line.

OUTLOOK: The Bulldawgs went 9-2 and lost a close game to eventual champion Cedar Creek in the South Jersey Group II semifinals. They have some holes to fill, particularly on defense, but should remain competitive as they say goodbye to the Colonial Conference and enter the West Jersey Football League.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: One of the most productive running backs in South Jersey, senior Anthony Seas, transferred to West Deptford after rushing for more than 1,000 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns for Kingsway last fall. The Dragons will also most likely be looking for a new starting quarterback. Whoever wins the job will have key players on the line in seniors John Dormann and Darius Scott. Senior Garrett Miller is an experienced wide receiver and junior running backs Erick Riley and Joel Scerbo also figure to play bigger roles on offense. Defensively, Riley is back in the secondary and is the only returning starter. Other returners who should contribute on D are senior defensive end James Curtis, senior linebackers Dormann, Joey Dellaquilla and Nick Belanger, and defensive backs Scerbo and Miller. The special teams are strong with Dellaquilla, an all-conference first-team punter, and junior kicker Sean Sandy, who won a game over Washington Township with a 33-yard field goal in the final minute.

OUTLOOK: Kingsway will have a completely new look this fall, not only because of a host of new starters but because of the absence of legendary coach Tony Barchuk, who retired after winning 206 games and one sectional championship in 37 years at the helm. The program is in good hands, however, as former Rowan linebacker and assistant coach Mark Hendricks takes over after serving as defensive coordinator at Lenape last fall. Hendricks, who was an assistant at James Madison University before coming to Lenape four years ago, will lead the Dragons into a new division, the WJFL American, which includes perennial powers like Cherokee, Shawnee and Hammonton.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior running back JoJo Kellum had a breakout season in 2015, rushing for 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games on his way to all-conference first-team honors. He’s back to lead the offense, and he’ll have a solid offensive line to run behind that includes all-conference first-teamers Noah Carroll and Tyler Steffa, both seniors, along with senior Julian Singh, and junior Steve Kirkwood. Senior Tim Montgomery and junior Matt Lajoie—last year’s back- up—are candidates to take over as the starting quarterback. Other experienced returners on offense are junior fullback Mike Galaida, an all-conference second-teamer, as well as senior Mike Doulong and junior Jake Topolski, both wide receivers. Senior Steve Cotoni will also contribute at receiver. Defensively, the key players include three all-conference second-teamers: junior lineman Aaron Acosta and defensive backs Montgomery and Doulong. Juniors Touron Fischer and Uthman Bruce also return on the D-line, and the linebacking corps includes senior Sam Ballard and junior Zach Cole. Topolski and Cotoni are experienced in the secondary. On special teams, senior Ben Harris is back as the kicker/punter and senior Ryan Cassidy returns as the long snapper.

OUTLOOK: The Indians have made great strides as a program in recent years, including 2015, when they went 8-3 and won the first playoff game in school history. They’ll look to keep it up this fall in the newly formed WJFL Capitol Division, featuring the likes of Rancocas Valley and Burlington Township.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Moorestown must replace three-year starting quarterback Mike DiMarino, who graduated, and there are several possible candidates, including sophomore Bryan McMonagle, junior Mike Holt and senior Hugh Malesh. Whoever wins the job will have a solid target in senior wide receiver Tommy Bolte, who had 20 catches for 347 yards and four touchdowns on his way to all-conference first-team honors. Senior Brandon Outlaw led the team in rushing last year and senior Zion Howard is another experienced running back. Senior Nate Dalmass is a returner on the offensive line and also shined at linebacker, recording 50 tackles. Key players on the defensive line are senior Zack Cataline, junior Bobby Garrison and sophomore Aaron Jacobs. Junior Mitchell Lisa is back in the secondary along with Outlaw and Bolte.

OUTLOOK: After finishing 3-7 overall last year as a member of the WJFL Constitution Division, the Quakers move into the Royal this year. It will be interesting to see how they fare against a schedule that’s almost completely different.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Change is in the air at Paul VI, which graduated 10 all-conference players and said goodbye to long-time coach John Doherty, who stepped down. The offense was especially hit hard, losing two-year start- ing quarterback Matt Vitale, dynamic receivers Lonnie Moore and Stefone Moore-Green and leading rusher Chris Randle. One of the top returners is senior Erick Robertson, a standout wide receiver/defensive back who is receiving Division I college interest. John Donegan is one of three juniors battling to take over as the starting quarterback and junior Jimmy Browne will likely emerge as the primary ball carrier. Junior running back Johnny Rodriguez will also get carries. Senior Adam Costantino returns at tight end and is expected to be a major factor in the passing game. Junior guard Austin Rapp and sophomore center Preston Verling will fill two big holes on the offensive line, and senior Cameron Flax is an experienced leader who can play multiple positions in the trenches. Defensively, 6-foot-1, 320-pound sophomore Isaiah Taylor will anchor the line along with juniors Eric Matos and Demetrius Hudson. Freshman Isaiah Raikes could also have an immediate impact on the D-line. Versatile junior linebacker Demetrius Hudson could be used in a variety of ways and Costantino also returns at linebacker. Senior Anthony Moran, a talented athlete who has committed to the Virginia Military Institute for lacrosse, is back at free safety. Sophomore Henry Westermann is a weapon on special teams who recently won a kicking competition at Rutgers’ specialist camp and has also been invited to a top national event for kickers in Chicago this summer.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles went 6-4 and won their second straight WJFL Constitution Division title last year. Now they move into the Nation- al Division with a new leader in Phil Brunozzi—the son-in-law of legendary St. Augustine basketball coach Paul Rodio—who replaces Doherty on the sidelines.

Golden Eagles

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior quarterback J.J. Scarpello, a four-year varsity player and three-year starter, is back to lead the Seneca offense. He threw for over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior and rushed for 415 yards and four TDs to earn all-conference first-team recognition. Senior Jurelle Watson has big-play ability and should emerge as the lead back, while junior Kevin Gsell will contribute at wide receiver. Senior Garrett Blesi, an all-conference first-teamer, is back to anchor the offensive line. The Golden Eagles suffered key losses on defense, but important returners are Blesi on the defensive line and Watson at linebacker. Junior Mike Maus is also expected to see time as a two-way lineman.

OUTLOOK: The Golden Eagles went 6-5 in 2015, winning three more games than the year before, and advanced to the South Jersey Group III semifinals before dropping a hard- fought game to eventual champion Delsea. They hope to remain competitive in the new-look Constitution Division, which welcomes in Camden, Camden Catholic and Pennsauken.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: For the first time in four years, Shawnee will have someone new taking the snaps after the graduation of three-year starting quarterback Mike Welsh, who made the all-South Jersey first team as a senior. There are several candidates to replace him, including seniors Mike McNeil and Zack Rex, juniors Preston Sarlo and Colin Wetterau and sophomore Ryan Yost. Whoever wins the job will have dangerous receivers in juniors Michael Johnson (26 receptions, four touch- downs) and Daevon Robinson (17 receptions), who both made the all-conference second team. Seniors Shawn Levondosky and Tom Robinson will also push for time at receiver. The Renegades graduated their two leading rushers and will look to juniors Ryan Parris and Dan Wigley to spark the ground attack. Possible contributors on the offensive line include seniors Mark Beachy, Alex Hilgetag, Kieran Hambrose, Eric Stein, Aaron Bill and Jack Byrne and junior Tom Kane. The defense graduated a tremendous player in David Gajderowicz, but is led by a strong linebacking corps that includes senior Jax Luzinski, an all-conference first-team selection, and Parris, an all-conference second-teamer. Both Luzinski and Parris recorded more than 90 tackles last season, and Parris added six sacks. Wigley and junior John Dias are other returning linebackers and the D-line includes seniors Neil Lynch and Eugene Wayns and junior Dan Falzone. Wetterau leads the defensive backfield after picking off three passes and earning all-conference second-team honors. Senior Avery Epstein also returns in the secondary, while juniors Jeremy Fisher and Ethan Rieger will compete for the starting free safety posi- tion and Robinson will also contribute. Rich Demko, a junior, was an all-conference second-team selection at kicker and sophomore Joe Dalsey is back after handling kickoff duties late in the 2015 season.

OUTLOOK: The Renegades bounced back from a slow start in 2015 to reach their third straight sectional final and finish with a 9-3 record. While there are big holes to fill on both sides of the ball, this is a strong program year in and year out and Shawnee should find a way to compete in the always-tough WJFL American Division.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Although St. Augustine graduated an outstanding senior class from last year’s special season, a strong core remains to build around. That includes junior running back Kyle Dobbins, who rushed for 1,613 yards and scored 21 touchdowns to earn all-South Jersey first-team honors. Senior running back Ezekial Ennis is another dynamic playmaker who ran for 550 yards, caught 24 passes for 564 yards and scored 12 TDs. Sophomore True Robinson saw playing time as a freshman and will also battle for carries. The Hermits graduated starting quarterback Jose Tabora, and junior Josh Zamot will look to take over behind center. He’ll have experienced receivers in juniors Shamere Collins and Xavier File and senior Tim Jurasik. Senior Paul Meduri is one of the key returners on the offensive line. Defensively, senior linebacker Quinn Dolan leads the way after recording 78 tackles and eight sacks on his way to all-South Jersey second-team and all-conference first-team recognition. Other important pieces of the defense are senior linebacker/defensive end Joshua Daids, an all-conference second-teamer who had 81 tackles and 4.5 sacks; senior linebacker Dean Kolonich (91 tackles); Ennis, an all-conference first-team defensive back; and Collins, who had nine interceptions and joins Ennis in the secondary. Other defensive returners include senior lineman Bobby O’Brien, senior linebacker Saki Mertis and junior defensive back Sean Mulhern. Junior Nathan Fondacaro is back to handle kicking and punting duties.

OUTLOOK: The Hermits had a magical run in 2015, as they finished with a 9-1 record and went undefeated against South Jersey teams to finish as the No. 1 team in the area. This season should be another successful one as they move into the newly formed WJFL Continental Division.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Washington Township graduated most of its top players at the skill positions, but the good news is the return of senior quarterback Mike Piperno for his third year as the starter. Piperno threw for over 1,500 yards and 17 touch- downs last year to earn all-conference first-team honors and is primed for a terrific final season. He’ll have a solid offensive line in front of him that includes all-conference second-team tackle Austin Hacking and fellow senior Dave Grosmick, a three-year starter. Junior Tyler Breen is another returning starter on the line and junior James Honey should also be in the mix. Senior Seif Albarqawi and juniors Colin Menteil and Kazmere Sturgis will likely get the bulk of the carries, and senior Ryan Brady is an experienced wide receiver. Grosmick leads the defense after recording 45 tackles and two sacks in an all-conference second-team season on the line. Hacking, Brady and senior Liam Watson are returning linebackers, while the secondary includes Albarqawi, Meinteil and senior Jarrett Dargusch.

OUTLOOK: The Minutemen enjoyed a big bounce-back year in 2015, finishing with four more wins than the season before on their way to a 6-4 record, a Group V playoff appearance and a piece of the WJFL American Division title. With Piperno leading the way, they’ll seek their second straight winning campaign.

To see a complete list of our Fall Sports Schedules, click here to go to our digital edition.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 5 (July, 2016).
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