Coach Mark Reardon begins his second season as the St. Augustine Prep football coach this year.

But to him this is year one.

“This is where the culture of creating a football team really takes off,” Reardon said. “Last year I didn’t have a clue. I had no idea what the expectation level should be. This our foundation year with the freshmen class coming in.”

The Hermits finished 8-2 and won the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference last season. They are young this season but are once again the conference favorites.

The Hermits relied on the run last season. Running back Calvin Cass, now at Navy, rushed for 2,001 yards.

The running game will once again be the key to the Hermits success.

Mike McGrath, a 6-foot-6, 310 senior with a scholarship offer from Monmouth University, leads the offensive line.

 The Hermits will feature talented but inexperienced running backs in freshman Cashmir Phillips and junior Lamont Harris. Reardon said Phillips will touch the ball 15 to 20 times a game.

Sophomore Jose Tabora steps in at quarterback. Austin Francisco, a 6-4 senior, could emerge as one of the conference’s top receivers. Freshman wide receiver/running back Brandon Outlaw may be the fastest player to ever take the field for the Hermits.

St. Augustine will be experienced on defense with senior Tim Kennelly (linebacker), Justin Welsh (defensive lineman) and Ryan Piscitelli (defensive back).

I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.