The Egg Harbor Township High School football team searched for its identity in the preseason.
The Eagles didn't know who they were because they are a young team for the first time in several seasons.
"We're going to be starting some sophomores and juniors," EHT coach Tony DeRosa said. "It's fun to have a young team, but it's also frustrating.
"But this is a great group of kids that really made a lot of sacrifices in the summer. I think they are a hungry group, and we're excited about what we'll be when we line up. We're a young team but we have a lot of depth."
EHT does return some veterans on the offensive and defensive lines.
"I think the offensive and defensive line are the heart and soul of every team," DeRosa said.
"We're going to rely on our guys up front. We have to be physical up front. If we can do our job upfront and make some holes, some of our younger, smaller backs can make things happen. We want to run the ball inside."
Eric Morrison, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound offensive tackle, is a three-year starter. Austin Gray, a 6-2, 270-pound senior lineman, is a defensive force and a two-year starter.
DeRosa said Gray has dropped 15 pounds from last season.
On offense, the Eagles will rely on running backs Dante Moore (5-8, 175) and Randy Canela (5-9, 155). Moore, a sophomore, started as a freshman.
"They're not the biggest backs in the league," DeRosa said. "But they're very fast. They're very physical. They have a natural ability to run the ball and they can catch it too. They're going to be our workhorses."
Senior Adam Bynum and junior Kyle Houghton are contending for the quarterback spot.
Bynum started against Mainland Regional last Thanksgiving.
The Eagles should be prepared for the regular season.
They scrimmaged a pair of South Jersey champions in Delsea Regional (Group III) and Williamstown (Group V).
"There's no breaks in the (Cape-Atlantic League American Conference)," DeRosa said. "We have to stay together as a team. There's going to be times that things are not going to go our way. We have to deal with adversity.
"Sometimes when you play with a lot of young kids they don't handle adversity well. We have to develop an identity and keep getting better week in and week out."
Contact Michael McGarry:
Coach: Tony DeRosa (86-68)
League/Group: Cape-Atlantic League American Conference/South Jersey Group V
Last season's record: 4-6
Playoff appearances: 11
Playoff record: 10-9
2013 prediction: Rebuilding – The Eagles are young but Eric Morrison and Austin Gray lead veteran offensive and defensive lines.
Key game: Sept. 20 vs. Atlantic City – This is the second of two home games for EHT at the start of the season.
Key players: Gianni DiBabbo, Sr., TE/LB, 6-0, 210; Randy Canela, Jr., RB/DB, 5-9, 155; Dante Moore, So., RB/DB, 5-8, 160; Dupres Bolden, Sr., TE/LB, 5-9, 195; Eric Morrison, Sr., OL/DL, 6-2, 255; Angelo Branca, Jr., TE/LB, 5-9, 185; John Ahl, Sr., OL/DL, 5-9, 235; Austin Gray, Sr., OL/DL, 6-2, 280; Adam Bynum, Sr., QB/DB, 6-1, 175; Brett Welcz, So., OL/LB, 5-01, 187; Tom McGrail, Jr., OL/DL, 5-10, 216; Wolf Trumbauer, Sr., FB/LB, 5-8, 171; Harry Webb, Sr., OL, 5-9, 182; Arthur English, Sr., DL, 5-10, 197; Darius Ellis, Sr., RB/DB, 5-5, 147
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