Like most high school football teams, Atlantic City faces questions about itself heading into the season.
Vikings coach Thomas Kelly can’t wait to find out the answers.
“I think we face some challenges this year,” Kelly said.
Atlantic City made the playoffs in both 2010 and 2011. The Vikings stunned opponents in seven-on-seven leagues this summer with their talent at the skill positions. But Atlantic City is young on the offensive and defensive lines.
“If the defensive and offensive lines play well, we’ll do well, Kelly said.
The Vikings feature one of the area’s top players in wide receiver and defensive back Dayshawn Reynolds. The senior showed his speed last season when he returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to lead the Vikings to a 13-9 upset of Hammonton.
“He’s a next-level talent and it’s not often we get to say that,” Kelly said. “He’s a home run waiting to happen.”
Jarren McBride started at quarterback against Holy Spirit on Thanksgiving last season and will start this year.
“His strengths are not running or passing but being a leader,” Kelly said. “He had a great offseason with us.”
The Vikings will also feature running back Domaneek Hurd, who averaged 8.4 yards per carry last season, and wide receiver Robert Parker. Atlantic City will run the spread offense but also mix in other formations.
“We want to spread defenses out and get the ball to our (speed) guys,” Kelly said. “But in order to be successful you have to run a bunch of stuff. With the great coaches in this league if you run just a spread offense, they’ll tear it up. We are a spread team but we’re not married to it by any means.”
But the Vikings are young up front. Junior Sky Glen and Grant Nutley are among the few veteran linemen.
Atlantic City also lacks depth. Many players will be on the field for both offense and defense. For example, McBride will also play linebacker.
Having so many two-way players might be Atlantic City’s biggest challenge, considering the Vikings will play in the deep and talented Cape-Atlantic League American Conference this season.
“It’s foolish to think because we have good athletes, we’re going to be able to do whatever we want,” Kelly said. “There are no weeks off in the schedule. It’s going to be interesting to see. I can’t wait to see.”
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