The seniors of the Lacey Township High School football team have known each other since they were 5 years old.

"This is our 10th year playing football together," senior quarterback Craig Cicardo said.

Those years of playing sports together culminate this season.

The Lions are predicted to be among southern New Jersey's top teams and to contend for a South Jersey Group III title. The Lions were 8-3 and reached the South Jersey Group III semifinals last year, and that was after an 0-2 start.

"We've played together for so long and built so much chemistry," Cicardo said. "It's our last year of football and we want to make it really special. We know together we can do great things."

Lacey should feature a formidable offense and defense. Cicardo is in his third season at quarterback. He completed 62 percent of his passes and threw for six touchdowns last season. He also rushed for 561 yards.

Wide receiver Zach Torrell averaged 29 yards per catch last season.

The Lions also have a pair of talented running backs in Jake Dabal and Jarrod Molzon. Dabal rushed for 1,178 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

"We have a lot of weapons on the field," Cicardo said. "Since we're all close friends, we don't get greedy with who wants the ball. We just want to win games."

Tyrell Smith, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive lineman, is attracting attention from Division I colleges.

Lacey shut out five straight opponents last season. Dave Viera leads the defense at nose guard. Linebacker Matt Uveges led the Lions with 68 tackles. Defensive backs Torrell and Molzon each picked off four passes.

Lacey's last South Jersey title came in 2006 when it finished 12-0.

Cicardo said the Lions won't be distracted by the hype about another possible championships.

"We try to avoid the hype," he said. "We just like to play our game and do what we do. We don't have to worry about any of that pressure."





LEAGUE/GROUP: Shore Conference B South/South Jersey Group III

COACH: Lou Vircillo (232-106-3, 35 seasons)

2009 RECORD: 8-3

2010 PREDICTION: Favorite - Many of the Lions sophomores have started since they were freshman. This is the season they've been waiting for.

GAME TO WATCH: Sept. 17 at Brick Township - The Lions travel north on the Garden State Parkway to meet an always tough brick team in the first division contest of the season.

KEY PLAYERS: Cameron Blackwell, Sr., WR/DB, 6-1, 160; Zach Torrell, Sr., WR/DB, 5-11, 185; Deon Smith, Sr., WR, 6-2, 210; Craig Cicardo, Sr., QB, 6-0, 186; Jordan Powell, Sr., TE, 6-3, 190; Bryan Mykoliw, Sr., LB/OL, 5-11, 215; David Viera, Sr., OL/DL, 5-11, 200; Dylan Joslin, Sr., DE, 6-2, 255; Jacke Dabal, Sr., RB/DB, 5-8, 170; Jarrod Molzon, Sr., RB/DB/K, 5-10, 195; Jeff Jernack, Sr., LB, 5-10, 195; Jordan Powell, Jr., TE/WR, 6-3, 205; Kevin Hanula, Sr., TE/LB, 6-0, 200; Lex Knapp, Jr. C, 6-1, 220; Matt Uveges, Sr., LB, 5-11, 197; Pat Jensen, Sr., WR/DB, 5-10, 180; Tyrell Smith, Jr., OL/DL, 6-5, 280; Tony Pierce, Sr., LB, 6-0, 196; Mike D'Addario, Sr., OT, 6-1, 240