There is one thing coach Tom Lake noticed about his team heading into this season that differs from his previous seven seasons at Cumberland Regional High School.
His team took a new approach to conditioning and Lake feels this is the most athletic team he has seen at Cumberland.
"This year, we're coming out and I think we have a real good focus and are better disciplined," Lake said. "I think we're in a lot better condition than last year.
"(Last season) we weren't in the shape we needed to be, so we tried something different. We went back to being a little old school this year. We had about 60-65 guys a day in the weight room all summer."
One player on the Colts who has made a notable change to his conditioning is senior running back De'Hahn Milledge. Coming off an impressive junior season where he rushed for 1,179 yards, Lake said that Milledge admitted he wasn't in the best shape last year.
"What a lot of folks don't know is he played eight games with a high ankle sprain," Lake said of Milledge's junior year. "And you'll hear him say this, and he said it in interviews that he wasn't in the kind of shape that he should have been in.
"He was in good shape, but he wasn't in primo, future running back shape. But I think that contributed to his ankle sprain."
Lake said Milledge is bringing a much different approach this year. He put extra effort into his workouts during the offseason to get himself ready for his senior season.
"He's very, very hungry to get the team off to a fast start, as opposed to always playing in catch-up mode," Lake said.
Cumberland also made a change at quarterback with junior Michael Foytik taking over for four-year starter Steve Garron.
"He's just a natural athlete," Lake said of Foytik. "He's a pitcher in baseball, and he had to make the mental transition from baseball season to football season, and I've seen him do that."
Foytik will have an experienced offensive line in front of him. The Colts will start three juniors and two seniors on the offensive line, led by senior captain Travis Baxter.
In Lake's seven seasons, Cumberland has made the playoffs twice, the only two times in school history. But he isn't satisfied with that.
"We're hungry to get back there, but not just be satisfied to get there," Lake said. "We want to go deep."
Contact John Russo:
Coach: Tom Lake (7 seasons, 31-39)
League/Group: West Jersey Football League/Group III
Last season's record: 4-6
Playoff appearances: 2
Playoff record: 0-2
2013 prediction: Spoiler - Cumberland has a deep group of juniors and seniors that could surprise.
Game to watch: Nov. 8 vs. Delsea Regional:- This is the eighth game on the Colts' schedule, and Delsea will be a true test.
Key returnees: De'Hahn Milledge, Sr., RB/FS, 6-0, 195; Anthony Thomas, Jr., RB/CB, 6-0, 185; Steven Whelan, Jr., TE/DE, 6-4, 195; Allen Sharp, Jr., WR, 5-8, 155; Ryan Davis, Jr., WR/K, 5-9, 160; Maquay Richmond, So., RB/NG, 5-9, 245; James Meyers, Jr., C/DT, 6-0, 230; Travis Baxter, Sr., G/MLB, 5-10, 200; Robert Elia, Jr., T/DT, 5-10, 235; Jason Coombs, Jr., G/DE, 6-0, 205; Daniel Johnson, Jr., T/DE, 6-1, 210; Jonathan Cirri, Sr., T/DT, 5-11, 260; James Cuff, Jr., T/DT, 6-0, 240; Steven Henigan, Jr., C/DE, 6-4, 255; Garrett Mayhew, Sr., TE/MLB, 5-11, 185; Zachary Scull, Sr., WR, 5-8, 155.
Top newcomers: De'Zahn Milledge, Sr., FB/DE, 6-0, 210; Dennis Spence, Sr., WR/CB, 5-8, 169; Devante Lee, Sr., RB/CB, 6-1, 180; Samuel Jackson, Sr., WR/CB, 5-8, 155; Michael Foytik, Jr., QB, 6-0, 200; Joseph Boose, Jr., WR/CB, 5-10, 160; Julian Harris, Sr., TE/MLB, 6-1, 195; Dazmiere Johnson, Sr., DT, 6-1, 260; Brian Ambros, So., RB/MLB, 5-7, 160.