The toughest part of playing quarterback for Frankie Ziegler is not making complex reads or getting comfortable in the pocket.

The Lower Cape May Regional High School senior said he will adjust to those parts of the job.

"The toughest challenge is giving up my old position," Ziegler said. "I love playing running back."

Ziegler moved to quarterback this season to help a team that is trying to build on its 12 wins the past two seasons despite losing quarterback Mike Mulligan to graduation.

It's a sacrifice for Ziegler because he's being recruited at as a fullback and linebacker by colleges such as Villanova, Delaware, Towson and West Virginia.

"He's making the move for the team, and I think that says a lot about him," Lower coach Mike Wilson said. "Because he's not going to play quarterback in college. He's our best athlete, and our best athlete needs to touch the ball."

Lower lost some solid athletes from last season's team that went 5-5. In addition to Mulligan, 6-foot-4 wide receiver Vance Matthews graduated and now plays for Rutgers University.

Before going 7-3 in 2010, the Caper Tigers won just one game the previous three seasons. Ziegler said he thought about that when he agreed to play quarterback.

"We don't want to go back to an 0-11 season," he said. "We want to keep winning. … The better we get, the more people come out and support us, and that's a motivation factor, too."

Wilson said people will be surprised if they underestimate Ziegler's passing ability. But the offense still will revolve around the quarterback's ability to run.

"Coach told me if I see green, take it," Ziegler said. "He's never going to get mad at me for running the ball."

Wilson said he's also confident in returning running back Jackson Sole. And 6-foot-5 receiver Jordan Hazel should provide a strong target to replace Matthews.

The key to the offense will be the line, which lost several starters from last season.

"I'm more concerned about new guys playing line even though it's not a young, young group," Wilson said. "We've just got to stay healthy. A lot of first-time starters on the line that I've got to re-teach everything to."

Half of the 30 players on the Caper Tigers' roster are freshmen, Wilson said. He wants them to get used to seasons such as the past two.

"I see a lot of promise in the future," he said. "This team is going to be a lot of fun to coach."

Contact Jason Mazda:

609-272-7193