The Mainland Regional High School football team won't fail to reach its potential because of a lack of effort.
"I can't remember a harder working team," said Mustangs coach Bob Coffey, who is beginning his 26th season.
"I don't know how far that will get us, but they're great kids to coach."
The Mustangs finished 5-5 last season. They went 12-0 and won the South Jersey Group IV championship in 2008.
Sophomore quarterback Tom Bradway returns. Last season, he threw for 761 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 387 yards and five scores.
The offensive line returns several starters, so Bradway should have more time to throw this season.
Gordon Prince is an effective running back and receiver.
"He has all the tools to be a dominating type of player," Coffey said of Prince.
Mainland will run a combination of the spread and Wing-T offense this season. The Mustangs have used both offenses in the past.
"We like to do things that are fun and new to us," Coffey said.
"There's not too many models out there for the combination we run. But we really liked both offenses and we wanted to do something new and keep the energy up."
Mainland returns one of southern New Jersey's top kickers in sophomore Jim Cooper, who kicked seven field goals.
His leg helps give the Mustangs a field-position advantage.
"When you kick off and he puts the ball in the end zone, they start on the 20-yard line," Coffey said. "That sets the tone."
Mainland is experienced on defense with senior linebacker Cole Bortner and junior linebacker Mike Anderson.
Andrew Monroe and Dondre Brown are three-year starters at defensive end.
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 13
LAST APPEARANCE: 2008
PLAYOFF RECORD: 20-8
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League National/South Jersey Group IV
COACH: Bob Coffey (162-79-2, 25 seasons)
2009 RECORD: 5-5
2010 PREDICTION: Spoiler. Always solid Mustangs could surprise behind a defensive led by linebacker Cole Bortner.
GAME TO WATCH:
Sept. 24 vs. Ocean City.
These schools’ communities border each other and this game is always one of the highlights of the season.
Rich Kugel, Sr., LB, 5-11, 185; Cole Bortner, Sr., LB, 6-0, 210; Mike Anderson, Jr., LB, 5-11, 210; Andrew Monroe, Sr., DE, 6-0, 215; Duke Dorner, Sr., OL, 6-3, 218; Connor Castellani, Sr., OT, 6-3, 215; Gordon Prince, Sr., RB/DB, 6-0, 185; Mike Bozzi, sr., C, 5-10, 208; Dondre Brown, Sr., DE, 5-10, 218; Jae Shim, Jr., LB, 5-10, 185; Bill Wilcox, Jr., WR, 5-8, 165; Chris Kaczmarski, Jr., RB, 5-8, 165; Jim Cooper, So., K/P, 6-1, 180; Tom Bradway, So., QB, 5-11, 185; Donal Barreda, Sr., RB, 5-9, 180; Tyler Cottrell, Sr., TE, 6-0, 180; Christian Scittina, Jr., NG, 5-8, 195; Dashown Waller, Jr., SE, 5-8, 155.