The Pleasantville High School football team gets a scheduling break this season.
In the past, the Greyhounds have opened with a Group IV power such as Absegami or a parochial power such as Holy Spirit.
Those games made it tough for Pleasantville to develop some momentum.
This season, Pleasantville's first three games are at home. Three of Pleasantville's first four opponents had losing records last season.
"We need to have some early success," Pleasantville coach William Burch said, "for the kids to keep their heads up."
The Greyhounds haven't had a winning season since 2003. They are young but talented this season. Pleasantville has 35 players on the varsity.
"I'm looking forward to a more productive season," Burch said. "I think we have some leadership at key positions."
The Greyhounds have speed. Pleasantville returns cornerback Kenny Brown and defensive end Isaiah Haskins.
Running back Latroy Spencer and wide receivers Jacob Haines and Rashid Ward are back on offense.
"We're not going to be big," Burch said. "We're going to have to capitalize on our speed."
Burch also says he has two of the division's best players in running back and linebacker Dontaye Rivera and quarterback and safety Josh Evans.
The 5-foot-9, 223-pound Rivera is already one of the region's best track and field athletes. He's a top shot putter and discus thrower.
Rivera's speed and power makes him a hard hitter on defense and tough to tackle on offense.
"This will definitely be a breakout year for him on the football field," Burch said. "We've seen the potential in him, and I think he's starting to believe it this year."
Evans, a 5-10, 195-pound junior, transferred to Pleasantville from Holy Spirit as a sophomore.
"He's a tough player, and he's a competitor," Burch said. "He's going to be able to run just as much as he can throw it."
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 8
LAST APPEARANCE: 2003
PLAYOFF RECORD: 5-8
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League United/South Jersey Group II
COACH: William Burch
2009 RECORD: 2-8
2010 PREDICTION: Rebuilding. The Greyhounds should improve with Dontaye Rivera at running back and Josh Evans at quarterback.
GAME TO WATCH:
Sept. 24 vs. Lower Cape May.
The last of three straight home games to open the season for Pleasantville. The Greyhounds beat Lower 42-28 last season.
Dontaye Rivera, Jr., FB/LB, 5-9, 223; Kenny Brown, Sr., CB, 5-6, 145; Kenny Brooks, Sr., OL/DL, 5-9, 235; Jacob Haines, Sr., WR, 5-9, 155; Isaiah Haskins, Sr., DE, 5-10, 190; Latroy Spencer, Jr., RB, 5-8, 160; Aseem Reid, Jr., OL, 5-10, 210; Rashid Ward, Sr., WR, 5-9, 170; Tre Burnett, Jr., OL/DL, 5-8, 210; Basir Davis, So., FB/DE, 5-8, 230.
Josh Evans, Jr., QB/SS, 5-10, 195; Khari Taylor, Sr., WR/DB, 5-10, 170.