The Vineland High School football team has the players to make a quick improvement under first-year coach Josh Hedgeman.

The Fighting Clan finished 2-8 last season, but everything that could have gone wrong did. Vineland started 0-3 and then dropped five of its last six games.

"We have talented guys," Hedgeman said. "Our focus is to see if we play disciplined football. We have to play as a team."

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Running back Brian Winchester rushed for 1,193 yards as a sophomore but struggled with injuries last year. He gained just 442 yards.

"We expect good things from Brian," Hedgeman said.

Vineland also features linebacker Steve Ribot, a three-year starter and one of the Cape-Atlantic League's hardest hitters.

"He has a good motor, and he's a sideline-to-sideline player," Hedgeman said. "He's very aggressive. He's going to be key in what we do."

Darrius Flowers and Steve Chestnut have shared time at quarterback in the preseason.

"We have two quarterbacks at this point," Hedgeman said. "Both kids are very talented. It's very close between them."

Vineland will run the Wing-T offense.

"We want to score points," Hedgeman said. "We want to be as balanced as we can. But I don't think anybody will deny you have to establish that you are able to run the football.

Hedgeman said rebuilding Vineland will be a slow process.

"This is not a crash course," he said. "It takes a while. I'm not saying we haven't made progress, we have. How much? I don't know. At the end of the season, we'll be able to measure."

Hedgeman wants to see a determined effort from his team.

"Can we play hard for 48 minutes regardless of the outcome?" he said.

"That's what we're looking at. The senior class as a whole is going to have to step up for us to have some success this year."





LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League American/South Jersey Group IV

COACH: Josh Hedgeman (first season)

2009 RECORD: 2-8

2010 PREDICTION: Rebuilding - Hedgeman, who rebuilt Schalick into a top program in the early 2000s, gives the Fighting Clan energy.

GAME TO WATCH: Oct. 9 vs. Lower Cape May - After three straight road games to start the season, Vineland finally returns to Gittone Stadium for the home opener.

KEY PLAYERS: Darrius Flowers, Sr., QB, 5-11, 180; Brian Winchester, Sr., RB/DB, 6-0, 193; Steve Ribot, Sr., LB/TE, 6-0, 206; Steve Chestnut, Sr., QB, 6-1, 180; Ivan Jones, Jr., OL/LB, 6-0, 205; Ramon Torres, Jr., OL/DL, 6-0, 185; Derek Coney, Sr., RB/LB, 5-11, 176; Tory Clark, Jr., WR/DB, 5-10, 160; Albert Arroyo, Sr., RB/LB, 5-9, 181; Marcus Nelson, Sr., RB/LB, 5-11, 176; Kleon Hayles, Sr., OL/DL, 5-10, 270


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