Buena Regional wants the ball in the hands of Donetae McKinnon as much as possible.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound junior rushed for 989 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He also caught 27 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds and is starting to attract the attention of several colleges.
McKinnon will play both quarterback and running back this fall. Buena doesn't want defenses to be able to key on McKinnon.
"I think Donetae can help us in the shotgun, plus it enables some of the other backs we have to get in the game," Buena coach Paul Callahan said.
McKinnon leads a team that returns several key players but also graduated plenty of talent, including wide receiver Kenny Miles, who is now at Villanova after catching a Cape-Atlantic League record 17 touchdown passes last season.
Quarterback Tommy White, who threw for 1,907 yards and 24 touchdowns last season, also graduated.
"The biggest thing for us is how fast our inexperienced guys can become experienced," Callahan said.
Buena is at its most inexperienced on the offensive and defensive lines.
"We have guys who can run," Callahan said. "We have speed, but can we block for them?"
Among those runners are senior Josh Nuneville and junior Michael Haygood, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and averaged 12.8 yards per carry last season.
One Chief with the potential for a breakout season is senior Tyler Hillgrube.
The 6-3, 180-pound wide receiver and defensive back made 60 tackles and picked off a pass last season.
"He runs a lot better than you think," Callahan said. "He's a guy we need to step up."
Nuneville also sparks the defense. He led the Chiefs with a 134 tackles last year.
Dom Hinrichsen is a mainstay on the offensive and defensive lines. The 6-0, 265-pound senior started at nose guard and was a reserve offensive guard last year.
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 12
LAST APPEARANCE: 2008
PLAYOFF RECORD: 6-11
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League National Conference/ South Jersey Group II
COACH: Paul Callahan
(22-27, five seasons)
2008 RECORD: 7-4
2009 PREDICTION: Rebuilding:
If the Chiefs junior class matures in a hurry, they could surprise. Buena has good speed.
THE GROUND GAME
Donetae McKinnon rushed for 989 yards last season and will see some action at quarterback this year.
Tyler Hillgrube, Sr., WR/S, 6-3, 180;
Josh Nuneville, Sr., RB/LB, 5-1, 175;
Dom Hinrichsen, Sr., NG, 6-0, 265;
Donetae McKinnon, Jr., RB, 5-10, 190;
R.J. May, Jr., TE, 6-3, 225;
John Alvarez, Sr. OT, 6-0, 220;
Michael Haygood, Jr., RB/CB, 5-8, 170;
Rashan Austin, Jr., RB/CB, 5-9, 175;
Rick Fifer, Jr. OL?DL, 6-0, 245;
Eric Hensel, Jr., C/LB, 6-0, 190;
Qwantrelle Merrill, Jr., OLB, 5-10, 175;
Clarence King, Jr. LB, 5-8, 175;
Hykeem Martin, Jr., OL?DL, 5-91, 185;
Tyler Parent, Jr., WR/CB, 6-0, 165;
Terrell Garland, Jr., RB/CB, 5-7, 155;
Phil Guilford, Jr., WR/S, 5-10, 160;
Sawyer Brown, Jr., QB/S, 5-10, 165;
Matt Cruz, Sr., QB/DB, 5-9, 165;
Danny Aparicio, Sr., WR/CB, 5-7, 155.
Ruben Carlo, Sr., WR/CB, 5-9, 160;
Juan Jackson, Jr., WR/OLB, 6-0, 165;
Avi Andino, So., QB/S, 5-10, 155;
Shannon Rice, Fr., QB, 5-8, 145;
Kedar Dockery, Jr., OL/DL, 5-10, 200.
Buena Regional's schedule
Sept. 18: Pleasantville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25: at Bridgeton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2: at Middle Township, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9: Millville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17: at Penns Grove, Noon
Oct. 23: Lower Cape May, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30: at Holy Spirit, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6: St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
Nov. 25: St. Augustine Prep, 7 p.m.