Coach Tom Lake rebuilt the Cumberland Regional program.
The Colts were 0-10 in 2005, the year before Lake took over.
Cumberland went 1-9 in his first season. But the school went 7-3 in 2007 and 6-4 in 2008.
More importantly, the Colts made the South Jersey Group III playoffs both seasons.
Now Lake and the Colts face another test.
Can they sustain that success?
Cumberland returns few experienced players. The Colts scored 38 touchdowns last year.
Junior running backs Charles Clark and Charles Wynder are the only returning players who crossed the goal line. They combined for three touchdowns.
"You can only have a high school football player for four years," Lake said. "We have a lot of young football players. My job is to make them believe it's their turn."
In the preseason, those young players experienced some growing pains.
"They're doing a lot of thinking as opposed to reacting," Lake said.
The Colts do return a few senior starters. Dontay Kearney and Louis Velasquez started on the offensive and defensive lines last season. Jordan Bray started at wide receiver and defensive back. Velasquez had 30 tackles and 3½ sacks last season.
"We're expecting them to not only lead us physically," Lake said, "but mentally and emotionally as well."
Kicker Ryan Stant is one of the region's best. He booted eight field goals in 2007 and four last season.
There is competition for playing time at almost every position, according to Lake. The past two seasons the Colts had talented players like running back Andrew Pierce who were clear-cut starters before preseason camp even began.
Lake doesn't mind the change.
"It makes (the players) hungry," he said.
Lake said the goal is to be competitive each week. How many wins that translates into he doesn't know.
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 2
LAST APPEARANCE: 2008
PLAYOFF RECORD: 0-2
LEAGUE/GROUP: Tri-County Conference/Royal Division
COACH: Tom Lake (14-16, three seasons)
2008 RECORD: 6-4
2009 PREDICTION: Rebuilding.
Linemen Dontay Kearney and Louis Velasquez are among the Colts' few experienced players.
THE GROUND GAME: Cumberland needs a back to emerge as Andrew Pierce, who rushed for a school career record 4,281 yards, has graduated.
Jordan Bray, Sr., WR/DB, 6-2, 200;
Dontay Kearney, Sr., OL/DT, 6-2, 235;
Louis Velasquez, Sr., OL/DT, 5-10, 235;
Ryan Stant, Sr., PK, 5-10, 155;
Charles Clark, Jr., DB, 5-9, 165.
Mahalo Camba, Sr., OL/MLB, 5-11, 245;
Mark Fogg, Sr., OL/DL, 6-3, 250;
Salvatore Battiata, Jr., OL/DL, 5-9, 185;
Jaron Cody, Jr., WR/OLB, 6-2, 190;
Dillon Horne, Jr., OL/DL, 5-11, 220;
Steven Paul, Jr., OL/DL, 6-1, 250;
Josh Stenger, Jr., OL/MLB, 5-11, 220;
Taron Clark, So., RB/OLB, 5-7, 165;
Anthony Graziano, So., FB/MLB, 5-9, 175;
Jordan Pierce, So., QB/TE/OLB, 6-1, 190;
Marcus Scott, So., FB/TE/DE, 6-1, 195;
Marvin Sharp, So., OL/DL, 5-11, 215.
Cumberland Regional schedule
Sept. 11: at Delsea 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 Highland 7 p.m.
Sept. 25: at Glassboro 7 p.m.
Oct. 2: Williamstown 7 p.m.
Oct. 7: Deptford 7 p.m.
Oct. 16: Kingsway Regional 7 p.m.
Oct. 24: at Gloucester Catholic 10:30 a.m.
Oct. 30: at Clearview Regional 7 p.m.
Nov. 26: Arthur P. Schalick 10 a.m.