Few high school football teams will have to overcome tougher opponents than Hammonton to win a title this season.
The Blue Devils will play in the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference, which might be the best league in southern New Jersey.
Hammonton also will compete in South Jersey Group IV, which is probably the region’s toughest playoff bracket with Timber Creek, Shawnee, Lacey Township and Mainland Regional among the expected contenders. Timber Creek beat Hammonton 33-7 in last year’s South Jersey Group III title game.
“It’s no picnic,” Hammonton coach Pete Lancetta said. “But all you can do is try to give yourself a shot and if you get to a (title game), you have a shot.”
Hammonton has the talent and depth to beat these tough teams.
The Blue Devils will primarily feature a two-platoon system on both the offensive and defensive lines this season — something they’ve rarely done. The line features mostly juniors, including Bob Frederico and Brandon Alfonso, both of whom started as sophomores.
The Blue Devils are also strong at the offensive skill positions.
Quarterback Christian Mortellite, who threw for 1,046 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, returns for his second year as a starter. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Mortellite should be more mobile this season, according to Lancetta.
“He trimmed down and worked real hard in the weight room,” Lancetta said. “He’s moving better, and he’s still throwing the ball well.”
Mortellite’s top target should be wide receiver Alex Padovani, who also excels at defensive back and is the team’s kicker. Lancetta said the junior could emerge as one of the region’s best.
“He’s very athletic and has great hands,” Lancetta said.
The Blue Devils feature experience in the backfield with twins David and Dom Williams. David rushed for 939 yards on 178 carries last season.
Junior linebacker Dylan Rosu is one of the defensive leaders. The 5-10, 190-pound Rosu always seems to be around the ball.
“He’s been all over the place in the scrimmages,” Lancetta said of Rosu.
Pat Fiorentino shifts from defensive line to linebacker for the Blue Devils.
“He’s tough as nails.” Lancetta said. “”He’s doing a really good job at linebacker as well.”
Lancetta said sophomore defensive lineman Nick Carnesale is also player to watch.
“How well we develop defensively is going to be the key to the season,” Lancetta said. “We’re going to go against some explosive offenses this year.”
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