The Egg Harbor Township High School football team comes off three straight South Jersey Group IV playoff appearances.
The core of those teams has graduated.
But thanks to a group of speedy newcomers, EHT should again contend for the postseason.
"We're ready to prove to the world that we can play, too," Eagles defensive back A.J. Vance said.
Coach Tony DeRosa said early in preseason camp that the Eagles were a work in progress but that expectations are still high.
"We have some skill guys that can change a game, but we're inexperienced and young," DeRosa said. "But I love our athleticism."
Vance is one of EHT's few veterans. He started at safety last year.
"He's like our quarterback back there," DeRosa said.
"We put a lot on our secondary. He makes all the assignments back there."
Tyler Waller, a 5-foot-11, 235-pound senior, was one of the CAL's top nose guards last year.
"He has great size and speed," DeRosa said. "He has a great nose for the ball."
Newcomers expected to contribute include running back and linebacker Curtis Fitzpatrick.
DeRosa said Fitzpatrick could emerge as one of the league's top running backs.
Junior Ken Doughty is on pace to be the starting quarterback.
"He's a very intelligent kid, and he's another athletic kid," DeRosa said.
"We're trying to get him a lot of reps and a lot of confidence."
EHT will also get a boost from two Holy Spirit transfers in junior linebacker and fullback Matt Clayton and senior nose guard and running back Rocky Figueroa, who was a CAL National Division All-Star last season.
Clayton is eligible immediately. Figueroa must sit the first 30 days of the season, under the transfer rules of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
"He's been practicing great," DeRosa said of Figueroa.
"When he's on the (defensive) scout team for us, I have to take him off the field because we can't run a play he's so good."
Contact Michael McGarry:
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 11
LAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 2010
PLAYOFF RECORD: 10-9
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League American/South Jersey Group IV
COACH: Tony DeRosa (80-55, 14 seasons)
2010 RECORD: 6-5
2011 PREDICTION: Spoiler - EHT is inexperienced but will feature plenty of speed.
GAME TO WATCH: Sept. 9 at Absegami - It's the season opener but the winner takes a big step toward the CAL American Division title.