Coach Mike Wilson is optimistic about Lower Cape May Regional's season.
He almost has no other choice. The alternative would be disheartening.
The Caper Tigers come off back-to-back 0-10 seasons. But Lower will feature some talented players this season.
"We're moving in the right direction," Wilson said. "We're still young. It seems like every year we're young."
Wilson wants the Caper Tigers to focus on preparing for games. He also wants them to enjoy playing and not worry only about results.
"If you think only about wins and losses, you can get discouraged," Wilson said. "If you think about the preparation and concentrate on having a good work ethic, the other stuff falls into place."
Lower does have some talent at the skill positions.
Sophomore Mike Mulligan takes over at quarterback. Junior wide receiver Chris Alicea is a three-year starter with good speed and hands.
Senior tight end and linebacker Dillon Vanaman is another three-year starter.
"He's versatile," Wilson said. "He can play anywhere."
Wilson called junior defensive back and running back Tyler Sole the Caper Tiger's hardest working player.
But the biggest plus for Lower heading into the season is the size they have up front.
Opponents physically dominated and wore down the Caper Tigers the past two years.
Sophomore guard Evan Hagan is 6-foot-1 and weighs 305 pounds.
"The strength is finally where it should be," Wilson said. "The guys up front weren't ready to play the past couple of years. They were in survival mode."
Lower could not have a tougher start to its season. The Caper Tigers open at parochial powers Holy Spirit on Sept. 18 and at St. Augustine Prep on Sept. 25.
"If we come through those games all right and without a lot of injuries," Wilson said, "I think we can have a nice year."
LAST APPEARANCE: 2006
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League National Conferemce/South Jersey Group II
COACH: Mike Wilson (0-20, two seasons)
2008 RECORD: 0-10
2009 PREDICTION: Rebuilding:
The Caper Tigers should be improved behind more physical offensive and defensive lines.
THE GROUND GAME:
Senior Dakota Abadie will play fullback and be one of the Caper Tigers' primary ball carriers.
Mike Mulligan, So., QB/S, 5-10, 189;
Chris Alicea, Jr., WR, 5-11, 170;
Dakota Abadie, Sr., LB/FB, 6-0, 220;
Tyler Sole, Jr., DB/RB, 5-10,l 175;
Chaz McGann, Sr., RB/S, 5-11, 180;
Josh NewkirkJr., OL/DL, 5-11, 240;
Chaz Lear, Sr., OL/DL, 5-11, 240;
Evan Hagan, So., Ol/DL, 6-1, 320;
Jimmy Hall, So., CB/RB, 5-9, 170;
Mike Plummer, So., OL/DL, 6-0, 210;
John Cotton, So., LB, 5-11, 190;
Eric Fletcher, Jr., QB/WR/LB/DB, 6-0, 175
LOWER CAPE MAY'S SCHEDULE
Sept. 18: at Holy Spirit, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25: at St. Augustine Prep, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2: Bridgeton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9: at Vineland, 7 p.m
Oct. 17: Allentown, 2 p.m.
Oct. 23: at Buena Regional, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30: St Joseph, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7: at Pleasantville, 1 p.m.
Nov. 26: Middle Township, 10 a.m.