Nolan Quinn is already one of southern New Jersey's top quarterbacks.
The Middle Township senior should be more comfortable than ever this season.
"This is the first time in his high school career that he's going to run the same offense two years in a row," Middle coach Lee Chappine said.
The Panthers switched to the spread offense last season. They finished 3-7, but Quinn threw for 1,443 and 13 touchdowns. He also ran for seven touchdowns.
Several Division I and Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) schools have shown interest in Quinn, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.
"I wouldn't trade him for anybody in the league," Chappine said. "He's got tremendous feet. He's an accurate passer. He's our best player. He's our point guard."
Quinn leads an offense that should be exciting to watch. The Panthers scored more than 30 points in three of their final four games last season.
"We have some weapons," Chappine said. "If we give Nolan some time to throw, we can score some points. The question is how well can we play defensively?"
Two of Middle's most impressive skill position players are wide receiver Charles Cooper and running back Ishmael Coyle. Cooper runs the 100 meters in 10.7 seconds. He caught 35 passes for 670 yards and seven touchdowns for an average of 19.1 yards per catch. Coyle gained nearly 300 yards.
Middle also features several other speedy receivers, including Jake Enright.
The Panthers seem to be on firmer footing than they've been in the past. They finished last season with 45 players, including freshmen. They start this season with 45 players, excluding freshmen.
Middle hasn't had a winning season since it finished 6-4 in 2004. If the Panthers are to finish better than .500 this season, they must survive a tough early-season schedule.
Middle opens on Sept. 19 at St. Joseph and then plays Holy Spirit on Sept. 25. Both schools are perennial powers.
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 2
LAST APPEARANCE: 2004
PLAYOFF RECORD: 0-2
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League National Conference/South Jersey Group II
COACH: Lee Chappine
(6-14, two seasons)
2008 RECORD: 3-7
2009 PREDICTION: Rebuilding.
The Panthers should put points on the scoreboard with quarterback Nolan Quinn and wide receiver Charles Cooper.
THE GROUND GAME:
Ishmael Coyle rushed for more than 300 yards last season.
Nolan Quinn, Sr., QB/K, 6-1, 180;
Ishmael Coyle, Sr., RB/LB, 5-10, 185;
Alex Williams, Sr., RB, 6-1, 180;
Charles Cooper, Sr., WR/DB, 6-2, 190;
Jake Enright, Jr., WR/DB, 6-2, 190;
Tim Bartell, Sr., DB/WR, 5-6, 145;
Brian Smith, Jr., DB/WR, 5-6, 145;
Kevin Hebron, Sr., OL/DL, 6-1, 270;
Justin Rhinesmith, Jr., OL/DL, 6-3, 255;
Luis Cruz, Jr., OL/DL, 5-9, 210;
Cory Gas, Sr., OL/DL, 5-9, 210;
Mark Manning, Sr., LB, 5-10, 195;
Bill Kelly, Jr., DL, 5-9, 210;
Jonathan Olaniyan, Sr., DB, 6-2, 170;
Kevin Wheaton, Jr., DB, 5-8, 160;
Sam Caraballo, Jr., WR/DB, 5-7, 165.
Middle Township's 2009 schedule
Sept. 19: at St. Joseph, 1 p.m.
Sept. 25: Holy Spirit, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2: Buena Regional, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9: Pennsville, 7 p.m
Oct. 16: St. Augustine Prep, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23: at Pleasantville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30: at Wildwood, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6: at Bridgeton, 7 p.m.
Nov. 26: at Lower Cape May Regional, 10 a.m.