Few towns in the Cape-Atlantic League love football like Millville.
The Thunderbolts' rivalry with Vineland is one of the country's oldest. Millville sells season tickets to regular-season games.
"We like having a town that cares about football," Thunderbolts coach Jason Durham said. "We look at that as a challenge. We want to feed off that."
Lately, Millville fans haven't had a lot to cheer about. The Thunderbolts were 1-9 last season and haven't had a winning season since they finished 6-4 in 2005. They also haven't beaten Vineland in three years, which is the most important thing of all to Millville fans.
Better days should be ahead for Millville. The Thunderbolts return a solid core.
"We expect to win," Durham said. "That's our approach. We just need to get better each week."
Quarterback Tasker Robbins threw for 13 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards last season.
"Tasker is a great manager of the game," Durham said. "He's very accurate and a great ball handler."
Robbins has two talented receivers to throw to. Khalil Wallace, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior, is new to the team after moving back into the district. Wallace runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. Brandon Hart, a 6-3 junior, showed the ability to catch the deep ball in the preseason.
Millville will also feature running back Rashad Johnson, who gained more than 300 yards last season. Johnson is faster and stronger than last season after spending the summer lifting weights.
"There's a lot of positives on the team," Robbins said. "We're going to mix it up, run and pass all over the field."
Linebacker Sammy Serra is a key player on defense.
"I hope he's the leader of the defense," Durham said. "He's put on a lot of size."
The Thunderbolts have the talent to earn their own spot in the school's football tradition as the team that revived the program.
"We're working hard," Johnson said, "to get where we need to be."
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 7
LAST APPEARANCE: 1998
PLAYOFF RECORD: 5-6
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League American Conference/South Jersey Group IV
COACH: Jason Durham
(1-9, one season)
2008 RECORD: 1-9
2009 PREDICTION: Rebuilding.
Quarterback Tasker Robbins leads a long list of returnees. Newcomer Khalil Wallace will have an immediate effect at wide receiver and defensive back.
THE GROUND GAME:
Rashad Johnson rushed for more than 300 yards last season
Rashad Johnson, Sr., RB/DB, 5-11, 185;
Sammy Serra, Sr., TE/LB, 6-0, 225;
Tasker Robbins, Sr., QB, 5-8, 150;
Dominic Townsend, Sr., G 6-1, 205;
Dae' Trell Lindsey, Sr., WR, 5-8, 155;
Dylan Vanaman, Sr., G, 6-0, 230;
Jason Harden, Sr., DT, 5-11, 305;
Daron Moore, Jr., FB/LB, 5-10, 190;
Brandon Hart, Jr., WR/DB, 6-2, 190;
Tyson Still, Jr., RB/DB, 5-8, 155;
Armando Rivera, Jr., G/DE, 6-0, 190;
Nick Tyndal, So., OT/DT, 6-1, 230.
Kyle Hand, Sr., WR/DE, 6-1, 190;
Khalil Wallace, WR/DB, 6-4, 220;
Ron Rodgers, Sr., WR/DB, 5-9, 150;
Nick Mease, Sr., G/LB, 5-10, 200;
Josh Slater, Jr., RB/LB, 5-10, 185;
Leroy Bell, Jr., QB/DB, 5-10, 160;
Alquann Jones, So., RB/DB, 5-9, 155;
Shaquille Lee, So., QB/DB, 5-11, 155;
Tyler Gandy, So., OL/DL, 5-11, 250;
Josh Garrett, So., OL/DL, 5-11, 210.
Sept. 11 at Oakcrest 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 vs. Egg Harbor Township 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Absegami 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Atlantic City 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Buena Regional 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Ocean City 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 vs. Mainland Regional 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 at Hammonton 7 p.m.
Nov. 26 vs. Vineland 10:30 a.m.