No shortage of success for both Lacey Township and Delsea in today's South Jersey Group III final

The faces change but the results rarely do.

The Lacey Township and Delsea Regional High School football teams each have a long history of success.

Season after season, the Lions and the Crusaders come into the year expecting to still be playing this time of year.

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And that's just what they'll do.

Delsea (10-1), the No. 2 seed in South Jersey Group III and No. 8 in The Press Elite 11, will play at top-seeded Lacey (11-0) today at 1 p.m. The Lions are No. 2 in the Elite 11.

"I can't remember a time that we haven't been in the playoffs," said Lacey running back Jake Dabal. "We always think about the playoffs as something we have to do. It's not really an option. That's just the kind of mentality that we have at Lacey."

Lacey is appearing in its eighth sectional final today and hopes to win its fourth group title. The Lions will also attempt to become only the third team in school history (1989 and 2006 the others) to finish unbeaten with a title.

The team's success starts at the top.

Lou Vircillo is the only coach Lacey has ever had.

He has instilled a blue-collar work ethic and has made football a way of life at the school.

"What we do here is present a philosophy that we want our football players to be serious athletes," Vircillo said.

"They make a commitment to the athletic way of life, which means that we want them active every season either in a sport or in the weight room.

"They are to consider the athletic aspect of life each and every day, just like they would eat and sleep and go to class. That's our philosophy."

Win or lose today, the Lions will take a week or two off and then be right back in the weight room.

"That's football life at Lacey," Vircillo said. "As soon as football is over, we start football."

It's no secret that Vircillo likes power football.

But quarterback Craig Cicardo makes this one of the most dynamic Lacey teams ever.

The senior has completed 66-of-100 passes this year for 1,168 yards with 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

"Our mentality here is the winning mentality," Cicardo said. "We hit and when teams come here they know they are going to be in a battle."

Cicardo also has 511 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Dabal has 865 yards and six touchdowns and fellow running back Jarrod Molzon has 652 yards and seven touchdowns.

Delsea won the South Jersey Group II title last season before moving up to Group III this season. The Crusaders have won nine sectional titles and are 26-11 all time in the playoffs.

The Lions aren't worried.

"We take each week as another opportunity to compete," Vircillo said. "We take each game as an opportunity to enjoy competition. We try not to make any one game any more special than another. We prepare for every opponent the same way and if we do what we are capable of doing we are going to win our fair share of games."

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