Quarterback Devon Bradshaw says the Wildwood High School football team can win five or six games this season.
The Warriors have won just two games since 2008, but Bradshaw’s optimism is not unfounded.
Both of those wins came last season, and the majority of Wildwood’s starters are back this season. Also, the Warriors have five games this season against teams that won two games or fewer last year.
“I think that’ll help us a lot,” Bradshaw said. “I think we can be real good.”
Wildwood almost always struggles with depth, and this season is no different. Coach Rich Hans said there were only 21 players on the team as of last week.
But the Warriors have top-end talent, starting with running back Wesley Hills. The senior rushed for 1,294 yards last season. He caught 23 passes for 171 yards and scored 14 touchdowns.
Hills will run behind an experienced offensive line that has four of five starters back.
“All the teams are going to try to key on me and have that in the game plan,” Hills said. “My job for my team is to try to work my butt off and help my team. I expect big things this year for myself.”
Bradshaw is one of the new starters, replacing three-sport star Zak Barrett under center. Bradshaw injured his thumb last season and left the team, but Hans said he otherwise might have ended up starting.
“He can throw the ball pretty good, and he can run pretty good,” Hans said. “He has a good head on his shoulders. He and Zak are a lot alike.”
Bradshaw and Hills have played together since the youth levels, so there is a comfort level for them on the field.
“If I’m ever in trouble, I can always rely on Wes,” Bradshaw said.
The Warriors’ schedule includes Maple Shade (2-8 last year), Newark Academy (2-8), Clayton (1-8), Pitman (2-7) and Riverside (1-9).
“We can play with them,” Hans said. “It’s a real good thing.”
Wildwood could be in trouble if there are any major injuries. And with most of the starters playing both offense and defense, the Warriors could struggle against some of their more powerful West Jersey Football League opponents. But the talent is there to be better than they have been in a long time.
“It’s ironman football we play,” Hills said. “We have low numbers, but those low numbers are all football players.”
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