Thomas Kelly doesn't hesitate to tell the Atlantic City High School football team about his own success as a Viking.
Kelly, Atlantic City's new coach, is in the school's Hall of Fame. A 1992 graduate, he excelled at quarterback and safety. Kelly also was a four-year letterwinner at Rutgers.
Kelly has plenty of talent on his staff. Assistant coaches Lawrence Triniwell and Brandon White were members of the 1999 team that won the South Jersey Group IV title.
Another assistant and Atlantic City graduate, Marvin Burroughs, excelled at quarterback for Villanova.
"We want (the current players) to understand the tradition and that there's a winning tradition in Atlantic City," Kelly said. "We try not to overdue it, but we keep them abreast that there is success in this program."
Atlantic City was young last year and finished 1-9. But the Vikings return some talented veterans. Atlantic City has 50 players.
"We have a great group of kids," Kelly said. "I wish we had more of them. We're going to be fast. We're going to fly around."
Jamal Anderson saw time at quarterback last season. Anderson was one of the more vocal Vikings during the team's offseason training, often calling other players to make sure they were present.
"We'll go as far as he takes us," Kelly said. "The best thing about him is his leadership. We're counting on him helping out the coaches and putting the program in the right direction."
The Vikings will run the spread offense with some added plays and wrinkles.
"I've come to the understanding," Kelly said, "and I think everybody has, that you can't run just one thing."
The Vikings also rely on Ben Allen, who plays linebacker and is on the offensive line.
"He hasn't missed a day," Kelly said. "He hasn't missed a beat."
Running back and linebacker Sam Martelli has also excelled in the preseason.
"We have high expectations," Kelly said. "We plan on winning every game we play. I'm trying to instill that in the program."
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 5
LAST APPEARANCE: 2007
PLAYOFF RECORD: 3-4
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League American/South Jersey
COACH: Thomas Kelly (first season)
2009 RECORD: 1-9
2010 PREDICTION: Rebuilding. Vikings should improve behind
quarterback Jamal Anderson. Atlantic City has good team speed.
GAME TO WATCH:
Sept. 24 vs. Absegami.
Atlantic City’s first home game comes against a team projected to be among the region’s best.
Ziaire Prevard, Sr., WR/DB, 5-9, 165; Kesean Davis, Sr., WR, 5-8, 170; Malik Wellman, Sr., WR/DB, 5-10, 156; Jamal Anderson, Sr., QB/DB, 6-0, 185; Orris Gallagher, Sr., WR/DB, 5-11, 165; Sam Martelli, Sr., LB/HB, 5-10, 170; Ben Allen, Sr., 6-0, 210, OL/LB; Phil Nulty, Sr., OL/DL, 6-1, 200; Jerron Searless, Jr., OL/DL, 6-3, 230; Shaun Hollie, Sr., OL/DL, 5-11, 250; Radi Tolbert, Jr., WR/DB, 5-6, 160; Ishmail Naji, Jr., WR/DE, 6-2, 190.