The Absegami High School football team finished last season with a four-game winning streak.
The Braves will begin this season with plenty of momentum created by those victories.
Absegami began last season 0-4 but its fortunes changed when sophomore Ray Weed took over at quarterback. Weed thrived in Absegami's run/pass option offense. He ran for 427 yards and five touchdowns and completed 84 of 131 passes for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Weed followed up his football success by having a successful wrestling season last winter, winning the District 32 160-pound championship.
"He's a tremendous competitor," Braves coach Dennis Scuderi Jr. said. "You see that in wrestling. You see that in football. he's old-school."
Weed underwent surgery to repair torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder this spring. While he recovered, he spent hours studying film.
"He's become a really polished quarterback," Scuderi said.
Weed should have plenty of help. The Braves return four starters on the offensive line in Sean Steward, Dan Penagos, Dennis Thornton and Devon Andermanis.
"Those kids got a whole of experience," Scuderi said. "They're bigger and stronger."
Jordan Marcucci is a promising junior wide receiver, who caught 26 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Defensive end Isaac Ingram will spark the Braves defense.
"He's just a game changer on that side of the ball," Scuderi said.
Absegami has some experience on defense. Junior defensive tackle Steward and senior defensive linemen Brian Searight and Jayden Hall are three-year starters.
The Braves have the talent to challenge for the division title and a playoff spot. The Independence Division should be one of WJFL's most balanced.
"If the quarterback stays healthy I think we can be pretty good," Scuderi said. "If out front four on defense play the way they're capable of playing, I think we'll be in every game."