Times have changed at West Deptford.
The Eagles have been the big dog in the Colonial Liberty for as long ss there has been a Colonial Liberty. In fact, they've won the title in each of the division's 10 years.
But Haddonfield has closed the gap. In fact, it can be argued that the Bulldogs have nudged ahead of the Eagles, at least in terms of recent post-season success.
While West Deptford has beaten Haddonfield in the last two regular seasons, the Bulldogs have beaten the Eagles in the last two Group 2 tournaments -- games that, arguably, are of greater importance.
"The rivalry is fierce," West Deptford senior OT/DT Jamil Pollard said of West Deptford and Haddonfield.
This West Deptford team is capable of winning another Liberty title, and beating Haddonfield in the process. The Eagles also are capable of winning another Group 2 title, and beat the Bulldogs in that process.
But they are not the favorites.
West Deptford will be sturdy up front, as always, led by Pollard and Josh Roane. The defense should be solid with linebackers such as Todd Jarrell and Josh Cornelius as well as defensive backs Tom Jakubowski and Alex Oldt.
The offense will be different. West Deptford has featured home-run hitters for years and years. While Cornelius, a talented junior, has the speed to break away, this offense probably will ground it out a little more than past teams.
Cornelius will gain a lot of yards in the Eagles' Wing-T. Connor Smith is another running back to watch, and the team has experience at quarterback in senior Jake Hannan.
West Deptford coach Clyde Folsom sees his program in a bit of a transition period. The Eagles' numbers are down a tick, and there's not quite the overwhelming talent that has marked some past teams.
But don't count this team out in the Liberty or in Group 2. There's enough talent, enough experience, enough coaching and enough tradition to put the Eagles back on top.
Plus, now the Eagles are more hunters than hunted, and that could work wonders as well.
-- Phil Anastasia