Football: Pennsauken training camp

Another in a series of early looks at South Jersey football teams.


Last year: 11-1, SJ Group 4 champions

Coach: Clint Tabb (22-10 entering fourth season)

Conference outlook: One of the favorites (along with Shawnee) in WJFL National Division

Playoff outlook: Pennsauken is expected to be moved to CJ 4 as a result of shuffling from the creation of five groups. The Indians would be one of the favorite in that sectional

Opener: Sept. 7 at Triton

Clint Tabb calls it "flipping the script."

Last year, Pennsauken went 11-1 and won the SJ Group 4 title with one of the most high-powered passing attacks in South Jersey history.

The Indians were led by QB Manny Cortez, who set a state record with 43 TD passes, as well as WR Amar Williams, who caught 18 TD passes.

But Cortez and Williams are gone, along with every other player who scored a point for Pennsauken in 2011.

"Four-hundred and forty points -- adios," said Tabb, the Indians' fourth-year coach.

Pennsauken will be a different team this season, with much more emphasis on its ground game on offense and a lot more reliance on its defense.

"Last year, the defense just had to keep us in the game," senior TE/DE Isaiah Ingram said. "This year, we're going to have to do a lotr more."

Ingram and fellow senior TE/DE Korey Mitchell combined for 22 sacks last season. They form one of the best pairs of DEs in South Jersey.

"It'a a friendly competition," Mitchell said of Ingram. "He gets a sack, I want one. He makes 10 tackles, I want to make 15 the next game."

Pennsauken should be strong up front on both sides of the football, with veteran linemen such as C/DT Hassan McDonald and OT/DT Jarrett Hines.

Tabb also has high hopes for junior WR Antwan Dickerson, a track standout who didn't play football last season.

"The track coaches know him," Tabb said.

But the real key for Pennsauken is the return of senior RB Marlin Finley, a 5-10, 185-pound slasher who didn't play last season because of eligibility issues.

Finley was on of SJ's most promising sophomores in 2010. He carried 153 times for 755 yards and six touchdowns.

He watched every game from the sideline last season.

"I'm 110 percent motivated to make the most of this season," Finley said.

Given the inexperience at QB (where senior Jordan Johnson and junior Deyon Edwards are competiting for the starting job), and WR, plus the strength of the OL, Finley is likely to be a workhorse this season. He could carry the football 25-30 times a game.

"That would be great with me," Finley said.

Pennsauken is the defending WJFL National champ, thanks on an OT victory over Shawnee on opening night. The Indians and Renegades meet Nov. 2 this season, a playoff-cutoff clash that likely will be loaded with division and tournament implications.

"You win championships in practice," Ingram said. "That's what we're trying to do every day we come out here."

-- Phil Anastasia