Another in a series of early looks at South Jersey football teams
Last year: 7-3, 5-0 in Colonial Patriot
Coach: Glenn Howard (232-44 entering 28th season)
Conference outlook: One of the favorites (along with Woodbury) in Colonial Patriot
Playoff outlook: One of the favorites (along with Woodbury and Glassboro, with Penns Grove, Pennsville and Haddon Heights in the crowded mix as well) in SJ 1
Opener: Sept. 8 at Haddonfield
Paulsboro went 7-3 last season, including a 5-0 mark in Colonial Patriot play.
That would be a good season for most programs, a great one for many. But it wasn't cause for much celebration in Paulsboro.
"I was disappointed," veteran Paulsboro coach Glenn Howard said. "I thought we could have done better."
Paulsboro's three losses were decisive: 35-0 to Haddonfield, 36-8 to Penns Grove in the SJ 1 playoffs and 40-14 to West Deptford.
"Haddonfield and West Deptford were better teams than us," Howard said. "But I felt like we could have played better. And we didn't play well in the Penns Grove game."
Paulsboro hopes to bounce back this season. The Red Raiders return a veteran front line, led by Julien Davenport, Pop Little and Tim Barnaby, and should be strong contenders for both the division and sectional titles.
Paulsboro has won a SJ-record 16 sectional titles. But the Red Raiders have not won SJ 1 since 2006, as Glassboro has won four of the last five and Woodbury has the other.
"We know what the tradition is here," said the 6-foot-8 Davenport, who said he has scholarship offers from Temple, Rutgers, Old Dominion, Bucknell and Coastal Carolina. "We want to get back to that."
Paulsboro returns some experience in the backfield, too. Zack Funk is back at quarterback and Dimere Turner is back at running back. Tight end/defensive ends Tre Tarpley and Yusuf Stafford are top veterans as well.
The Red Raiders face a challenging schedule as their cross-over games are against top Colonial Liberty teams West Deptford, Haddonfield, Haddon Hts. and Sterling. They face rival Woodbury in Week 4.
South Jersey 1 should be loaded, too. But Howard believes this team is capable of regaining the program's perch at the top of that sectional field.
"This a good group with good senior leadership," Howard said. "They are working hard. I think they are capable of doing some good things."
-- Phil Anastasia