By Phil Anastasia
Last year: 12-0 (S.J. Group 5 and WJFL American champions)
Countdown to Kickoff: Williamstown
Coach: Frank Fucetola (127-75 overall; 108-63 entering 17th season at Williamstown)
Fast fact: Williamstown is 76-17 over the last nine seasons, with at least seven wins in each season
Opener: Sept. 12 at CH East
Player to watch: Senior fullback John Chamberlin (pictured). The 5-9, 205-pound Chamberlin is a burly inside runner with terrific balance and a nose for the end zone. He ran for 1,238 yards and 24 TDs last season. He's drawn recruiting interest frm NCAA FCS programs such as Albany and Wagner.
Outlook: For years and years, Williamstown was a program on the rise that couldn't quite finish the task in the playoffs. That changed last season as the Braves went wire-to-wire, winning the first South Jersey title in the history of the program. After years as hunters, the Braves now are the hunted, the team in beat in both SJ 5 and the WJFL American Division. Although they lost a lot of talent from last season, the Braves return some key veterans such as Chamberlin, senior HB/DB Marques Little, an Old Dominion recruit who ran for 1,075 yards last season and scored 22 TDs, and senior QB Doug Banks. Senior CB T.J. Booth and senior HB/LB Eric Coney are veterans, and senor DB Mark Ellis, who sat out last year with a knee injury, is projected to make an impact. Senior OL/DL Pete Halloran leads the way up front. The Braves are rebuilding a bit along both lines but have another veteran in senior OG Austin Odd.
Schedule: After the opener, Williamstown faces a grueling four-game stretch that will test this team's mettle: at Shawnee Sept. 20, home vs. Cherokee Sept. 27, home vs. Timber Creek Oct. 4 and home vs. Eastern Oct. 11. The Braves play old rival Kingsway (which might have given Williamstown its toughest game last season) at home Nov. 8 in the playoff cutoff, and host Washington Township on Thanksgiving, Nov. 28. In SJ 5, Williamstown could get serious challenges from Cherokee, Eastern, Millville, Rancocas Valley, Absegami and Shore Conference power Southern.
Quote: "We've got a bullseye on our backs. But we want to prove to everyone that we can stay on top," Chamberlin said.
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