By Phil Anastasia
Last season: 6-4 (3-2 in Colonial Liberty)
Countdown to Kickoff: Haddonfield
Coach: Frank DeLano (74-44 entering 12th season)
Fast fact: Haddonfield is 38-8 over last four seasons
Opener: Home vs. Audubon, Sept. 12
Player to watch: Senior quarterback Mike McLaughlin (pictured). The 5-10, 200-pound McLaughlin is coming off a strong summer, according to DeLano. Like many of the Bulldogs, McLaughlin went through some growing pains last season and should benefit from a year of experience. He missed some time last season with injuries and is determined to make the most of his senior year.
Outlook: Haddonfield looms as a serious threat to favorite West Deptford in both the Colonial Liberty and S.J. Group 2. Haddonfield and WD have developed a fierce rivalry and the Bulldogs gave the Eagles a battle last season, losing 25-12 in a so-called rebuilding season. Haddonfield has a loaded junior class so the Bulldogs might be a year away from big thunder but there's enough experience in the senior class to make this season something special as well. McLaughlin leads the way on offense with juniors such as RB Mike DeFeo, WR Jake Robinson and FB Mark Walker ready to step into prominent roles. Seniors Pat Porter and Charlie O'Neill lead the OL, and senior Teddy Stavetski is a seasoned WR. The defense will feature senior Henry Klaus and Walker at LB and junior Ty Klaus at DE. A young player to watch is soph TE/DE Jake Walter.
Schedule: The season opener against rebuilding Audubon will feature the debut of Haddonfield's new artificial turf at the Bulldogs' old stadium. Haddonfield plays both Woodbury (home, Sept. 20) and Paulsboro (away, Nov. 9 on the playoff cutoff), the two best teams in the Colonial Patriot, in cross-over games. That's a good thing, as better regular-season competition will serve this still-young team well in November and (they hope) December. The big regular-season game is Oct. 25 at West Deptford. But it wouldn't be a surprise to see these teams meet again in the S.J. Group 2 playoffs, as they did in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Haddonfield closes the regular-season with its annual Thanksgiving Day game at Haddon Heights on Nov. 28 in a renewal of a rivalry that began in 1902.
Quote: "We want to flush last season and get back to where we've been in the past," McLaughlin said.
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