By Phil Anastasia
It's a whole new world for Pete Lancetta and the Hammonton football program.
As Hammonton has joined the Tri-County Conference, the Blue Devils now are members of the West Jersey Football League after years as one of the flagship programs in the Cape-Atlantic League.
"I'm excited and apprehensive," Lancetta said Wednesday at the WJFL's annual coaches meeting and media day at Paul VI. "It's no picnic. But our schedule in the past was no picnic."
Hammonton will enter the WJFL as a member of the stacked National Division and will battle perennial state powers Timber Creek and Delsea along with Clearview, Kingsway and Pennsauken.
Lancetta is optimistic about the future of the program as the Blue Devils have a loaded sophomore class. This year's team should be competitive, with a stud two-way lineman in senior Nick Carnesale.
"He might be the best lineman I've ever coached," Lancetta said of the 6-1, 260-pound Carnesale, who has an offer from Army.
Lacetta said the change in conferences has added some excitement to the program.
"I compare it to 2006, when they moved us up to the big division," in the CAL, Lancetta said. "That was exciting, challenging, playing different teams.
"This is going to be different for us but that's what makes it exciting."
Hammonton opens WJFL play Sept 12 vs. Kingsway and also has a challenging non-division schedule against the likes of Washington Twp., CH West, Moorestown and Williamstown.
DELSEA'S MOVE UP: It's a bit of a new world for Sal Marchese Jr. and Delsea, too, as the Crusaders were bumped up two divisions and will compete as the only Group 3 team in the WJFL National.
"It's very challenging but it also should be fun," Marchese said.
In addition to its division rivals, Delsea also will face Camden, Paul VI, Eastern and Triton.
Marchese said Delsea never has played Pennsauken or Paul VI.
Leading the way for Delsea should be senior RB Isaiah Spencer, who ran for 1,500 yards last season in leading the Crusaders to the SJ 3 title.
Marchese believes Spencer could be the best back he's coached at Delsea. Although he's a NCAA FBS-level talent, Spencer is likely to attend junior college.
Another top player for Delsea is senior TE/LB Phil Sampson, who has offers from Pitt as well as Villanova, Delaware and Williamd and Mary, according to Marchese.
CREEK ADDS FAMILIAR NAME: Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson said the Chargers have added a top talent in senior defensive back Shawn Springs, the nephew of former Dallas Cowboys player Shawn Springs.
Springs transferred from Archbishop Carroll in Philadelphia and should be eligible right away, Hinson said.
Timber Creek has two other transfers expected to make a major impact: Senior quarterback Khalil Trotman and senior linebacker Neal Nelson.
Trotman started as a sophomore and junior at Burlington Township. Hinson describes him as a cross between former TC quarterbacks Calvin Lowe and Danny Williams.
Nelson transferred from Buena. He has committed to attend Central Florida.
TC has a loaded schedule with non-division games against Cherokee (the highlight of the Week 2 schedule), Washington Twp., Moorestown and traditional Thanksgiving rival Triton.
THIS AND THAT: Burlington City has picked up a key transfer in Antonio Parnell, who started at quarterback last season for Willingboro. BC coach Tony Sacca said the 6-1 Parnell likely will work at WR as veteran Ryan Daniels is set as the Blue Devils' QB . . . Former Willingboro coach Reggie Lawrence is serving as an assistant at Burlington City with his close friend Sacca . . . Triton has some optimistic after winning the West Deptford 7-on-7 passing league this season. Coach Pete Goetz said senior QB Jake McGlinchey could be poised for a good year . . . Camden coach Dwayne Savage said the Panthers could have a new scoreboard at their re-furbished field in Farnham Park this season.
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