By Phil Anastasia
Training camp confidential: Clearview
Coach: Mark Deal
Last year: 4-6, lost final five games
Schedule: Delsea, at Paul VI, bye, Eastern, at Hammonton, at Williamstown, Timber Creek, at Cherry Hill West, Pennsauken, Kingsway (Thanksgiving).
Player to watch: Senior QB/WR/LB Sterling Sheffield (pictured). The 6-2, 220-pound Sheffield is a top all-around player for the Pioneers. He has a scholarship offer from Central Connecuticut State. Last season, he sat out the first four games as a transfer from Paul VI. He still made 34 tackles and caught 21 passes for 328 yards. He made several big plays late in the game in an upset of eventual SJ Group 4 champion Shawnee. Sheffield could emerge as the team's QB or could play WR and TE if senior Frank Pipich handles the QB position. On defense, Sheffield will play mostly LB but could move around on that side of the football, too. "He's a good enough athlete to play a lot of places and we want the offense to have to account for where he's at," Deal said.
Outlook: In the revamped WJFL, Clearview stayed in a beefed-up National division that added Timber Creek, Delsea and Hammonton. The Pioneers' non-division games are challenging as well, with Group 5 teams Eastern and Williamstown as well as Constitution co-favorite Paul VI. "I think we have the toughest schedule in South Jersey," Deal said. "Eight of the nine teams we play made the playoffs last year and the only one that didn't, Pennsauken, was the best team in South Jersey a couple years ago." The Pioneers return a veteran group with some experience up front and in the backfield. Sheffield and Pipich (6-0, 195) are top athletes who will be on the field at multiple positions. The running game is strong with senior RB Nahir Nelson (6-0, 190), who ran for 584 yards and 6 TDs and also had 365 receiving yards, and senior FB Joey Coles (5-11, 195), who had 53 tackles as a LB. The front line features seniors Sal Piccone (6-1, 230), Julian Perotti (5-10, 240), Armani King (5-10, 215), Ben Chierici (6-2, 205) and Seth Borochaner (6-0, 200), among others. Dalton Reim (5-10, 200) led the team with 106 tackles as a LB. Other veterans to watch include WR/DC Tyler Bowen (6-0, 165), WR Mike Williamson (6-4, 205) and FB/LB Gary Searle (5-10, 185). Clearview has a top kicker in junior Larry Eimer (6-0, 155).
Fast fact: In its five-game losing streak to end last season, Clearview allowed a total of 236 points (47.1 per game)
Fast fact II: Clearview had wins over Shawnee in each of the last two regular seasons. But with Shawnee moving to the American division, the teams won't meet in the regular season in 2014 and 2015, although they could play in the SJ 4 tournament. "That was developing into a good rivalry for us," Deal said.
Quote: "I waited nine months for this season. I'm so excited. We've got a good group of guys. We're going to surprise some people," Sheffield said.
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