Football preview: Cherry Hill East

It started with an injury to the quarterback in the first quarter of the first game.

It went downhill from there.

It was a nightmare season for Cherry Hill East in 2010 as the team struggled to a 1-9 record.

The 2011 Cougars plan to bounce back in a big way.

"Everybody is a year older, more experienced, stronger," CHE senior running back Brian Regan said. "I think we have a lot more intensity."

Regan is a key guy for the Cougars. He's a break-away back with the strength to run inside. He's also a good pass receiver in the team's screen and swing packages.

CHE coach Tom Coen likes his offensive line. Overmatched at times in the past, the Cougars should be able to stand up against most opponents with a solid front-line group that includes Frantz Felix, Joe Narducci, Tyler Drob, Johnny Jackson and Tyler Feldman.

Junior quarterback Balise Paglione got some valuable experience as a sophomore as he was forced to fill in for injured Dan Melleby. Senior Jesse Gold, who didn't play as a junior, also is competing for the quarterback job and could see some action at wide receiver and defensive back.

The Cougars have a top WR/DB in Rob Taylor and a top LB/TE in Matt Satchell. Taj Frazier is another talented WR/DB.

Coen also is hoping that a couple of talented athletes who were deeply involved in the summer track circuit -- Marcus Phillips and Alex Reiber -- might soon rejoin the team and add another burst of speed and play-making ability.

In any event, this year's Cougars are determined to avoid a repeat of last season, when just about everything went wrong.

"We were our own worst enemy (in 2010)," Coen said. "These guys are very determined this season."

CHE is in the WJFL National Division. The favorites are Shawnee and Pennsauken but the Cougars think they can be a darkhorse.

They open with division rival Clearview. A good showing there could equal last season's win total in this season's first week, and set the Cougars on the path to a much improved 2011.

"You don't get it (senior year) back," Regan said. "We've got to try to get as much as we can out of it."

-- Phil Anastasia