Bill Iezzi: Football Camp Excitement

When Tim Goodwin awakens each morning in his parents’ Ventnor home, the first thing he sees is his No. 70, blue-and-gold, Holy Spirit football jersey hanging up on his closet door.

            Goodwin, a Spartans’ all-Cape-Atlantic League offensive guard last season, can’t wait for the start of football camp on Aug. 16.

            “I’m real excited,” the 6-foot-2, 265-pound, two-way lineman said. “There’s not a greater feeling in the world than to put on pads senior season and go out and hit someone.

            “It’s gonna be a good camp. We got faster and stronger and the team should be good this year.”

            Goodwin said the start of the Philadelphia Eagles’ football camp has galvanized him and his teammates during their regular, summer running-and-lifting program. In a few weeks, they’ll be able to slip on the pads and go at it twice a day.

            The anticipation is intensified by the fact that the team has most of its players back from last season, when Holy Spirit made it to a Non-Public Group 3 state semifinal, where the Spartans lost to St. Joseph of Montvale, 45-19.

            “We’re just flat out excited about what we think we’re capable of doing,” Holy Spirit coach Charlie Roman said.

            “We have four, five, six kids that will be full-scholarship kids and they are team guys. We’re trying to win a championship this year.”

            Mainland’s Mike Bozzi, who is entering his second varsity season, looks at the No. 64, green-and-white jersey in his closet each night before going to sleep and dreams about football.

            “Last year was a disappointment,” said the 5-10, 210-pound center, who watched the Mustangs win a state title as a sophomore while riding the bench. “We missed the playoffs.

            “[August 16] is always an exciting day, a fun day. It’s something I’ve worked for since last year.”

            Andrew Baumgardner, an all-C-AL National Conference offensive tackle for St. Augustine Prep, has no uniform at home to inspire him because players have to leave them at school. But that hasn’t diminished his excitement about training camp.

            “I like to hit people,” the two-way tackle said. “That [Aug. 16] is when the season officially starts and we start banging people.”

            St. Augustine Prep coach Dennis Scuderi Sr. doesn’t have the luxury of beginning  camp with mostly veteran players such as Baumgardner, a four-year starter. However, the 12th-year head man is still looking forward to Aug. 16.

            “We’re excited because it’s a new year with new kids coming in, every year is different,” Scuderi said. “We lost a lot of kids [to graduation]. We’re younger, but it’s more exciting as a coach. More of a challenge.”

            The Hermits last season were ousted in the first round of the Non-Public Group 4 state playoffs by Seaton Hall Prep, 49-14. They won the C-AL National Division.