New era begins at West Deptford | Training camp preview

West Deptford’s Tyshawn Bookman running for a touchdown in last year’s regular-season victory over Haddonfield.

Here’s a look at the Eagles:

West Deptford

Last season: 10-2, reached S.J. 2 title game.

Coach: Jason Morrell (first season).

Schedule:

8/31: Paulsboro

9/7: at Collingswood

9/14: Delsea

9/21: Sterling

10/5: at Haddonfield

10/13: at St. Joseph

10/19: at Deptford

10/26: Overbrook

Camera icon ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
West Deptford senior Tyshawn Bookman running last season vs. Paulsboro.

Outlook: It’s a new day for the Eagles as Morrell, the school’s athletic director, has replaced Clyde Folsom, who resigned after turning West Deptford into a gold-standard program over 27 seasons. Folsom was 227-60-2 at West Deptford, where his teams won seven S.J. 2 titles and made 13 appearances in the S.J. 2 finals in the last 16 seasons. Folsom still is around, serving as an assistant athletic director and staying close to the football program. But Morrell is in charge, putting his stamp on the program. The new coach’s first team likely will contend for both the WJFL Colonial and S.J. Group 2 titles, maintaining its rivalry in both races with Haddonfield.

Leading the way for West Deptford will be seniors Kenny Lim and Jason Collier. Lim (5-10, 195) is a top RB/DB. He ran for 1,055 yards and 11 TDs last season. He is a Princeton recruit as a DB. Collier (6-7, 280) is a top TE/DE. He caught 25 passes last season for 388 yards and 3 TDs. He is a Pitt recruit as a TE. Other key veterans include seniors such as FB/LB T.J. Hoyt (5-10, 215), who ran for 721 yards and 11 TDs; LB Jake Paratore (5-10, 210), who made 86 tackles; and OL Bobby Metz (6-0, 245), a first-team all-Colonial Division choice.

Camera icon Marc Narducci/Staff photographer
Clyde Folsom retired as West Deptford’s coach after last season. He led the Eagles to 13 sectional finals in the last 16 seasons.

Senior RB/DB Tyshawn Bookman (5-7, 190) could be poised for a big season. He ran for 570 yards and 9 TDs last season. Other veterans include senior OL/DL Dylan Lucas (5-9, 240), senior RB/DB Ray Seas (5-8, 175), junior LB Gavin Shields (5-10, 180), junior OL/DL Tasir Money (5-10, 205) and junior RB/DB Vinny Scirrotto (5-8, 165). The QB is likely to be sophomore Aaron Graeber (6-2, 175). The Eagles’ special teams could get a major boost from junior kicker/punter Brandon Radcliffe (6-0, 150), a former soccer standout.

Schedule analysis: It’s a season of change that will be evident right from the jump: West Deptford will open at home Aug. 31 vs. Paulsboro, the school’s traditional Thanksgiving weekend rival. In the WJFL Colonial, the Eagles will face familiar foes such as Collingswood (Sept. 7), Sterling (Sept. 21) and Overbrook (Oct. 26) along with new division member Deptford (Oct. 19). The annual battle with Haddonfield, always worth circling on the calendar, will be Oct. 5 on the Bulldogs’ field. As usual, the teams could meet again in S.J. 2 action. West Deptford has opted not to add a ninth regular-season game so the Eagles have just eight games on the slate. Two crossovers loom large: Sept. 14 at home vs. defending S.J. 3 champion Delsea and Oct. 13 at defending NP 2 champion and preseason No. 1 team St. Joseph.

Player to watch: Lim is a fast, highly productive player who makes an impact on both sides of the football. He’s battled some injuries in his career, and his absence in the second half of last year’s S.J. 2 title game hurt the Eagles’ chances in a 21-17 loss to arch-rival Haddonfield. Lim also is a top student. He plans to study engineering at Princeton, where he is projected as a safety but could see some action at running back as well. Lim takes seriously his role as a senior leader for one of South Jersey’s premier programs. “You have to uphold your brick,” Lim said. “That’s the foundation.”