The Secaucus High School football team lost their 2010 leaders in rushing yards, receptions, touchdowns and sacks. That the Patriots are still expected to contend are a tribute to the program’s depth under coach Charlie Voorhees.
Secaucus (7-3 in 2010) has been ranked 19th in the North Jersey preseason Top 25 rankings and was referred to as the “favorites” by Becton coach Roger Kotlarz.
The biggest subtraction for the Patriots is star running back Eddie Delgado, who rushed for 1,291 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, spearheading a ground attack that averaged 285.7 yards per game.
But Secaucus is hoping that loss is offset by the leadership of senior quarterback Sean Egan, who begins his third year as the team’s starter. Egan completed 50 percent of his passes in 2010 with nine touchdowns and just three interceptions for a QB Rating of 113.
Filling the large shoes of Delgado is senior Nick Schaffer, who gained 371 yards on the ground last season and caught nine passes for 130 yards. His 6.75 yards per carry rivaled Delgado’s mark of 7.82, so Secaucus’ running attack should hardly miss a beat.
The offensive line features three seniors: tackle Evan Rodriguez, guard Thomas Kessler and center Mike Schmitt that will add more continuity to the Patriot offense.
However, Secaucus will be looking for new wide receivers to fill a significant void. Of the 50 passes completed by the Patriots last season, 33 were to players who are no longer with the team. Schaffer’s nine receptions combined with tight end Rich Rivera’s eight means the Patriots do not currently have a wide receiver that has caught a varsity pass.
Seniors Mike Mele, Anaan Shahin and Chris Soto will be the primary core of receivers, but the Patriots’ bread and butter remains their potent running game.
Defensively, the Patriots return six starters from last season, including three seniors (safety Dom Rizzo, linebacker Tom Kessler and defensive end Evan Rodriguez) that played every game in 2010.
Schaffer led the team with 71 tackles at linebacker last season, but the team lost Matt Roman (10 sacks) and Nick Gjoni (six sacks). Rodriguez and senior nose tackle Justin Arajuo will be counted on to replenish the lost firepower on the defensive line.
Overall, the formula will remain the same for the Patriots: strong ground attack + solid defense = success.
The program ensures that although the faces may change, Secaucus always has plenty of talent waiting in the wings.
The Pats begin their season this evening with a road game against Manchester Regional.