2014 Football Season: Changing of the Guard at Quarterback

By: Matt Howe ‘15
Sports Editor

Fall is in the air as a new school year starts in the hallowed halls of Cherry Hill West, and this can only mean one thing…Football season is back! After an impressing showing last year in Head Coach Brian Wrights second season, the Lions were able to do something that they have never done in the history of the school, advance to the SJ Group IV playoffs. However with the loss of star QB/DB Rodney Williams who is playing for the University of Syracuse this season, the passing of the guard switches to Senior Quarterback, Joey Argentina.
Although Argentina has been considered a backup to star Rodney Williams the past two seasons, he has gotten his fair share of playing time as a starter when Williams went down last season due to injury. “I definitely think the reps and experience I have gotten as a starter will benefit me this season as I step into the full time starting role,” Argentina told me. In fact, Argentina started the last 5 games last season when Williams went down. When I asked Argentina about what he expects for this season, he told me, “Hard football will be played. We grind every day out there at practice to put in work on Friday nights. We’re playing to win, and we’re playing to make it back into the playoffs and get another crack at it.” Although Williams left Argentina with big shoes to fill, the experienced Senior seems eager and ready to fill the void of Williams and get the Lions back on the .500 tract, something the team has only done once since 1997, back in 2009.
Although Argentina is a key player for the offense this year, the Lions are returning many offensive weapons that were key starters last season. Senior running back Tyrone Williams looks to bounce back from an injury-ridden last season with an impressive showing this year, and will be a key factor in the Lions run game. Someone who will be catching the passes from Argentina will be Senior WR Chris Pascall, who recently received a scholarship offer from Stony Brook University. The Lions also boast a star-studded senior offensive line that features seniors Shawn St. John and Ryan Wimmer, who will do their best to protect Argentina and pave the way with blocks for Williams on run plays.
As far as the defensive side of the ball goes, the Lions will be led by Junior James Potts as a LB/DL as well again by Wimmer and St. John at DL and LB respectively. The secondary contains the experience of senior-safety Quinton Jenkins, who not only delivered big hits and phenomenal interceptions last season, but is the Lions explosive kick and punt returner on special teams. “The bottom line,” Argentina told me, “is that we have to play smart and play aggressive to win. We know we have the ability to be great, we just have to execute the plays, and play with heart. I know everyone on the team is capable of doing big things, all the way down to the younger guys suited up. You never know when you’re gonna get an opportunity and you just have to run with it.”
OUTLOOK: If the Lions can remain healthy, they 100%  have the tools to make a crack at the SJ Group IV Playoffs for the second year in a row. The experience is there, the play just needs to match it.  Quarterback play by Argentina will be crucial to the Lions success, as he struggled at times last season in the starring role. If the Lions can at least go .500 this year, it should be considered a successful season, as this feat has not been accomplished since ’09, but look for the Lions to strive to break that .500 barrier. In reality, I see the Lions going 5-5, and obtaining the last seed in the Group IV SJ Playoffs, depending on how things turn out.

Schedule:
Home games in purple, away games in black.
09/12 Triton
09/29 Shawnee
10/02 Hammonton
10/10 Seneca
10/24 Moorestown
10/31 Clearview
11/06 Winslow
11/14 TBA
11/21 TBA
11/26 CH East