A Season in Review: West Football 2021


Emily Connor '22, Staff Writer

The 2021 Cherry Hill West Football season had a theme: resilience through adversity. The Lions started the season off slowly with a record of 0-6 in the first half of the season, but the team looked to change that pace. They went on to win three of their last four games making the final season record end at 3-7, with wins against Atlantic City, Cherry Hill East, and Toms River East in the NJSIAA Regional Crossover. Head Varsity Football Coach Justin Arabia commented on how he believes his team performed this year, “Despite our 3-7 record, the team was competitive in all games and was still able to create plays that positively impacted the team.”

This season brought in lots of new Lions, including a new QB to fill in for the recent graduates. Sophomore Jordon Gonzalez took the lead as QB collecting 873 total passing yards, 76 completions, 136 attempts, 5 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions for the season. Senior WR/DB Makhi Thompson, senior RB/DB Dhante Johnson, and junior TE/LB Tom Arcaroli followed by becoming stat leaders for the team. Thompson led with 338 receiving yards and 4 interceptions, while Johnson picked up 865 rushing yards. Arcaroli racked up 124 total tackles and 2 sacks to join his teammates on the leaderboard. 


The 2021 season brought new challenges to the field for West. Not only did multiple impactful players graduate, but the COVID-19 pandemic stripped any sense of normalcy for the season. Yet, throughout all of the trials and tribulations of the past year, Coach Arabia knew that this team was special and was proud of how they put in the work to perform well in games. “Anytime a program graduates 20 seniors and begins a season 0-6, challenges and doubt creeps in. The best part about the 2021 group was their willingness to stay the course and work through the adversity and find success in some daily wins,” he noted.

With another West football season in the books, it is important to recognize the seniors who have dedicated their high school careers to playing football at Cherry Hill West: Jaden Berry OL/DL, Brian Welde OL/DL, Makhi Thompson WR/DB, Noah Searight WR/DB, Louis Ragsdale WR/DB, Dan Lozano OT/DE, Jayden Cosme RB-TE/LB, and Dhante Johnson RB/DB. As these players move forward to the future, Coach Arabia has some words of advice, “The weather is the weather, you cannot control it, might as well embrace it and make it the other team’s problem!”