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The football program won its fifth division title in six years during the Fall 2016 season. Today concludes our season review series for the fall.
“Any time you can win another league title, you are doing something right,” head coach Mario Patrizi said.
“The program’s in good shape. We’ve been to the semifinals. We’ve been a perennial playoff team. It’s getting there. It’s a bunch of things; playing good football, you can’t have injuries and you also need to have luck of the draw.”
Expectations run high each year around the football program, and for good reason; Cinnaminson has consistently been one of the best programs in the area over the past eight-plus seasons (57-23 record and seven playoff appearances).
“It says a lot,” Patrizi said. “That’s what we try to tell the kids. Expectations are high. Anytime they are sky high, it’s a good thing. They are always high because it’s the type of program we have now. We don’t take a break and say ‘see you in August.’ We already have guys in the weight room.”
Cinnaminson finished the 2016 campaign with a 7-3 overall record and a 5-0 mark in the division.
The Pirates opened the year on a 5-0 run with impressive victories over Willingboro 27-0, which wound up making the playoffs as the #3 seed in South, Group 2, Sterling, Holy Cross, Glassboro and Robbinsville.
The Pirates first three wins in the division all came via shutout. In fact, Cinnaminson allowed a total of 25 points in five division games this season, good for five points per game.
The first loss of the year for the Pirates came against Collingswood 12-8. This is the first year the two teams met during the regular season.
Previous meetings occurred during NJSIAA consolation games.
Football also held eventual South, Group 2 state champion West Deptford to its lowest point output of the season in a 14-6 loss.
“The thing I was proud of was how the kids went at West Deptford and Collingswood,” Patrizi said.
“West Deptford is the top team in South Jersey. They could probably beat Group 5 schools. The way we went about our business and kept going at them, never giving up, was impressive.”
“It was a solid year with a tough schedule,” Patrizi said. “Group 2 is tough. Right now you have six teams in Group 2 that are very good. The two teams that played in the state title (West Deptford and Cedar Creek) are elite. We are a step below them with Collingswood, Willingboro and Haddonfield.”
The Pirates ended the season with a 49-13 victory over rival Delran to secure the Liberty title outright the night before Thanksgiving.
“Offensively, most improved would be Sean Harris,” Patrizi said. “Defensively, Kai Leibfried. Sean did a great job of knowing how to get open and knowing the weak spots of the defense. He’s intelligent, very intelligent. He’s very smart, has great hands and ran great routes.”
“Kai learned to become physical and became a lot smarter. He learned the inside, the outside game, when to do it and when not to do it.”
Patrizi talked about what he and the coaching staff told the players following the win over Delran.
“As a head coach, you have to make sure the kids have fun. They are great people. We thanked them for all their hard work and dedication. They worked hard every day to get better on and off the field.”
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