The 2016 football season at Cinnaminson High School begins on Friday night at 7pm against Liberty Division rival Willingboro. It is just one of many games in the expanded WJFL.
Here is our 2016 season preview for Pirates football.
The WJFL is the West Jersey Football League. The Pirates will have some new opponents on the schedule this year due to the league’s expansion.
Those new opponents include Collingswood, West Deptford, Glassboro and Sterling.
“It is exciting. Every week is going to be a big game. The league did a nice job with parity,” head coach Mario Patrizi said. “I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of teams going to the playoffs at 7-1 or 8-0 anymore. Our biggest thing is to take the peaks and valleys as they come and see where we’re at after the eighth game.”
Cinnaminson won a share of the Liberty last year with Holy Cross and Pemberton as each team went 4-1 in division play.
This year, the division consists of Holy Cross, Bordentown, Willingboro, Delran and Robbinsville. Willingboro replaces Pemberton in the division for 2016.
“I like playing Pemberton. I respect their program,” Patrizi said. “I like who we picked up. Every week you’re going to get a different crowd. It’s definitely a change that’s good.”
The Pirates have enjoyed quite a bit of success over the past five years, playing to an overall record of 38-13 and have made the playoffs in all five years, including 2015.
“You can see a difference. You can see a hunger. You give up a lead like that (Holy Cross), against anybody, it humbles you,” Patrizi said. “To our credit, we got better each week. We had a great win against Pemberton. Buena was a tough matchup for us.”
Cinnaminson graduated a host of impact players after the 2015 season, but as we’ve learned, the program continues to retool year-to-year.
In need of a quarterback last season, the Pirates converted starting receiver Shaun Davilla (senior), who accounted for more than 1,600 total yards (passing, rushing, return) and 30 touchdowns (14 passing, 15 rushing, 1 punt return).
“Anytime you get a two-year starter, the comfort level is there,” Patrizi said. “He has a feel for the game. He was a two-year starter at wide receiver too. He’s done a great job. His backup is a freshman, Shawn Ruffin, who’s going to be an outstanding player.”
In need of a wide receiver this season, the Pirates converted Pennsauken transfer quarterback Andrew Goshine (senior) to the skill position.
Dylan Thevanayagam (senior) transferred back to Cinnaminson and will strengthen an already dominating linebacking core led by senior Dominic Cicale.
Frank Stepnowski (senior) and Kevin Schoch (junior) return as all-purpose players who bring speed and deception to the offense. Sophomore Rashad Raymond returns as an impact running back and the offensive line remains anchored by seniors Keith Swartley and Mike Wojcik.
“The toughest part, it’s a good thing, is trying to get everybody their touches. We’re figuring it out,” Patrizi said. “The kids have been very unselfish.”
“If the specials, offense and defense come together, and win all three phases each week, we are going to be special.”
The defensive line will be led by Swartley and junior Kai Leibfried. Sophomores Craig Horsley and Eddie Davilla will also see time along the line.
“Athleticism. Joe Sireci (sophomore) plays in there too. They are weight room kids,” Patrizi said of the defensive line. “They might not have the size we are used to, but they bring speed and athleticism to the line. They are tough kids. They are strong kids”
The secondary features Shaun Davilla, Goshine and speedy senior Christian Massara.
The depth on the 2016 team will be a major strength of the program as there is talent everywhere you look.
“The depth is very good right now. Our physicality up front is excellent. We have a good group of guys up front and a sub-group below them. We need to win the line of scrimmage.”
Patrizi said the message from the coaching staff has been clear from the first day of camp:
“Everyday is a new day. Play hard to the whistle. Don’t take anything for granted. That’s our thing; one play at a time, one game at a time.”
“Having fun’s the key. The way you have fun is doing the right things. When you’re playing for one another. When you have one common goal, that’s when it becomes fun.”
Check the site tomorrow at 4pm for the Week One Football Preview against Willingboro. The Pirates face a veteran Chimeras team that will have a different look from last season’s 23-16 win.
Kickoff is slated for 7pm. Cinn City News will have live updates throughout the game.
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