By Josh Lashley | CNBNews Contributor
Gloucestercitynews.net (September 18, 2019)-- The Gloucester City High School football program will be in search of its first win of the season when they travel to Pitman for a contest on September 20.
The Lions (0-2 record) versus Panthers (1-1 record) game should be intriguing on quite a few levels.
“Our kids are very excited for this match up,’’ Gloucester City head coach Rob Bryan said. “Our quarterback, Gavin Callahan, was a former Pitman player. I know this means a lot to him. This is a team that is hungry for varsity football as they had been strictly JV for a few years because of low numbers. It is a team that cannot be underestimated. They have a lot of fight in them as evidenced by their play on film. This will surely be a test for us, but I know our kids will be up for it.’’
Gloucester was involved in a hard fought game this past weekend against Clayton (a 26-14 loss on September 13). Pitman lost, 32-0, to Maple Shade on September 13.
“I think we can all agree in our locker room that we are disappointed in losing that one,’’ Bryan said. “We started slow and when we began to heat up, we found ourselves playing from behind. We learned several lessons from two Fridays ago (a loss to Haddon Township) and I thought we made a big improvement in several areas. Our special teams got the job done for the most part against a very fast Clayton team. Special teams struggled two Friday ago, so we experienced improvement there.
“Two Fridays ago, our offense really struggled running the football. This past Friday, we rushed the ball for over 230 yards and scored twice on the ground. The younger players continue to shine as Steven Burkhardt (sophomore) and Jaden Harris (sophomore) shouldered the load on the offensive side. We displayed tremendous heart and perseverance in the second half of that game, but need to start faster. I do see a team that is coming together and developing an identity that we can embrace moving forward.’’
The Lions will look to make more positive progression when they face off with Pitman.
“We need more game experience plain and simple,’’ Bryan said. “We have made mistakes that players make when they are nervous and inexperienced. We can improve that and that will come with time. But when it comes to football, we have a bunch of tough kids. Some need to stay true to their form and technique and develop better discipline especially late in the games when they are tired or fatigued. These mistakes can be corrected and we will see it through to make sure they do.
“Two freshmen contributed to the game Friday night (versus Clayton). Mason Jankowski got a look on the offensive line because of his consistent relentless effort in practice. Andrew Pinto got a look on special teams because of his success in JV. Steven Burkhardt gave us a tremendous spark offensively and rushed more times than he did since playing in the youth league (32 rushes for 167 yards, 1 TD). Chris Dolson showed he is a very reliable receiver and Henry Cannon left it all on the field for us. One play call had Gavin Callahan throw it to Steve Burkhardt. Burkhardt then threw it to Henry Cannon for 43 yards. Burkhardt hung in there and delivered the football with a guy coming at him full speed. Mason Jankowski’s effort against a much bigger defensive line was unmatched. He showed great courage.’’
Related: Gloucester City High School
The Rams (0-1)will look to rebound from an opening season loss to Robbinsville when they take on Clearview this Saturday at home. Clearview has a record of 1-1 and is coming off of a 21-7 defeat to Highland on September 13.
Related: Gloucester Catholic