In 2014 the football team entered its season having suffered a winless season the year before. A year later, the Little Tigers are looking to build off their 8–2 season, and start their 2015 football campaign.
The Little Tigers, whose wins came as a shock to many last year, do not feel that they are the underdogs anymore. Regardless, the team has new expectations set for them this season. They are now in a different section, North 2 Group 4, which means they could have different competition if they reach the playoffs this year, including Phillipsburg High School, which went 11–1 last year, and Woodbridge High School, which won nine New Jersey State championships. However, most players do not think it will affect their playing.
“I’m not really worried about it. We had many good teams in our group last year and there are many good teams in our new group this year. But we have to take care of business in the regular season for that to even be applicable,” said Co-Captain and quarterback Dave Beamer.
For the most part the Little Tigers will face many of the same teams they faced last year in the regular season. Later this fall, they will face West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, Lawrence High School, and Steinert High School, all of which they beat last year.
Last year, the Little Tigers were able to reach the playoffs under Head Coach Charles Gallagher but will have to continue their success without many of the seniors who graduated last year.
“We lost a lot of guys last year … [but] we don’t expect to see a decline in our play,” Beamer said.
“Without a doubt [we can make the playoffs] … our schedule hasn’t changed, so we have to, I mean we’re a little behind … last year we were 5–0 first, but we have to put a string of wins together, and there’s a possibility,” said Head Coach Charles Gallagher.
While they may have lost several captains, the Little Tigers still have many leaders on the team. One player with a key role in this season is Co-Captain Rory Helstrom ’16. Starting as a running back for the previous two seasons, Helstrom has played a major part on the team.
“We graduated a lot of kids, mainly starters, which set us back a little bit but a lot of kids are stepping up this year and filling those roles well,” Helstrom said.
One of Helstrom’s new responsibilities this year is to help out the younger players who have been showing promise.
“This year, [as co-captain], I have to try and be more vocal and help lead my team into games and to keep everyone positive no matter what and also [lead] by example,” Helstrom said.
This spirit will be necessary in accomplishing the goals of the team this season. The players’ goals include defending its division championship and qualifying for states.
“I feel that we have the talent and the personnel to make up for those losses and have another successful season,” Beamer said.