Salem High School football team improving every year under head coach Randy Johnson
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
SALEM — Before last season, it had been seven years since the Salem High School football team finished the year with a winning record. An 18-9 win against Woodstown on Thanksgiving Day bumped its record to 6-4 and capped a season in which the Rams reached the South Jersey Group I playoffs.
“It seems we turned the corner,” head coach Randy Johnson said. “We had a lot of excitement in the offseason. Kids got in the weight room and they’re out here working harder. We want to build upon that. To be great you have to do a lot of little things. And the biggest question is, can we handle success? It’s about putting together another winning season after having a winning season last year.”
Floyd Nance should be the face of the Rams this year as a standout lineman on both sides of the ball. He’ll be pushing the defense back to make room for Kevin Hunter and Dione Alston, among others, in the run game.
“It shows how much I’ve been putting out and how much I want football to be a part of my life,” Nance said after being asked about his potential to be a county player of the year. “It’s my life and it’s just fun to play.
“I think our backfield will still be good. We have guys coming up who can fill the same role that (graduate Devin Walker, a 1,300-yard rusher) did last year.”
“Floyd gives a lot on both sides of the ball,” added Johnson. “Defensively, he’s extremely explosive coming off the ball the last two seasons. We’ve used him at guard and tackle to help balance the line. We do different things with him, even standing him up at linebacker. He’s a great asset to have going into his senior year.”
Quarterback/linebacker Levi Shockley said despite the team’s youth, the game plan is simple — put 11 guys on the field who can all do their job correctly.
“We have a lot of momentum and motivation to get back there,” Shockley said. “We want to make the seniors that left proud. ... We’re very young. But with everybody working together we should be fine. It takes 11 of us, and if we work together we should do fine.”
Johnson is heading into his fourth year at the helm. The Rams’ record has improved each season since his first year in 2009, and the hopes for the team are to keep improving and become a truly relevant team in the South Jersey Group I race.
They’ll be tested early in the season with games against some of the better teams in the area, including last year’s Group I runner-up, Pennsville.
“We open up with Pennsville, who lost in the Group I championship last year,” Johnson said. “We played them 39-38 (a loss) at their place last year. Then we go back to play Gloucester. ... and we close out the month of September with Penns Grove. So our first three games are critical to the outcome of our season.”
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