Video: Middle Township Panthers Football PreviewPosted:
CAPE MAY COURTHOUSE, N.J. – The Middle Township Panthers enters a new era in the West Jersey Football League United Division with the hopes of getting into the postseason.
The Panthers are coming off a tough year in the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference in 2015, going 3-7 and missing out on the playoffs for the third year in a row. More competitive scheduling in the West Jersey United should help the Panthers this fall, but the month of September will be a challenging stretch. After the opener against the Holy Spirit Spartans on Friday Night, they have to deal with Mainland Regional and Buena.
This also marks the fifth year for Pathers' head coach, Frank Riggitano, who also coached the team from 1990 to 2001. Riggitano is the principal at Middle Township as well, and he expects this season to be his last leading the program.
"We have a great group of seniors and one of things that's been advantageous for us is we had to throw them in the lineup very soon. The last two years have just been brutal for us with injuries. We lost 6 starters two years ago and we lost five 2-way starters last year," said Riggitano. "We like the schedule. We're not really excited about our first three games - those first three games being playoff teams last year. But it is what it is. The kids have worked hard and we expect them to be competitive and prepare to win and that's what we're going to try to do."
Middle Township's seniors hope to make 2016 a year to remember for Cape May Courthouse and qualify for the Group II playoffs this fall.
"That's the main goal. That's always what you want to do. We want to do it for Riggs, it might be his last year coaching and he's been here for a long time. He's put a lot of work in, a lot of effort, so we want to get it for him and for Middle Township," said Quarterback Matt Harris.
Middle Township's crossover schedule includes a clash with Cape May County rival Ocean City in October. Plus match-ups with Gloucester Catholic, Triton, and Pitman. The Panthers and the Holy Spirit Spartans are set to kickoff at 6 p.m. on Friday night at Memorial Field.