Warriors working for gridiron wins


Quarterback Brian Hamilton, like the other players on the New Egypt High School football team, has experienced what coach Luke Sinkhorn calls “growing pains,” but has shown signs of coming of age along the way.

“We started off kind of shaky, but throughout the season we are coming together as a team,” said Hamilton. “The players believe in every game that we can come away with a win. The main thing is we have to play four quarters.”

That, and a little more bullishness on defense, can help the team add wins to its 1-4 start.

“We need to be more physical,” said Sinkhorn, who was an assistant coach in the program prior to taking the reins of the Warriors this season. “We’re trying to do it more in practice. As a defensive coach, I’m biased to that.”

On Oct. 19 a formidable Florence team scored a 38-0 victory over the Warriors in New Egypt’s homecoming game at the Plumsted school.

“We still have not put a full four quarters together,” said Sinkhorn. “We’ve had some nice drives, and the defense has made some good stands, but then there is fatigue from the guys playing both ways.”

Certainly, the New Egypt team kept its fans in the stands into the second half against Florence when it had some exciting moments in the first half, reaching the Florence 10 yard line on its first series before missing a 27-yard field goal. New Egypt had a punt blocked inside its 10 late in the second quarter and then held Florence to a field goal attempt that was no good.

The Warriors will swing back into action on Oct. 24 at Palmyra, which has a physical team, said Sinkhorn.

“I think originally there was an adjustment for some of the players, especially some of the older guys who had some hesitation because of the transition (to a new coach), although it was mostly little things,” said Sinkhorn. “It happens anytime you have change, especially with seniors.”

But Sinkhorn believes his team “is starting to come together and going in the right direction.”

That was evident in the third game of the 2009 season when New Egypt beat Riverside, 22-8.

Prior to the Florence game, New Egypt lost to Woodrow Wilson, which rallied for a 22-19 victory. The Warriors had a 19-8 halftime lead as Pascale Dieujuste caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Hamilton, who later ran 12 yards for a touchdown. Jamel Smith ran 25 yards for a touchdown, one of four he has this season.

Hamilton has passed for four touchdowns.

New Egypt also was locked in a close game with Maple Shade, before Maple Shade broke away in the second half for a 27-7 victory.

inkhorn said the team has made progress because of the leadership of captains Hamilton and Nick Puza, a two-way lineman, along with senior two-way lineman Matt Francis.

“The players finally are looking to believe in them and follow

them,” the coach said. “We have a lot of guys with not much experience who are doing a good job.”

“I think we are playing hard, no matter what happens,” said Puza. “Our record doesn’t show what we are. I definitely think we should be able to win some (more) games with the way we are coming together. The best thing we can do right now is just to practice and be ready.”

Hamilton said he is playing “OK. There’s still room for improvement to play better and lead the team better.”

Sinkhorn praised the play of offensive guard and linebacker Rigo Morfin and “very underrated” center Lyle German, a junior who also plays defensive end. Ryan Brevogel has shown good hands as a receiver who also doubles as a defensive end or defensive back.

“He (Brevogel) has converted some big first downs for us with his catches,” said Sinkhorn, who said he is enjoying the job, particularly “the challenge of getting the kids motivated.”

After facing Palmyra this week, the Warriors will play Bishop Eustace and Willingboro before their Thanksgiving tilt against Bordentown.