Updated: Aug 31, 2022
MOUNT HOLLY - After a dismal 2-8 season and a head coach vacancy to fill, Rancocas Valley embraced for a new chapter.
Insert Garrett Lucas.
Lucas transitioned from Delran to Mount Holly. The Bears finished 6-3 a season ago and reached the Central Jersey Group 3 quarterfinals under Lucas a season ago.
With a lot of fresh faces and not much returning experience, the new hire welcomed the challenge at RV. Lucas and his counterparts wasted no time establishing their culture. During the offseason, the program competed in 7-on-7s, hosted camps for the youth, and also had lots of notable alumni, including Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Shaun Bradley, shed advice and experience to the current players.
The Red Devils began the Lucas era with a 21-14 win over Williamstown in a Week 0 West Jersey Football League matchup on Friday night.
The game started off without a score for almost 17 minutes. Rancocas Valley quarterback Kevin Burr scrambled on a broken pass play and stumbled his way into the end zone, after losing his footing on a juke move, to erase the zeros.
The next score wouldn't come until a little over halfway through the third quarter when Red Devils running back Nicholas Lingle made it a 14-0 contest with a shifty rumble into the end zone.
The Braves didn't surrender.
Williamstown responded with a Zach Zerbe rushing touchdown to make it 14-7 with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.
The Red Devils struck again on an acrobatic score from Montre Wilson. The Pemberton transfer wowed spectators with a shifty, analog stick move to build a 21-7 lead with 7:11 left in regulation.
Williamstown proceeded to capitalize on untimely penalties in the red zone by Rancocas Valley. Drew Craig snuck into the end zone from the half inch line to make it 21-14 with under four minutes to play.
Rancocas Valley's defense held its own in the closing minutes and was able to secure the win.
The Red Devils' newfound connection with Lucas was evidenced with high praise.
“It’s the first win of many, I can tell you that," Burr said. "Winning this game for Coach Lucas and the community means everything. It’s going to be a memorable win, but I’m really excited moving forward”.
Lucas embraced his new school, including the crowd, atmosphere and everyone and everything that came together at the game.
“It’s great. I’ve never seen a crowd this big since college," Lucas said. "It felt like a playoff game with how packed and loud the stands were on each side”.
Rancocas Valley (1-0 record) moves on to host Paterson Eastside in a crossover between the West Jersey Football League and the Super Football Conference on September 1.