The Quakers are aiming to improve on last season despite losing numerous seniors and facing a tougher schedule in 2018.
There’s a new energy surrounding the Moorestown High School football program.
After four straight years of finishing at or below .500, everything came together for the Quakers in 2017 as they finished 9–2 for the program’s best season since going undefeated in 2007.
Now, Moorestown is confident it can top what it achieved last year. Despite losing a number of key seniors and facing tougher opponents in 2018, the Quakers are ready to improve on last season’s breakout performance.
“We’re driven to do the best we can,” senior Nick Cartwright-Atkins said. “We’re building a new culture in Moorestown, it’s a winning culture and a hard work culture.”
Head coach Beau Sherry has been building that culture since he took over the football program in 2013. In Sherry’s second season in 2014, Moorestown won just one game. Since then, Moorestown has increased its win total every year.
“We went from three wins, to five, to nine last year,” Sherry said. “We have a much more challenging schedule (this year), which is a good thing. We’re looking to embrace that challenge.”
“A lot of us playing as seniors now started as sophomores and the ones who didn’t were up playing a lot,” senior Brian McMonagle said. “We just keep building on what we did that year and keep adding.”
Moorestown’s new schedule includes games against four of the teams that qualified for the playoffs along with the Quakers in South Jersey Group IV last season. This includes a trip to Shawnee High School on Sept. 28. Shawnee knocked Moorestown out of the playoffs in the semifinals last year and went on to win the South Jersey Group IV championship.
Another challenge for the Quakers will be integrating new players into the lineup. The biggest area Sherry is focusing on is offensive line, where the team lost four of its five starters from last season.
“I want to see those guys get up to speed, get them comfortable, working with each other, communicating with each other,” Sherry said.
Moorestown does return a number of key skill position players on offense, including McMonagle at quarterback and Cartwright-Atkins at wide receiver.
McMonagle is entering his third season as Moorestown’s starting quarterback and felt he made big strides last year at the position.
“The biggest jump I took from my sophomore to my junior year was I actually understood coverages,” McMonagle said. “My sophomore year, I was just trying to throw it deep or pick one guy. Now I’m starting to understand reads and coverages.”
McMonagle and Cartwright-Atkins have paired up as a quarterback-wide receiver tandem since playing together in the youth program. This chemistry has helped spark the Quakers’ passing game.
“It’s a brotherly bond,” Cartwright-Atkins said. “He’s been my man since younger. The first time we were strong together, it was our eighth-grade year. We dominated, went to the championship. Ever since then, we’ve been melding together and becoming one person, not just two different individuals.”
On defense, Moorestown features a number of playmakers, including Josh Pearcy, whose versatility gives the defense a lot of options.
“Last year he played outside backer,” Sherry said. “He can move inside and play man-to-man coverage. From a defensive perspective calling plays, being able not to key on him and to move him around give you flexibility you don’t have every year.”
Moorestown’s recent success has the program aiming high in 2018. Sherry said the team always aims to improve on its previous year and hopes to do so again this year.
“We made it to the semifinals last year, so our expectation is to go as far as we can,” he said. “But you can’t just focus on those results, you have to focus on the process and how you get there.”