Post 1,049 – Team Preview 2023: Cedar Creek Pirates

Cedar Creek Pirates 

June 14, 2023

2022: 

  • 4-7 
  • Lost to Camden in the Central Jersey Group 3 semifinals after beating Timber Creek in the quarterfinals 
  • Wins included Camden Eastside, Oakcrest, and Absegami 
  • Losses were to Delsea, Winslow, St. Joe’s (Hammonton), Salem, Edison, and Ocean City 
  • Scored 167 points for a 15.18 average 
  • Allowed 237 points for a 21.54 average 

Graduation: 

  • RB/DB Mekhi Harvey – Stevenson 
  • DL Kahmir Cooper-Brown – Stevenson 
  • WR/DB Zaire Pilgrim – East Coast Prep (Mass.) 
  • DL Malik Moore-summers – Morehouse (Ga.) 
  • LB Dejuan Palmer – Kean 
  • TE/LB Mike Sears – St. Bonaventure for rugby 

Offense: 

  • Formation: Multiple Spread 
  • Returning Starters:  9 

Quarterback: 

  • Billy Smith, Senior, 5-11, 175 – returning starter; passed for over 1,800 yards per nj.com  

Running Back: 

  • Aamir Dunbar, Sophomore, 5-11, 190 – projected starter; saw action   
  • Kai Stoner, Junior, 5-9, 160 – competing for carries 
  • Jamal McClellan, Senior, 5-11, 170 – competing for carries 

H-Back: 

  • Justin Castillo, Senior, 5-8, 210 – 4-year starter 

Wide Receiver: 

  • Alim Parks, Senior, 5-11, 195 – 3-year starter; 45 receptions, 789 yards per nj.com 
  • Darius Benjamin, Junior, 5-9, 165 – returning starter; also caught 45 per nj.com 
  • Jahmir Campfield, Sophomore, 5-10, 165 – projected starter 
  • Chris McAfee, Senior, 5-9, 165 – projected fourth starting receiver; started on defense 
  • Gyan King, Sophomore, 5-10, 170 – part of the rotation 
  • Aman McLaughlin, Senior, 6-1, 165 – part of the rotation; started on defense 

Offensive Line: 

  • Johnathan Martinez, Junior, 6-3, 270 – returning starter at left tackle, moving from the right side 
  • Mandel Pettiford, Junior, 6-2, 265 – returning starter at left guard, moving from left tackle 
  • Nate Tunnat, Senior, 6-1, 250 – returning starter at center, moving from left guard 
  • Randy Beane, Senior, 6-0, 255 – returning starter at right guard 
  • Aiden Jinks, Junior, 6-1, 225 – competing at right tackle 
  • Cody Harris, Senior, 6-2, 270 – returning starter who is competing at right tackle, moving from center 
  • Tyler Cannon, Senior, 6-0, 245 – part of rotation at tackle and guard; saw action 

Defense: 

  • Formation: Multiple 3-4 
  • Returning Starters: 5 

Defensive Line: 

  • Mandel Pettiford, Junior, 6-2, 265 – returning starter at end 
  • Tyler Cannon, Senior, 6-0, 245 – projected starter at nose guard 
  • Aiden Jinks, Junior, 6-1, 225 – front-runner at opposite end 
  • Shoron Britt, Senior, 6-2, 275 – competing at opposite end 

Linebacker: 

  • Justin Castillo, Senior, 5-8, 210 – returning starter on inside; 80 tackles per nj.com  
  • Shane Deman, Senior- 5-11, 175 projected starter on inside 
  • Aamir Dunbar, Sophomore, 5-11, 190 – projected starter on outside 
  • The opposite outside linebacker is undecided 

Secondary: 

  • Jamal McClellan, Senior, 5-11, 170 – returning starter at strong safety 
  • Aman McLaughlin, Senior, 6-1, 165 – returning starter at cornerback 
  • Chris McAfee, Senior, 5-9, 165 – returning starter at cornerback; may play free safety 
  • Gyan King, Sophomore, 5-10, 170 – projected starter at free safety; may play cornerback; saw action 
  • Jahmir Campfield, Sophomore, 5-10, 165 – part of rotation at cornerback and safety 
  • Darius Benjamin, Junior, 5-9, 165 – part of rotation at cornerback and safety 
  • Alim Parks, Senior, 5-11, 195 – part of rotation at cornerback and safety 

Special Teams: 

  • Kicker and punter are undecided 
  • Benjamin, Parks, and Campfield will be the return men 

Schedule: 

  • Sunday, 8/27, Matawan at Ocean City 
  • Saturday, 9/2, Absegami at home 
  • Friday, 9/8, at Ocean City 
  • Saturday, 9/16, at Camden Eastside 
  • Saturday, 9/23, Salem at Rutgers 
  • Saturday, 9/30, at St. Joe’s (Hammonton) 
  • Saturday, 10/7, Delsea at home 
  • Friday, 10/13, at Oakcrest 
  • Saturday, 10/21, Winslow at home 

Concerns: 

  • Kicking game 
  • Starting fast, winning early, and gaining momentum 

Recruiting: 

  • Parks has a New Hampshire offer 
  • Smith has interest from LIU and several of the D2 schools in Pennsylvania  
  • Castillo has received D2 interest, especially D2 schools in Pennsylvania, along with D3 interest; he is a very good high school football player 
  • Tunnat, Beane, McClellan, McAfee, McLaughlin, and Cannon have interest from D3 schools and may end up higher 
  • Underclassmen: 
  • Pettiford has Patriot and CAA interest 
  • Martinez and Benjamin are dependent on having good junior years 
  • In the sophomore class, Dunbar, Campfield, and King have very good potential 

Coach’s Comments: 

“We’re excited for this group. We have a lot back and a lot to prove. We’re aiming to get back to where we belong. We’ve put in a lot of work, but more work is required.” – Head Coach James Melody 

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