2022 New Jersey Football Preview: Millville Thunderbolts
Millville football is one of the more storied programs in the state. With a Thanksgiving football rivalry dating back to before 1900, the Thunderbolts surely have left their legacy on New Jersey football. One of their most successful years in the program came just last season. Millville took home the South Jersey Group 4 title and the South/Central Group 4 title along with a 12-1 record and their only loss coming to St. Augustine. Leading the way was now Syracuse Orange running back LeQuint Allen. This year, things look a little different starting with the head coach position. Humberto Ayala takes over in his first season as head coach after former head coach Dennis Thomas took a job on the Rutgers football staff. Luckily for Ayala, he was on the staff for 5 years prior to his promotion to head coach. With key players like LeQuint Allen, Nate Robbins, and Ti-yon Cephas in college, there are a few holes to fill. Luckily the Bolts have that covered already.
Jacob Zamot will man the QB position. The QB blood runs in the family of the Zamot’s as older brother Josh is the QB at Stony Brook. At the wide receiver position last year’s Freshman phenom, Lotzeir Brooks looks to build off of an electric 2021 season. Brooks hauled in 35 catches for 988 yards and 13 TDs. Also another key contributor at WR is Ta’Ron Haile who had 22 catches for 336 yards and 3 TDs. Filling in the huge hole at running back will be a huge question mark. Last year Bricere Hunter and Na’eem Sharp got a bulk of the carries behind LeQuint Allen. Hunter took 37 carries for 175 yards and a TD. Sharp had 20 carries for 115 yards and 3 TDs. On the offensive line Millville returns 3/5 starters in Darian Blachewicz, Edison Andino, and Marcus Offer. There are a handful of players competing for the open spots on the line but there haven’t been any final decisions made yet.
Defensively the only returning starter on the defensive line is Kevin White at the edge position. Keyan German and Solomon Kent return at the inside linebacker position for their Senior campaigns. There are no returning starters at the outside linebacker spot but there is a competition among players who have experience being on the field to fill the spot. Lotzeir Brooks and Kyon Conyers are the only returning DBs for the Bolts secondary.
The expectations and standards for Millville are high this year after last year’s championship run. Young QB Jacob Zamot says he’s “excited” and feels that former QB Nate Robbins played a big role last year which means he understands he has to step up and try to replicate the success. “He played a big role here and I have big shoes to fill but I know I’m going to put in the work to try and bring success to the program”. Junior Ta’Ron Haile said last year that they came into the season with a championship mentality and the message is the same this year. With guys like Robbins, Allen and other Seniors from last year’s team gone, Haile said the vibe and feeling at practice isn’t different. “We have the same feeling as last year except this year we have guys stepping up in spots that are currently open so I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store”.
Coach Ayala has high hopes for the OBG this year but also doesn’t seem too worried about the open spots currently. When asked about filling for former coach Dennis Thomas, he jokingly said “He’s got a size 13 foot so certainly I’m not trying to fill in shoes here”. His familiarity with the kids and program under Thomas seems to be the reason for his poised demeanor when asked about any question marks on the depth chart. “I’ve been here for 5 years and coaching under Dennis [Thomas] so I learned the way of the land. I’ve been in the school system and teach in the building so the transition and coaching staff is the same. Because of the consistencies of changing coaches I don’t see much of a challenge of being a head coach also since I’m a head coach of another sport as well”. Millville opens their season at the prestigious Battle at the Beach at Ocean City High School on August 28th at 11am.
Chris Baker from NJ Athletics. You can reach Chris on Twitter (@cbaker_nj) or you can reach him by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Be sure to check out NJ Athletics on Instagram (@NJAthletics) and on Twitter (@nj_athletics)