Lancetta Made His Mark At Hammonton

by Marc Narducci; photo Marc Narducci | Jan 28, 2015
Lancetta Made His Mark At Hammonton Jim Raso is the new head football coach at Hammonton, replacing his old high school coach Pete Lancetta, who was simply one of the most successful coaches in South Jersey history.

Lancetta resigned after 26 seasons in order to become an assistant coach at Rowan University. Raso played for Lancetta and has been a long-time assistant coach with the program.

Lancetta left Raso with a talented team that will bring back several key players from a 7-4 team.

Lancetta also helped Hammonton make a smooth transition from the Cape Atlantic League to the West Jersey Football League.

This year’s Hammonton team, which suffered several key late-season injuries, beat Triton in a first round South Jersey Group 4 playoff game before losing to eventual champion Shawnee in the semifinals.

Hammonton football, which dates back to 1888, has always enjoyed a strong tradition. It’s just that Lancetta took the program to a new level during his 26 seasons.

He finished with a career 215-65-2 record. Under Lancetta, Hammonton won the South Jersey Group 4 title in 2009 and captured the South Jersey Group 2 championship in 1996, 1994 and 1993. In addition, the Blue Devils made six other trips to a sectional final game under Lancetta.

He was able to win when Hammonton was a smaller Group 2 school and then when it expanded to Group 4.

In the two seasons prior to his arrival, Hammonton went 3-14-1. Hammonton struggled during Lancetta’s first season in 1989, going 2-7.

By the next season, the Blue Devils were 9-1. During his tenure, the Blue Devils won nine or more games 16 times.

There were two undefeated teams, 11-0 seasons in 1993 and 1996. The Blue Devils won 10 or more games six times.

Hammonton was never a flashy team under Lancetta. He had a groun-oriented attack, but the Blue Devils executed the offense flawlessly. On defense, Hammonton was known for its ability to swarm to the ball.

The Blue Devils usually didn’t have overwhelming size, but the key to their success was how hard Lancetta had them play.

At Rowan, he will be reunited with his brother Pat, who is an assistant coach for the Profs. Pat Lancetta is a former assistant to his brother at Hammonton.

When Lancetta took over, Hammonton was in the small-school Cape Atlantic National Division. As enrollment increased, the Blue Devils moved to the larger-school Cape American and Hammonton remained just as competitive.

This year, the Blue Devils were also competitive while playing in one of South Jersey’s toughest divisions – the WJFL National Conference.

Five of the six teams made the playoffs, and division champion Timber Creek advanced to the South Jersey Group 4 final, while Delsea, a team that edged Hammonton, 17-14, was the South Jersey Group 3 champion.

It speaks to Lancetta’s ability that after that first season, Hammonton didn’t have a losing campaign in the next 25 seasons.

Most expect the strong tradition to continue at Hammonton, especially after the Blue Devils were guided by a coach who enjoyed a Hall of Fame-caliber career.

Photo (by Marc Narducci): Hammonton's Pete Lancetta

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Author: Marc Narducci; photo by Marc Narducci

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