Shawnee Football Seniors Receive Personal Touch

Shawnee Football Seniors Receive Personal Touch
Shawnee coach Tim Gushue and his staff had a recent two-day tour that took more than 12 hours total, and they loved every minute of it.
 
Gushue wanted to make sure that each of the 27 seniors from the South Jersey Group 4 championship team personally received his ring.
 
This was the third straight year that Shawnee has captured the South Jersey Group 4 title and once again it was in convincing style.
 
Seeded first, Shawnee defeated No. 8 seed Neptune, 31-21. That was followed by a 27-18 win over Millville and then a 28- triumph in the sectional final over Ocean City.
 
The Renegades would then beat Central Jersey champion Hammonton, 34-0 in the South-Central regional championship.
 
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the players would have received their rings in a ceremony all together. Since that wasn’t possible, Gushue and company went to each seniors’ house.
 
“It was fun and they had their came jersey on when we came and I think it was really appreciated by the seniors and their families,” Gushue said. “We are very fortunate and we had a lot of great seniors and we are very thankful to them.”
 
The coaches who did the presenting followed social distancing protocol and had masks on.
 
“Our principal (Matt Campbell) was very appreciative that we did this,” Gushue said. “The kids missed out on a lot of late stuff.”
 
While 27 seniors may seem like a large number and it is to most schools, Shawnee traditionally has 20 or more seniors.
 
The Renegades finished this past season 10-3. Two of the losses were to sectional champions – Williamstown (Group 5) and Woodrow Wilson (Group 3). The other loss was to Thanksgiving rival Lenape, which advanced to the Group 5 final before falling to Williamstown, 14-10.
 
Shawnee competes in the Olympic American, considered the top division in South Jersey on an annual basis. Playing teams such as Williamstown, St. Augustine and Lenape, would prepare any team for the rigors of the postseason.
 
Among the leaders from the senior class was fullback-linebacker Dalton Short, who will continue his football career and education at Monmouth.
 
At Shawnee, it takes some doing to start as an underclassman. Actually, the same can be said for seniors. There is usually ample competition at each position and that makes the players better.
 
The underclassmen also received rings, but Gushue had them drive to his house and he handed each their ring.
 
“They had to stay in the car and had a mask and we handed them the ring and said ‘See you soon.’”
 
When that will be is still anybody’s guess.
 
Nobody knows what will happen in the immediate future of South Jersey football. Gushue hopes he sees those underclassmen together as soon as possible. No matter what happens, he and the staff made the extra effort to give the seniors a fitting farewell.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of Marc Narducci

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