Camden Ready for Another Banner Football Season

by Marc Narducci | Sep 4, 2020
Camden Ready for Another Banner Football Season
Dwayne Savage has built the Camden football program into one of the best in South Jersey and this coming season should be no different.
 
Savage has a 62-25 career record after the Panthers competed in a sectional championship last season for the second year in a row.
 
Last season Camden went 8-4 and fell to Cedar Creek, 31-23 in the Central Jersey Group 2 finals. 
 
The year before Camden went 10-2 and advanced to the South Jersey Group 2 final before losing to Haddonfield, 23-12.
 
There is not expected to be a championship this year as every team will be invited to a postseason that will only consist of two games. Schools are likely to be put in four-team pods. 
 
Regardless, Camden once against has Top 10 potential. 
 
Camden, like all NJSIAA schools, was conducting summer workouts until Aug. 28. Beginning Aug. 29, teams had to take a two-week break and will return for workouts Sept. 14, with the football season beginning Oct. 2.
 
Football teams will only play six games and two postseason matchups, or whatever they will be called. The South Jersey sports community is hoping the seasons can be completed during this pandemic.
 
“We were happy to be out there,” Savage said. “For us and the kids it is a release to be around our peers and have a little bit of fun although we know the seriousness of this pandemic.”
 
During those summer workouts there was plenty of social distancing, but the team got constructive work done. Savage said between 55-75 showed up for the summer workouts from graded 9-12, an impressive number for a Group 2 sized school.
 
It shows how popular football in the city of Camden. Rival Woodrow Wilson also has among the top programs in South Jersey.
 
This season Camden will benefit from the return of Corey Palmer, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound receiver who transferred from Camden to Florida’s IMG Academy after his sophomore year.
 
IMG traditionally fields one of the top programs, with players coming from all over the country. Palmer did well at IMG, according to Savage, but when the pandemic hit, his family felt it would be better that he returned home. 
 
Last year in eight games for IMG, Palmer had 15 receptions for 347 yards (23.1 avg.) and 2 TDs. He also averaged 14.1 yards on seven punt returns and 30 yards on two kickoff returns. 
 
Palmer has several Division I schools in pursuit, according to Savage. As a sophomore at Camden, Savage had 26 receptions for 484 yards and seven touchdowns, while contributing four interceptions. 
 
Division I recruiters know their way around Camden. From this year’s team, wide receiver-cornerbacks Elijah Clark and Darian “Deuce_ Chestnut have made verbal commitment to Rutgers and Syracuse respectively. 
 
Savage says that junior linebacker Nyair Graham, has more than 15 offers including one from Texas A&M of the Southeast Conference. As a sophomore Graham was all over the field, with 91 tackles. 
 
Camden’s schedule will be highly challenging beginning Oct. 2 at Winslow Township. The Panthers will also play Haddonfield, Shawnee, West Deptford, Willingboro and Woodrow Wilson. Three of those teams, Shawnee, Woodrow Wilson and Willingboro, were sectional champs last year.

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Despite the tough schedule, Camden should be a highly competitive team. The Panthers are 26-8 over the previous three years and look to carry that momentum this year.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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