By Anthony Williams

The 2012 high school football season is upon us. With two-a-day practices and fundraising drives already finished, the opening kick-off is here.

For Bordentown Regional High School, the 2012 season is one for optimism and excitement as head coach Steve Perry returns for his fourth season with the Scotties and what he considers the best senior class during his tenure.

Looking to improve on last season’s 2-8 record, the Scotties will depend on a core contingent of returning starters, including Jordan Kelso (Sr.–WR/DB), Nick Bartolomei (Sr.–QB), Robert Bulleck (Sr.–OL/DL), Tommy Walters (Jr.–RB), and Jahmeire VanKline (So.–RB).

The offense is set for the Scotties with the return of their quarterback, star receiver, young tailbacks and four offensive linemen. Perry expects his team to be a lot more productive this year.

“We’re returning a lot of very good skill position players and a lot of team leadership,” he said. “This is not a rebuilding year for us; we’re ready to take the next step.”

In order to take the next step, Bordentown will have to find a way to replace some key losses to graduation. Among the notable losses for the Scotties are David Bridges (TE/OLB), Vinny Frank (RB/LB) and Gerald Conover (WR/FS). While none of the players have moved on to play college ball, all three provided solid play for Bordentown and made up half of the Scotties’ linebacking core.

Another obstacle Bordentown will have to contend with is the new defensive game plan they are implementing for the 2012 season. Perry would not reveal anything about his team’s new approach, but did acknowledge there may be a learning curve for some of the players.

“We changed up our defensive scheme for this year,” Perry said. “Some of our players will be taking on and learning new roles which may cause a few bumps in the road, but we have enough football smarts that should allow us to adjust quickly.”

Bordentown will once again be playing in the Liberty Division of the West Jersey Football League, but will see some new faces due to some divisional realignment. This year, the Scotties will be competing for a divisional title against Holy Cross, Delran, Cinnaminson, Robbinsville and Ewing.

“It’s a new look for us and the division,” Perry said, “but we’re familiar with all of these teams and shouldn’t be too surprised with what we see. It’s going to come down to our execution as a team and our ability to minimize mistakes.”

Bordentown should be well prepared when it kicks off its season at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at Robbinsville High School, under the lights. The Scotties have endured the searing August heat, and managed their way through three scrimmages against Burlington City, Lindenwold and South Hunterdon to get to this point.

“I would say very optimistic and excited is a good way to describe my feelings,” Perry said.