Onetime star takes Burlington City reins

Posted: September 07, 2012

Tony Sacca figures his players probably don't know much about his career as one of the best quarterbacks to emerge from South Jersey.

"Their parents might know who I am," said Sacca, the new coach at Burlington City. "My players probably think I played defensive tackle. I want to tell them, 'Guys, I didn't look like this 20 years ago.' "

Sacca, who was an all-South Jersey player at Delran, a 5,800-yard passer at Penn State, and a second-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals, is cherishing his first opportunity as a head coach.

A longtime assistant coach, Sacca took over a Burlington City team that went 1-9 in 2011 and will be rebuilding under the new head coach.

"I love it," said Sacca, 42. "I was an assistant for a long time, and I just love high school football. I wanted to get this opportunity. This is the perfect place for me."

Two of Sacca's players said the coach has made a major impact on the program.

"He's been there," Burlington City senior wide receiver/defensive back Vinny Vasapolli said. "Guys really respect him because of that."

Burlington City senior linebacker Lucas Wells agreed.

"He knows the game," Wells said. "He's been through it all."

After playing two years in the NFL, Sacca was an assistant coach at Delran for three seasons, then spent three years as an assistant coach at La Salle University. He also has been an assistant coach at Pennsauken and Willingboro.

"I really thought at first I wanted to get into college coaching," Sacca said. "But I just fell in love with coaching high school football."

Sacca said he wants to develop a team that limits its mistakes while playing smart, physical football.

"So often in high school football, the team that loses is the team that beats itself," Sacca said. "You have to try to limit the penalties, the turnovers, the mistakes."

Sacca takes over a program that has struggled recently. The Blue Devils are 12-38 in the last five seasons, with a combined 4-16 mark in 2010 and 2011.

"It sounds like a cliche when you say, 'We've got to change the culture,' " Sacca said. "But that's what we're trying to do. We want to get the kids all moving in a positive direction."


Contact Phil Anastasia

at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @PhilAnastasia. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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