Paulsboro and rival Woodbury loom as favorites in both the Colonial Patriot and South Jersey Group 1.
Woodbury will be led by senior quarterback/defensive back Anthony Averett, an Alabama recruit. The Thundering Herd have top linemen in Lawrenzo Clarke and Max Belko and a top wide receiver in Cameron Gamble.
Audubon could be a dark horse in the division with junior Kahleil Chisolm, who ran for 1,000 yards last season. The Green Wave also will feature senior back Adin Borden and sturdy senior linemen Sean Hansen and Adam Cox.
Haddon Township will be led by senior linebacker Connor Wade, who made 120 tackles last season. The Hawks have a top two-way senior lineman, Corson Harter, and talented juniors in wide receiver/defensive back Nick Marino and running back/defensive back Casey Boyle.
Two-way lineman Ed Michaelchuck leads Gateway, and running back Jamal Clark should spark Lindenwold.
Paulsboro will face a challenging schedule, playing Colonial Liberty teams West Deptford, Haddonfield, Sterling, and Haddon Heights, and hosting rival Woodbury in Week 4.
"That's such a big rivalry," Davenport said of Woodbury. "The towns are rivals."
The 6-8, 230-pound Davenport, who has five scholarship offers, will team with seniors Pop Little and Tim Barnaby to form the foundation of the front line. Quarterback Zack Funk, running back Dimere Turner, and tight ends Yusef Stafford and Tre Tarpley also are veterans.
The Red Raiders should be strong in special teams, with a top punter/kicker in Mike Maccarone.
"This is a good group," said Howard, who enters the season with 232 career victories. "They want to do better than we have in recent years."
Contact Phil Anastasia
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