"This is a great opportunity for us," said Rafter, a senior two-way lineman. "We have to show we can stand up to a power team."
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Rafter runs counter to the perception that Moorestown is something of a finesse team. He's a Temple recruit who plays with a hard edge.
"I told him when he committed to Temple that he was a Division I recruit, and he needed to start dominating people," Moorestown coach Russ Horton said. "He's taken that to heart. In our scrimmages and at times in the Seneca game, he was just throwing people around.
"A lot of times, the bigger kids aren't always aggressive. But he's very aggressive."
Rafter was a two-way starter in 2011 for a Moorestown team that finished 6-5 in a season of high expectations. He said the Quakers will be stronger in 2012, despite the loss of senior quarterback/defensive back/punter Drew Pederson, who will be out through the first half of the season, if not longer, with a broken ankle.
"People are counting us out because Drew went down," Rafter said. "But I think we're going to be an even better team than last year. I think we'll be a stronger team."
Delsea, the No. 6 team in The Inquirer Top 10, is the favorite in the WJFL Royal Division. The Crusaders are coming off a 45-21 win over Camden.
Moorestown is a member of the WJFL Constitution Division with No. 1 Camden Catholic and No. 3 Timber Creek.
Horton said Rafter could be one of the big keys to Friday night's game. He is a leader of a Moorestown defensive line that must contain Delsea's wing-T offense as well as a blocker who must help protect junior quarterback Tyreek Robinson and clear some running room for speedsters Anthony Bonett and Sidney Ruffin.
"He's playing very well," Horton said of Rafter. "We need him to continue to do that, especially against a team like Delsea."
Delsea (1-0) at Moorestown (1-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Key for Delsea: The Crusaders will look to control the football and the clock with their wing-T offense, led by quarterback Josh Awotunde and running back Tyrone Saud. Junior wide receiver Bryan Dobzanski is a big-play threat.
Key for Moorestown: The Quakers have to stand up to Delsea's physical approach on both sides of the football, protect quarterback Tyreek Robinson, and spring speedy seniors Anthony Bonett and Sidney Ruffin.
Outlook: Delsea is on a mission to bounce back from a disappointing 2011 season. The Crusaders, the No. 6 team in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, could be favored in every game the rest of the way if they get past the dangerous Quakers.
Pick: Delsea, 29-22.
- Phil Anastasia
Contact Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @PhilAnastasia. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports