Camden's Sean Chandler stepping up as leader

Sean Chandler, a two-way star who is headed to Temple, has vowed to improve his production on the field this season. CLEM MURRAY / Staff
Sean Chandler, a two-way star who is headed to Temple, has vowed to improve his production on the field this season. CLEM MURRAY / Staff
Posted: September 11, 2013

There were a pair of catches on tipped passes, one in the end zone.

There was a twisting, turning reception and long run into the clear to complete a 92-yard scoring play.

There was a leaping interception.

But to Camden coach Dwayne Savage, perhaps the best thing about Sean Chandler's performance during a recent scrimmage against Paul VI was what happened off the field.

"He's always talking up the younger kids," Savage said of his two-way star senior, who spent the second half of the scrimmage standing on the sideline and encouraging Camden's second- and third-team units.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Chandler is a Temple recruit and one of South Jersey's most talented and versatile players.

He scored touchdowns as a receiver, kick returner and interception returner in 2012, as Camden went 5-5 in Savage's first season.

As a senior, Chandler said he's determined to improve his production on the field and also to play more of a leadership role.

"I know as a senior, I have to step up," Chandler said. "The younger guys are looking at me. Even the juniors and sophomores, they are looking for me to set the example.

"They know I'm headed to Temple and they look up to me because of that. As a senior, you have more responsibility."

Savage said Chandler and senior lineman Andrew Stevens, who also is a standout wrestler, orchestrated workouts for several members of the team during the summer and on off days since the beginning of official practices.

Savage said Stevens has led many of the team's linemen through runs at Cooper River Park, while Chandler has organized workouts for the backs and receivers at a youth-football field in the city's Centerville section.

"We want these guys to be proud of this team, proud of the colors they are wearing," the 6-3, 270-pound Stevens said. "It's a brotherhood."

Chandler believes the Panthers can build on the momentum created at the end of last season, when they won four of their last five games. Camden won its last three games, scoring 122 points.

Camden opens the season Friday in a key West Jersey Football League Royal Division game against defending division and South Jersey Group 3 champion Delsea.

The opener originally was scheduled as a Camden home game, but the installation of new artificial turf at Farnham Park will not be completed in time for the Panthers to host the event.

Camden's first home game is Oct. 11 against Cumberland. The Panthers also are scheduled to host Kingsway on Nov. 1.

As of now, the team has just two home games this season, although there's a chance the Thanksgiving battle with cross-town rival Woodrow Wilson will be switched to Farnham Park to showcase the new field.

"It's great for the program, great for the city," Chandler said of the new field.

The speedy, shifty Chandler should flourish on the slick field. He generated 585 receiving yards last season with five touchowns and also scored on a kickoff return, interception return and two punt returns.

Through three scrimmages this season, Chandler had four receiving touchdowns. He scored twice on one half of action against Paul VI.

"He is very impressive," Paul VI coach John Doherty said. "Great ball skills."

Chandler was a vocal presence during the second half of the scrimmage, yelling instructions to Camden's younger players.

"I've always been that way, even when I was younger," said Chandler, who projects as a defensive back at Temple. "When you're a senior you know it's your last year and you want to help establish something for the future. We're looking to create something special with Camden football."


Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.inquirer.com/

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