BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Bengals varsity football team will be back in action next week as they take on the Columbia Cougars at home to open the 2017 season.

After a (7-3, 4-2 SEC) season in 2016, the Bengals will have to go through a bit of a transition after losing some talented seniors, including running backs Brandon Fernandes (20 TDs, 660 RY) and Ky Bowman (10 TDs, 627 RY).

“Last season was a good year,” Head Coach Mike Carter told TAPinto Bloomfield. “We had a very good group of seniors who played well, were very competitive in every single game and a bunch of those guys went on to play in college.”

Sign Up for E-News

Carter says that a team with a lot of younger, less experienced players definitely presents a challenge, but he is confident that they will all improve along the way.

“We’ve got some linemen that have a lot of experience, but we’ve also got a lot of other guys who don’t have much experience,” Carter said. “All they have to do is come together as a team and I think we’ll do fine.”

While the team has lost its two superstar running backs, Carter sees a lot of promise in this year’s group – Jeremy Witherspoon, Joe Orsita, and Mike and Jayden Williams.

Chris Lazard is expected to be one of the strongest players on the offensive line, along with his teammates Mike Abraham, Joe Pentz, Joan Medina and Xavier Gulley, while Dylan Courey, Joe Bumpus and Judah Bartley will work as tight ends.

Last year’s senior quarterback Ryan Mondo will be replaced by either Jordan Cruz or Kyle Tice.

Based on the summer practices and scrimmages, the coach says the boys have a fairly good work ethic so far, but there is definitely room for some improvement.

“Their work ethic has been pretty good, but to get to where we want to be, it has to get better,” he told TAPinto Bloomfield. “They have to be more consistent. I’d also like to get more physical. When we play physical we do well and we don’t, we don’t do too well.”

The Bengals and Cougars will meet at Foley Field on Friday, September 8. The Cougars finished their previous season (1-9, 1-5 SEC), which included a 42-6 season opener loss against the Bengals.

The boys will kick off at 7:00 p.m.