By Phil Anastasia

Pete Goetz said it was a tough choice.

But he's sure it was the correct choice.

Goetz on Thursday announced that he is stepping down after 12 seasons as Triton's football coach.

Goetz said he was determined to spend the next few years watching his two sons play football for Gateway.

"My one son will be in 9th grade next year and the other one will be right behind him the next year," Goetz said. "Freshman football, J.V. (junior varsity) football, someday if they are fortunate enough, playing under the Fright Night Lights as varsity players.

"I want to be able to sit back and enjoy watching them play. There's nothing more important that family."

Goetz's teams were 54-70 in 12 seasons at the school in Runnemede. The Mustangs were 5-5 last season, losing 25-18 to Hammonton in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 tournament and pushing rival Timber Creek to the brink in a 26-20 loss on Thanksgiving Day.

"I just loved coaching Triton kids," said Goetz, who will remain a teacher at Triton. "They give everything they've got. I was fortunate to coach a lot of great kids."

Goetz' 2006 team went 9-2 and beat Clearview by 29-0 in a South Jersey Group 3 playoff game. His 2008 team won a playoff game on the road against Brick Township, coached by the legendary Warren Wolf.

"I'll never forget that," Goetz said.

Triton in 2011 was 8-3 with all three losses to South Jersey champions.

"One thing about Triton, we never had an easy schedule," Goetz said. "We always competed. I was always proud because I would hear from other coaches about how hard our kids played."

Goetz said he was thankful of "great support" from the Triton administration and the community through the years.

"I'm staying Triton football's biggest fan," Goetz said.

-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com

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