One of the reasons Delsea's football team is on the verge of making history is the incredible stability the program has enjoyed since beginning in 1960.

Delsea (10-1) is seeking its fourth straight South Jersey Group 3 title when the Crusaders meet Camden (9-2) in Saturday's 2:30 p.m. sectional final at Rowan.

Since the advent of NJSIAA playoffs in 1974, no South Jersey public school team from a Group 2 school or higher has ever won four straight sectional titles.

"It is time to make history," said quarterback Quinn Collins, who has rushed for 884 yards (7.4 avg.) and 16 touchdowns.

Of course Delsea understands that Camden won't be feeling so nostalgic about the history books. The Panthers gave Delsea all it could handle in Week 2, before losing 25-19.

"That is a tremendously talented Camden team," Delsea coach Sal Marchese Jr. said.

It's funny, but Delsea which has won 12 sectional titles, is rarely billed as tremendously talented. The adjectives are usually hard-working, overachieving and relentless.

Even Marchese admits that for all its winning, Delsea isn't a school that routinely produces Division I talent.

"What we get is kids willing to make the sacrifice, great community support and a coaching staff that I feel that compares with any in the state," Marchese said.

The stability, however, can't be underestimated.

Delsea first began fielding a varsity team in 1960 under John Oberg. When he retired as a coach following the 1992 season, Oberg was the winningest coach in South Jersey history with a 230-67-15 record.

Marchese, who won sectional titles as a quarterback/linebacker for Delsea in 1982 and 1984, has picked up where Oberg left off.

Since taking over in 1993, Marchese is 183-61-1 and has guided the Crusaders to seven sectional titles.

Think about that. Two coaches in a program since 1960.

One is already a coaching legend and the other is well on his way.

Delsea is still running the Delaware Wing-T that Oberg utilized, although Marchese has also added some triple option features to the offense.

An opponent often has difficulty distinguishing who the ballcarrier is due to the offense's deception.

In Franklinville and the surrounding communities, high school football is still a big deal at this Gloucester County school. And nobody values the tradition more than Marchese.

His father was a longtime assistant coach under Oberg. The younger Marchese was hanging around the program for as long as he can remember.

"Being part of this means so much to me," Marchese said. "I grew up with it."

Senior two-way lineman Mark Chaney is a third-year starter who played varsity for Vineland his freshman year. He had an eye-opening experience when he joined the program.

"I found out right away that winning is expected here," Chaney said.

Delsea still wins the old-fashioned way, by pounding the ball and wearing down opponents. Collins has attempted just 26 passes this season.

"He would probably like to throw more," Marchese said.

Yet Delsea has enjoyed so much success over the years with its precision and execution, in the ground game and a ball-hawking defense. Why change now?

After going 7-1-1 his first season, the Crusaders went 5-4, 4-5 and 2-7 the next three under Marchese.

Yet by the fifth season, the momentum started and has yet to stop. Delsea has gone 19 straight seasons with a .500 or better record and the Crusaders annually play one of the more competitive schedules, especially for a school its enrollment size.

And now the Crusaders are one win away against a formidable opponent from making history. Delsea has a difficult task against Camden, but then again, facing the Crusaders with everything on the line is never easy, as 12 previous championship opponents can attest to.

@sjnard