The continued growth of the no-huddle, spread offense could trigger another uptick in the passing game in South Jersey football next season.
It looks like 2015 could be the Year of the Quarterback.
Eight of the 12 most prolific area passers in 2014 are scheduled to return next season, and all eight of them are likely to operate in the no-huddle, spread offense.
Among those will be Palmyra junior Max Smyth, who led South Jersey with 32 touchdown passes this past season and was second in yardage with 2,272 on 130 completions in 237 attempts.
Smyth's top target, junior wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, will be back. He caught 54 passes for 829 yards and led South Jersey with 16 touchdown receptions - at least one in every game.
Paulsboro junior quarterback Carlton Aiken, who attempted a school-record 53 passes in a 36-33 overtime victory over West Deptford on Nov. 28, is another player who will look to build on the success of his first full varsity season in the no-huddle spread.
Aiken was 143-for-245 passing for 1,940 yards and 18 touchdowns. Junior wideout John Pellegrini, who caught 34 passes for 588 yards, also is projected to return.
Pennsville junior Matt Widmaier didn't become a full-time starter until a few weeks into the season and still finished with 1,881 passing yards. He will be back, along with junior wide receiver Jeremy Boucher, who caught 45 passes for 680 yards in the Eagles' hurry-up attack.
Camden Catholic junior quarterback Tyree Rodgers blossomed this season, the Irish's first under new coach Nick Strom, a major proponent of the no-huddle attack. Rodgers passed for 1,856 yards and 20 touchdowns in the team's rapid-fire offense.
Cedar Creek sophomore Jesse Milza passed for 1,701 yards and 19 touchdowns. His top target, junior wide receiver Ahmir Mitchell, will be back after catching 47 passes for 881 yard and 12 touchdowns.
Shawnee's ground game was a key to its second straight South Jersey Group 4 title. But the Renegades will return one of South Jersey's top all-around quarterbacks in junior Mike Welsh, who passed for 1,633 yards this season, with junior wideout Anthony Mague catching 41 passes for 733 yards.
Atlantic City junior quarterback Jamir Prevard passed for 1,630 yards this season, while Paul VI junior quarterback Matt Vitale passed for 1,570 yards and was among South Jersey's leaders with 21 touchdown tosses.