By Glenn Brown
As Ryan Klein walked on to the field that day of the Varsity Championship Game, he saw more than just 12-year-old playing for a youth football championship. He saw greater things and better pastures for each of the kids suiting up for the Ventnor Pirates. As each team warmed up he started to rattle off something different than the names on the back of each youth’s jersey. “St. Joes (St. Joseph’s High School in Hammonton, NJ), Prep (St. Augustine Prep in Richland, NJ), and Spirit (Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, NJ)”. These are three of the top catholic high schools in South Jersey. The Ventnor Pirates Youth Football Program located in Ventnor City, New Jersey has sent many of their youth football players to these three high schools in Atlantic County. I played numerous years for this program and was fortunate enough to be granted admission to one of these schools. A bunch of my teammates that I have played with throughout our years also attended these high schools and we continued the dominance at these programs. Even though we all split up between the three schools, we’ve always continued to keep in contact throughout high school as we all had to compete against each other while in high school. While attending these high schools between 2008-2012, me and my teammates won numerous individual awards in football, received scholarships for football, and some of us even one state titles. Without the growth and guidance of our coaches and community in Ventnor, none of would’ve achieved the success that we’ve had. One of those teammates who starred while playing for the Ventnor Pirates is former Rowan Profs football player Evan Stevens. After speaking with Evan over the phone, I was left intrigued about his grace that he showed for the Ventnor program. “The coaches in Ventnor instilled the discipline and winning mentality that I still carry with myself today as a man. Who knew that a bunch of kids from a surf town like Ventnor would take over the South Jersey football landscape as one collective group.