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Eagles make their first-round pick at the NFL Draft. Josh Friedman/Staff photographer

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Those in South Jersey's football circles were left shocked on Monday. 

One of the area's most successful football programs in recent years lost its coach.

Mark Reardon resigned from the head spot at St. Augustine, the Richland-based preparatory school, announced in a Monday release.

Reardon's team went 9-1 last year; its lone loss came in the Non-Public Group 4 playoffs to North Jersey power Bergen Catholic. 

The Hermits didn't play a game closer than 19 points before that defeat in their nine wins. 

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"Coach Reardon guided the Hermits for five incredible seasons; we are grateful for his leadership, work ethic and dedication in raising the standard of our football program and helping transform the lives of countless scholar-athletes at St. Augustine," the statement read. "The school community is also appreciative of the role he has played as a valued member of our College Guidance Department since 2012. His St. Augustine Prep family wishes Coach Reardon luck in all of his personal and professional future endeavors. An extensive search to identify the next coach of the St. Augustine Prep Football Program will begin immediately."

In the past three years, Prep's only lost once in the region. Reardon's mark at the school stands at 42-9, the most successful tenure for a gridiron coach there. 

He fell just once to a public school, Cedar Creek, in 2013.

Dennis Scuderi Sr. ranks second on the Hermits' win list with a 37-20 mark from 2006 through 2010.

"I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to spend (five) tremendous years at St. Augustine," Reardon said via text message Monday afternoon. "I wish the school community the best.

"Hopefully we left it a little better than we found it. On to the next challenge life has to offer."

The Hermits closed out 2016 as the Courier-Post's No. 2-ranked club. They were No. 1 in 2015. 

It marks the second move for a coach out of Richland in the past week. Coordinator Charlie Roman also left, for Holy Spirit. 

Reardon helped build St. Augustine into a top-level program in the bottom-half of the state. 

The efforts never materialized in the playoffs. In five postseason contests against North Jersey squads, the Hermits were beaten by a combined total of 203 to 68. 

“There’s no doubt there’s a difference,” Reardon told the Courier-Post after the 57-33 November loss to Bergen Catholic in the first round of the bracket. “We had to be perfect, we couldn’t make a mistake. People in South Jersey don’t know what we’re really dealing with."

St. Augustine's athletic department could not be immediately reached for comment.

Mark Trible; (856) 486-2424; mtrible@gannettnj.com 

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