Saturday Sports: Watertown Red & Black prep for football season

Published: Jul. 3, 2021 at 10:19 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The classroom was open at the Watertown Red and Black practice on Thursday night at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, with the team a little over a month away from their 2021 Empire Football League season opener at home against Syracuse on August 7th.

With a mix of veterans and new players on the team, it’s becoming even more important everyone is on the same page.

”The veterans that we do have that have come back this year are really working with these new guys, so they’ll understand, you know, how to get your feet wet with what we do at this level at our games. A lot of these young men that are military that played elsewhere on the military bases and what not that adds that much strength to you,” said George Ashcraft, the Red and Black Head Coach.

Those veteran players that were once rookies or newcomers to the team themselves say they embrace the role of helping the next generation of Red and Black stars.

”'Cause I came here. When I first started here, you know, I didn’t expect to be here that long. I didn’t expect to be like a leader or a captain or anything like that. In football I don’t look at it like that. I just play the game I love and if they see me as a captain then I’m gonna take a run with it,” said wide receiver Chris Furr.

”Still the clown of the team, I guess you could say, still messing around a lot but trying to lead the younger guys in the right direction, make people push themselves a little harder and really buy into the program,” said linebacker Ky Sawyer.

Even though most of these players haven’t seen live action on the field since 2019 and the Empire Football season is starting a month late, Ashcraft says the players and coaches are excited to be back on the field taking part in the game they love.

”Yeah, we’re ready. Usually by now we’re getting ready for next weeks first game of the year. It is a month difference and it’s kind of really weird not to have played last year, but you know, memory comes back and you realize what you gotta do and it’s starting to happen now. I think we’re gonna be just fine. I’m looking forward to it. I hope that the fans show up for that August 7th game against Syracuse and we put on a great show,” said Ashcraft.

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