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Sunday Sports: College & high school football teams excited to get back on the turf

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 11:06 PM EDT
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - Saturday night, the St. Lawrence Football Team held it’s annual Red-White Intra-squad Scrimmage under the lights at Leckonby Stadium. It’s the first time players have seen live action in a game type situation since November 2019.

St. Lawrence is hoping for some big things this season, with a roster that returns a number of veterans and talented underclassmen.

For the first time since the spring of 2020, the St. Lawrence Football Team hit the practice field last week in preparation for the upcoming 2021 season.

The feeling of getting back on the field after over a year away due to COVID-19 was one that Saints Coach Dan Puckhaber says was overwhelming for both him and his players.

”To not have it for a year and then to come back to it, it was really nice just because this is- I work 365 days a year for these 10 Saturdays and for these 3 and a half months of football. There was a big smile on my face from the start of camp ‘til now. I’m pretty excited to be back doing what I love to do,” said Puckhaber.

The Saints are coming off a 2019 season that saw them post a 5-5 overall record, 3-3 in Liberty League play, and expectations are high with a number of key players returning including quarterback Tyler Grochot, who set 4 single season records and 1 single game record leading the Saints offense.

”Expectations for the team, you know, they’re high. We’re always working. We kept in close contact with a lot of the guys on the team as we were away this season. We’ve just been talking about being able to get back and get playing. So I would definitely say expectations are high. Our one goal was obviously to win a conference championship and that’s kind of the expectation that’s been set for this season for sure,” said Grochot.

”We got a lot of good guys back. We got a lot of good guys that came in over the last year and we got a lot of good freshman. We’re all working really hard and it should be a good year,” said Defensive Lineman Caleb Null.

As for those freshman and sophomores that haven’t been through a fall camp with the Saints, Puckhaber says they are making the most of their 1st week in pads in college and expects a few of those players to be contributors this season.

”They’re doing their best to just try to keep their head above water and not look foolish out there and they’re doing a good job of that. A couple of them, a lot of the sophomores, just because we were able to do a lot with them last year, not in pads- have shown some things that we’re probably gonna rely on a couple of those sophomores come Endicott,” said Puckhaber.

The Saints open their season on Saturday, September 4th with a non-conference contest at Endicott College.

Staying on the gridiron, the 2021 fall high school sports season kicks off Monday with practices getting underway in all sports including football.

It’s a short turnaround for area football teams, who played a condensed schedule in the spring.

Sportscaster Rob Krone had a chance to catch up with a couple of area coaches to get their thoughts on getting back to a normal routine and have a chance to play for Sectional and State championships, something they couldn’t do last season due to COVID.

”Yeah, I told everybody back in July if they wanted to start practice then I would have jumped on it because we’ve been missing it for awhile. We had a spring season that got us out there and got to coach a little bit, but it wasn’t like the regular fall season. So yeah, we’re pretty excited to get going,” said Lowville Coach Josh Coffman.

”You know, it’s nice to be getting back to some sort of normal. Being able to have double sessions, being able to start in August like we use to do. It’s funny saying like ‘We use to’ when it’s only a couple years ago, but it’s gonna feel real good to get the kids back out there and have some double sessions,” said Carthage Coach Jason Coffman.

Saturday night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown, some of the best athletes to ever don a uniform at Carthage High School gathered for the Carthage Varsity Club 1st Annual Reunion.

It was a chance to tell stories and do some catching up, keeping the tradition and history of Carthage athletics alive.

While it was a fun time, the reunion also had a purpose to help the local community as well.

”Well, you know, with what’s going on with COVID and the pandemic, we had an idea to do this. But in order to do this, we wanted to also help the area. We came up with donating some food to the local food pantry and hopefully we’re gonna give them a check for up close to a thousand dollars after tonight,” said Carthage Varsity Club Spokesman Tom Miller.

Sunday Sports Scores

Empire Football League

  • Watertown 9, Glens Falls 0

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