Cyclones prepare for return to Section III gridiron action

Cyclones prepare for return to Section III gridiron action
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 8:17 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Watertown Cyclones football team opens its 2022 season next Friday night.

The Watertown Cyclones are back in Section III after playing in the Northern Athletic Conference the past couple of seasons.

Coach Kyle LaLonde’s team is coming off a 2021 season that saw them win the Section X Class A championship. But this season, the Cyclones are back in familiar surroundings, playing in Section III Class A.

For Watertown, it will be a whole new look on the offensive side of the ball and LaLonde feels the defense will have to step it up while the offense finds its identity early in the season.

“Well, we lost a lot of good players from our senior class last year so we’re really offensively kind of starting over, really, kind of looking to see who’s going to step up and who’s going to really take a hold of our offense,” he said. “Defensively, we’ve got some kids coming back that really have played a lot of snaps the past couple years, so we got a good foundation, especially on our defensive line. I’m excited about all three phases but you see a little more experience coming back defensively than offensively right now.”

One word the players are using is chemistry. With a number of new faces on both sides of the ball the veteran players feel team chemistry will be important and determine how much success the Cyclones have this season.

“We have some underclassmen moving up,” senior Tristin Clifford said. “They’re showing a lot of promise. I love them. Doing a lot of good things for the team and our team is helping them get to the varsity level.”

“I think for the most part it’s chemistry because there are a lot of new guys on here we haven’t played with yet” Jarden Collins said. “So, I just think getting our team chemistry down and being one simple unit will get us through our season this year.”

The season kicks off on Friday, September 2, when the Cyclones travel up the road to Carthage to face the Comets in a Class A contest. It’s an old rivalry renewed and a game the players have been looking forward to since it was announced Watertown was returning to Section III.

“Yeah, we definitely need to be out here a day earlier just to get a head start on competition,” Sixto Quiles said. “They’re a really good team. We’ve had a lot of good games against them in the past. A lot of them we might have lost, might have, so we’re going to make sure that we come out here and put on a show for everybody.”

“With having one less week of practice to play a game, it just really speeds things up a little bit,” LaLonde said. “You really have to start kind of implementing special teams a lot quicker than what you might normally do, so it’s just a little different as far as planning out your practices, but the kids will be ready to go.”