Saturday Sports: South Lewis prepares for another year of 8-Man Football

Published: Aug. 27, 2022 at 11:16 PM EDT
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TURIN, New York (WWNY) - We continue our preview of high school football teams getting ready for the upcoming football season by taking a look at the South Lewis Falcons, one of two area teams competing in 8-Man Football this season.

Coach Mike Absolom’s Falcons will be looking to take the next step in 2022 after falling 1 game short of an appearance in the championship game at the Dome last season.

In 2021, the Falcons finished with a 4-5 overall record, 2-1 in the 8-Man West Division.

South Lewis made it to the Section 3 8-Man Semifinals where they lost to Morrisville Eaton.

This season, Absolom feels his team has all the right ingredients to have a shot at making it to the Dome.

”We lost some key players from the last year, in the past, so guys are stepping up. We’ve got some good players. Clayton Kraeger is gonna be at quarterback, he’s an athlete, he’s been with me for a few years now. The line is a bunch of seniors so that’s gonna be good. We’ve got some big lineman this year. It’s gonna be okay. I think we’re gonna be fast. I think everything is gonna work pretty good. Defensively, narrow field, it changes things up a little bit, so we gotta just kind of play with that, see what’s gonna be best for our team and our athletes that we have,” said Absolom.

The Falcons ended last season on a roll, winning 3 of their last 4 games. And the players say they feel there will be a number of keys in order to carry that momentum into this season.

”Just being unified and coming in every day and having good chemistry in the locker room and just working hard,” said Bruce Weiler.

”I think staying healthy is definitely the biggest thing this year. We’ve always got injuries and on the line, especially. That’s where we really need healthy guys on the line,” said Clayton Kraeger.

”Getting along well and working as a team and staying positive,” said Aidan Highers.

With their first 2 games at home and their final 3 games of the season on the road, with trips to Morrisville Eaton, West Canada Valley and Bishop Grimes, Absolom knows this year’s schedule is going to be a challenging one for his team.

”Every year the teams seem to be getting harder and harder. There’s no easy teams. Everybody has great competition. We look forward to it, 8-Man is a great sport, a great season for us, great teams that we play against. Competition brings out the best in us and we hope to bring out the best in who we’re playing and the best team will win,” said Absolom.

The Falcons open their season on Friday, September 9th as they host Cooperstown for a 6:30 PM kickoff in Turin.

Turning to hockey, the NCAA is proposing some big changes for the transfer process for both men’s and women’s hockey players.

Under the proposal, players could transfer more than once without penalty, which means the players could play immediately without sitting out a year.

Also, the transfer entry window would open the day after NCAA tournament seedings are announced and stay open for 60 days.

The biggest change would be schools taking in transfers that had financial aid at the school they are leaving would have to take on that financial aid package, which in some cases, could be significantly more than what they offer, cutting into their total financial aid allotment.

Both St. Lawrence Men’s Coach Brent Brekke and Clarkson Men’s Coach Casey Jones say that could make taking on transfers a little more difficult.

”Yeah, it alters a lot of things. I mean, you have to obviously have that money available within your scholarship allotment in your budget. So, it’s like budgeting anything else. You have to have it available to be able to make it work. But it does kind of change things. You may have plans for maybe a young player to come in that has other eligibility to go back and play junior. That might be a situation where you say ‘hey, we like you to play another year because we have a transfer student coming in so that money stays available.’ There are different ways to look at it and how you approach it. It’s not an easy thing to manage, that’s for sure, because it’s an ever changing puzzle piece,” said Brekke.

”That’s the interpretation. It will be interesting how it unfolds here because it’s gonna make it harder maybe for players that are on a significant financial package to jump in that portal. I just think it’s everything status and you can do it unlimited times. I just think it’s something we’re all gonna have to adapt to as we go here,” said Jones.

The Watertown Wolves will be back on the ice in October with a new head coach after the team announced on Wednesday that Coach Brent Clarke was stepping down as head coach and GM to take the head coaching job with Knoxville of the SPHL.

Justin Coachman was named interim coach.

Newly retired as a player after helping the Wolves win the FPHL championship this past season, Coachman says even though there’s a change behind the bench, the Wolves don’t plan on missing a beat and will be looking to repeat as champs this season.

”I mean, there’s always gonna be a little bit of pressure being the defending champs no matter who’s coaching. Coming off of a winning season, there’s always gonna be pressure to kind of repeat. We’re gonna go out there, work hard, try to get as many wins as we can like last year, and of course, the main goal is championship every year,” said Coachman.