Sports: SLU Saints look to rebound

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 7:05 AM EDT
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - College football is getting started in St. Lawrence County.

The 2023 St. Lawrence Saints football team reports to campus and begins practice this week.

The Saints are looking to get back to their winning ways this season, after a 2022 season that saw its share of ups and downs.

The Saints posted a 4-6 overall record, 2-4 in Liberty League play.

St. Lawrence coach Dan Puckhaber says the record was a product of one of the toughest schedules in Division 3 in 2022.

”So we had a schedule that - I haven’t looked at it. but I’m pretty sure we were ranked in the top 10 out of 250 football playing schools in strength of schedule. I didn’t schedule too many layups,” Puckhaber said.

“I was really proud of the guys going into that last week being 3 and 6, last home game of the year, senior day to really take care of Buff State the way they knew they could but also gain some momentum to go into the off season.”

The Saints offense will be led by junior dual threat quarterback Dan Lawther, who as a sophomore started all 10 games, throwing for 1,472 yards and 11 touchdowns and running for 449 yards and four touchdowns.

”I think he’s really good. He’s very athletic. As a sophomore last year did some really great things. Any time you have a quarterback as talented as I think Danny is it really gives you an opportunity to kind of play above your weight class a little bit,” Puckhaber said.

On the defensive side of the football, the Saints return a number of players from a defense that gave up an average of 22 points a contest, but finished strong, recording five sacks against Buffalo State, holding the Bengals to 194 yards of total offense.

”A lot of guys returning. Linebacker Ben Munn, one of our captains. Got some All-League recognition, really is growing into becoming a linebacker and I’m excited to see what he can do in our new scheme. Dan George is at safety, who’s just a really good football player, who can tackle, cover, he can do everything you want,” Puckhaber said.

On special teams, the Saints return sophomore kicker Clayton Fogler, who connected on five of six field goals attempts last year, including a career best 48 yard field goal in a win over Buffalo State.

It’s a weapon Puckhaber feels could be a difference maker in close games this season.

”I think he can kind of win some of those coin flip games that you have throughout the course of the year that turns a four win or a five win team into a six or a seven win team. I’m really looking forward to that because now I think our field goal and our kickoff unit can become a weapon for us.”

The Saints open their 2023 season on the road Saturday September 2, traveling to Beverly, Massachusetts to face Endicott College in a non-league contest with kickoff set for high noon.