Friday Sports: Previewing Gouverneur Wildcats, SLU football

Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 11:06 PM EDT
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GOUVERNEUR, New York (WWNY) - We continue our preview of area high school football teams by heading up Route 11 to St. Lawrence County, where we check in with the Gouverneur Wildcats in search of another strong season in 2023.

Coach Sean Devlin’s Wildcats had a strong season in 2022, finishing with an 8-2 overall record, 1-0 in Class C play, losing to Warrensburg-Lake George in the State Class C Regionals.

The Wildcats return 19 players from last year’s roster and Devlin has most of his key players back looking to make another run this season.

”Filling spots is always hard and we lost a couple of keys on the offensive and defensive line. We got some running backs back, our 3-year starter in Holden Stowell is back, our fullback Gage Cornell is back, Vinnie Thomas at the running back spot is back. Owen Siebels, who’s anchored the line for a couple of years is back as well. So, we got good players in the key spots. Other guys will step up and fill in when needed,” said Devlin.

Scoring was not a problem for the Wildcats last season, and Devlin says fans will once again see not only a high powered offense, but a balanced offense.

”I think we’re pretty balanced. Again, we got a 3 year guy who can kind of throw the ball and that’s one of the reasons why we’re here. We got some veteran guys on the outside who can catch the ball, and I think we’re gonna be able to hopefully run the ball with some experience. Hopefully, a balanced attack is usually the way to go,” said Devlin.

The players say coming up 1 win shy of making it to the state semifinals was a driving force in the off season for them to train harder and take that next step this season.

”Yeah, we have a lot of returning guys so it should just be able to carry over nice and smoothly,” said Gunner Simmons.

”I think we have a lot of potential to put in hard work and dedicate all of our time to football,” said Holden Stowell.

”Probably over half the team goes to the gym and we’ve been doing our own practices over at the field,” said Vincent Thomas.

”We all know what we’re doing. We have, like, 22 seniors I believe and we all played last year so we all know what we’re doing,” said Gage Cornell.

In order to repeat as Section 10 Class C Champs and make a deep run in the state playoffs, Devlin says there are a couple of keys for his team.

”The key to any championship is to stay healthy, keep guys eligible and make big plays when you need to. We’re not worried about that. We’re worried about who’s eligible for the first day of practice and every day after that becomes the next step in the process,” said Devlin.

A process that has worked well for the Wildcats in the past and should serve them well in 2023.

Day 2 of practice for the St. Lawrence Saints football team wrapped up Friday.

The Saints reported for fall practice on Wednesday and got to work in preparation for the upcoming 2023 season.

Coach Dan Puckhaber told us he was happy with what he saw on the first day of practice and the players say they’re glad to be back on the field for another season of football.

”It’s great. It’s really good. A lot of returning guys all over the place on defense and offense. Starters, even 2-3 deep. All these guys are returning. Couple of new faces, but a lot of returners and it’s good to just be able to stack the chips that we made last year and just be able to build upon that as the start of camp comes,” said Daniel Lawther.

”It feels good to be back. First day, typical, everyone’s pumped for it. It was fun. We put in the new defense, so we had some struggles at the start but we’re getting there. We’re ready to work,” said Ben Munn.