Saturday Sports: High School football is in full swing

Published: Aug. 19, 2023 at 7:33 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - For most teams the 2023-24 fall high school season officially kicks off on Monday but some teams got an early start to things Saturday.

At Watertown High School, Coach Vince Williams’ Cyclones took to the turf bright and early this morning, holding their first official practice.

The team, under their new head coach, easing into things before ramping up for their season opener against West Genesee on the road Friday, September 8th at 6 p.m.

Williams says he is excited to have his full team on the field for the first time.

“The first day is always an exciting day for us. Getting the kinks out, doing some stuff we haven’t done, trying to put everything together. For us kids, especially those younger kids, it’s trying to get them caught up as quickly as possible. For our varsity kids, we’ve been doing a lot of this stuff over the summer so it’s just another day of practice for us,” said Williams.

“It’s very exciting. We have a lot of skill drills, a lot of talent going around, a lot of people getting to know certain drills and know certain positions. Starting to get to work in the field for football,” said Marquell Jefferson, Watertown Junior LB/TE/WR.

“It’s been fun so far. Everyone has put in the work. We got the linemen over here doing their drills, running backs and wide receivers. Everyone is doing their own thing and learning things we didn’t do in 7 on 7 yet. Everyone’s just getting better,” said John Flowers, Watertown Junior Quarterback.

“You know, 7 on 7 was good. We didn’t have as many people as we have now. It’s good to have most of the team back. We finally get helmets on, get to get use to wearing the helmets, actually doing drills, working as a team and getting our strength as a team back,” said Johnathon Porco, Watertown Senior Wide Receiver.

Now some teams got a little earlier start than others.

At the stroke of midnight in Dexter this morning, the General brown Lions hit the field under the lights for their first official practice.

The Lions looking to repeat last year’s success which saw them make it all the way to the State class C Championship Game at the JMA Wireless Dome.

For most of the players, it’s a continuation of summer camp that the Lions held and something General Brown Coach Doug Black says has helped play a key role in the team having so much success the past several seasons.

” I think it’s huge. It was a big benefit for us last year. Pretty much I would say 90% of our Varsity kids were at our summer camp. It gives them a jump start conditioning and learning what we do and why we do what we do. I think it really sets the precedent with the work ethic and gets the kids focused on football. It kind of leads right into our season so I think it’s great to get them started and it’s great for chemistry,” said Black.

The Lowville Red Raiders football team has a rough 2022 campaign but will be looking to turn things turn things around in an always tough Section 3 Class C.

Coach Josh Coffman’s Red Raiders finished with a 2-6 overall record, 1-5 in class C-2 play last season, missing out on the postseason.

Coffman hopes to improve on that mark this season with a young squad that’s thin in numbers and has just 6 seniors on the roster.

“We’ve had a little spell here of not having huge numbers. We’ve been able to maintain JV football which is big for us at the Class C level. We have 24 Freshman signed up so that’s a big class coming through. That kind of helps us with lower numbers right now,” said Coffman.

What Coffman lacks in quantity he makes up for in quality with Senior quarterback Logan Watson returning to lead the offense.

Last season, Watson threw for 1,318 yards and 14 touchdowns and feels he’s ready to take his game to the next level this season.

“You know, we’re a really young team but we’ve got a lot of guys that want to be here and compete every day. I think we’ll be fine this year. I’m excited,” said Watson.

Also returning on the offensive side of the football is Senior running back Sean Kelly, who led the Red Raiders in rushing with 470 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Kelly feels that some of the underclassmen on the Lowville roster are ready to fill some holes on both sides of the ball and be key contributors this season.

“From this team, I see a lot of returning talent. We have one of the best quarterbacks in Section 3 and a lot of rising sophomores to be juniors that are going to be really impactful on this team, offense and defense. We’re going to be able to pass the ball well and have a good defense,” said Kelly.

Coffman says in order for the team to have success this season and make it back to the post season, a key ingredient will be how well the Red Raiders control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

” I think play up front. As always, that’s kind of where everything starts and ends, offensive and defensive line. We’ve got a few guys returning, a few new faces, some guys have put in some time in the weight room, they’re getting out on the turf and putting in the time there. Hopefully, as the season goes on, they can continue to develop and improve,” said Coffman.

The Red Raiders open their 2023 season on the road at Skaneateles on September 8th.