Cyclones hope for a turn-around season

Cyclones hope for a turn-around season
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 7:57 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - This season, there will be only one local team competing in Section III Class A football: the Watertown Cyclones.

It’s a team with a new coach and a new outlook for the 2023 season.

The 2022 season was a tough one for the Cyclones.

The team struggled, posting a 2-7 overall record and 0-7 in Class A play.

But 2023 brings some changes for the Cyclones, with Vince Williams taking over as head coach, replacing Kyle Lalonde.

Williams is optimistic about what lies ahead for his team this season.

“One thing we have here, we have a ton of athletes,” he said. “We’re fortunate enough here at Watertown. Last week I met two kids that I haven’t seen since I got appointed as head football coach. They showed up last Wednesday to 7-on-7 and they impressed me right away with their speed, athletic ability. Our athleticism and our skills are one of our strengths this year.”

The offense will once again be in the hands of junior quarterback John Flowers, who threw for 744 yards and 3 touchdowns last season and ran for 2 scores.

Flowers says he expects improvement from the team with some underclassmen from last season having a year of varsity experience under their belts.

“I think we should have a better season than last year,” Flowers said. “We had a lot of 10th and 11th graders last year that were young and still learning. This year we’re older, more mature and we know more things.”

The one thing that has the players excited and their expectations high is the number of skilled players the Cyclones return and are adding to their roster.

“I think we have a lot of skilled base players,” senior lineman Trent Smith said. “If we let them get into space and let them run, we’ll do pretty good.”

“I think we have a very offensive skilled-based team,” junior wide receiver and linebacker Marqel Jefferson said. “I haven’t seen way too much defense, really. We haven’t been playing that much 7-on-7 or practices. It’s a new change.”

For the Cyclones to flip the script in 2023 and contend for a Section III Class A title, Williams says a couple of things have to happen.

“Number one, we’ve got to increase our football IQ,” the coach said. “I know we got to teach them the game of how it’s supposed to be played according to our system on how we’re doing stuff. It’s going to take discipline and one of the biggest issues is weight room. We got to make weight room a priority.”

The first test for the Cyclones comes on September 8 when they open their season at West Genesee.