Aug 29, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A new era in Skaneateles football was set to kick off Friday night when, on the school’s brand-new all-weather artificial turf field, the Lakers pay host to Vernon Verona Sherrill.
Or at least that was the plan.
With the field not quite ready for the opener. the Lakers will play the Red Devils Saturday at 1 p.m. at Marcellus, then hope to christen the turf on Sept. 11 against South Jefferson.
Whenever they do get to be home again,the Lakers in 2009 are looking to rise from what has been a long struggle in the fiercely competitive Class B West division. Either Solvay, or Westhill, or Marcellus, has found a way to keep Skaneateles in neutral, and the Lakers are tired of it.
“We can score points, but we need to improve our defense,” head coach John King said. “We also need to avoid turnovers and penalties, plus giving up the big plays. We have to be more consistent in what we do.”
What has been a constant for the Lakers the last two seasons is Tom Schoener under center. The senior begins his third year at quarterback, having broken the school’s single-season record for passing yardage in 2008. King said Schoener could be even better if he can make better reads, leading to more touchdowns instead of interceptions.
Schoener has a nice variety of targets, from returning tight end Kyle McQuiggan to a trio of receivers that includes wrestling star Jake Carvalho, Brandon Barron and James Smith.
However, the Lakers did move another receiver, Paul Hamilton, to tailback, though King said Hamilton will be used in a variety of ways on offense, lining up both in the backfield and in the slot. Meanwhile, Dylan VanHoltz takes over for the departed Phil Weiss at fullback, and Seth Weiss will see time at tailback, too.
On the offensive line, both returning starters, Cal Winkleman (240 pounds) and Scott Bruening (225 pounds), move from guard to tackle. Joe Copeland and promising sophomore Nathan Hughes work at guard, with Evan Melquist taking over at center.
Skaneateles typically runs a 4-3 defense. As a contrast to Winkleman and Bruening at the tackle spots, Seth Weiss brings lots of speed and aggressiveness to the end spot, providing an ideal bookend to McQuiggan, a returning starter.
In fact, speed is the emphasis throughout the defense, as evidenced by Hamilton and 190-pound Rory Callahan starting at outside linebacker, each of them flanking Melquist.
Even with all the time he spends at quarterback, Schoener still works on defense, too, splitting time with Smith at free safety next to Carvalho at strong safety. Barron and VanHoltz give the Lakers a solid pair of cornerbacks.
What helps everyone in the program is the prospect of practicing on a full-size, all-weather field after years of being confined to a smaller field down the hill that wore out quickly once October, and wet weather, rolled around.
Patiently, Skaneateles is improving its facilities to be on a par with the programs it regularly faces in the Class B West league. Now it’s just a matter of the team providing the results.