Football Lakers break in new turf for '09

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.

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