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New coach, new team

Varsity football Lakers eager for new season

New varsity football head coach Joe Sindoni leads team practice last Thursday, Aug. 23, at the high school football field.

New varsity football head coach Joe Sindoni leads team practice last Thursday, Aug. 23, at the high school football field. Scott Schild

— When the latest incarnation of the Skaneateles football team gathered on Aug. 13 for three weeks of practices leading up to Friday night’s Aug. 31 opener against Bishop Ludden, much was on the agenda for first-year head coach Joe Sindoni.

An assistant to Joe Casamento during CBA’s championship run in the early 2000s, Sindoni faced the task of replacing 17 players from last year’s squad, doing so by introducing many new faces up from a JV team that was 7-1 last fall.

What was not on the agenda, said Sindoni, was any mention of the controversial ending to the 2011 season.

Undefeated at 9-0, and poised to play in the Carrier Dome in its first sectional final in 19 years, Skaneateles instead was ousted from the playoffs by Section III due to allegations of recruiting players, which led to, among other things, the resignation of head coach Tim Green.

“It’s not something we talk about,” said Sindoni. “It doesn’t even need to be discussed. Without saying it, there’s a chip on their shoulders. But we are not focused on what happened [last year]. It would distract us from executing what we need to do this year.”

And while that task is a big one, it is done with lots of returning faces on the offensive side of the ball, none more important than senior quarterback Conor Herr.

Essentially, Herr split time with Troy Green under center over the last two years, starting most of the 2010 season after Green was injured, and stepping in again during last October’s first-round playoff game against Watertown IHC, leading a game-winning drive even after a low block from an IHC player led to an ACL tear in his knee.

That knee has fully healed now, and Herr, who has bulked up to 217 pounds, is, in Sindoni’s words, “a quarterback trapped in a linebacker’s body.” Herr’s experience in the CBA-based spread offense, run by coordinator Tim Brown, is a valuable asset the Lakers will be glad to draw on.

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