The Massena Central varsity football teams opens at home against Franklin Academy while Potsdam Central and St. Lawrence Central make their debuts on the road as the 2013 NAC season kicks-off this weekend.
MASSENA HOSTS FA
Tonight at Mike Nicholas Field, the Raiders get set to welcome the two-time defending Section 10 champion Huskies starting at 7:30 p.m. Guided by Anthony Diagostino, Massena is looking to build a contender for regular season honors from a team that features and even mix of players from last years varsity squad which closed on a three-game win streak to finish at 5-4 along with a wealth of leading contributors from an undefeated junior varsity team.
Key offensive returnees include seniors Josh Belile and Rory Corcoran, who are battling for the starting job at quarterback, and a capable stable of running backs that includes seniors JP Reagan, Connor Paquin and Jeremy Malone, along with junior Josh Manley.
Reagan and Paquin emerged as two of the top rushers for Massena last fall and are expected to play lead roles this season while Manley and first-year junior Isaiah Dillabough will also get their share of carries out of the backfield.
Senior Xavier Viskovich returns to lead a receiving corps that also includes classmates Billy Orlando and Kyle Nicholson, along with first-year seniors Robert Cunningham and Willie Stewart, who competed at the JV level earlier in their high school careers but opted not to play last fall.
Third-year senior Josh Blair is expected to anchor the line hopes along with classmates Sam Gerber, Ross Davis and Cody Hooper, who is slated to start at center.
Other veterans on the Massena roster include seniors Andrew Harvey (SE), Asa Kerschner (RB ), Alex Romeo (SE/DE) and Noah Serabian (SE/CB). Newcomers looking to make an impact include senior Dakota Bernard (OL/DL) along with juniors Jacob Arquette-Laffin (OL/DL), Cordell Benedict (OL/DL), Reed Chapman (OL/LB), Bailey Furnace (LO/DL), Sean Green (LO/DL), Cody Jones (OL/DL), Jayce Lanning (RB/CB), Brody LeCuyer (OL/DL), Billy MacCuaig (OL/DL), Thler Mott (SE/OLB), Zachary Plourde (RB/LB), Nate Premo (OL/LB), Young Joe Rourke (OL/DL), Matt Thibault (RB/OLB) and Tim VanTassell (TE/DE).
As the lone Class A program in the NAC, the Raiders will not be participating in a Section 10 tournament this fall and have an automatic bid to the state tournament.
FA lost its starting quarterback, all of its starting receivers, and some running backs and offensive linemen. All of the graduation losses greatly affected the defensive side of the ball, as well, including three-quarters of the linebacking unit and most of the starting defensive backfield.
The Huskies have a pair of players looking to step in to fill the huge void left by Mitch Gallaghers graduation: senior Jake Henning and sophomore Camron Gallagher, Mitchells younger brother.
The Huskies, despite their losses, do have a solid core of returning players to both the line and to the backfield.
POTSDAM AT GOUVERNEUR
Guided by Jim Kirka, the Sandstoners begin their NAC title defense at Gouverneur on Saturday. In posting an undefeated regular season at 7-0, Potsdam earned the sectional bid to the state Class A playoffs but due to changes in the classification method, they will be eligible to compete in the Class C playoffs this fall along with SLC, OFA and Canton.
The Sandstoners return several starters on both sides of the ball and are led by an outstanding group of seniors. Though 6-8 receiver Shawn Clark has opted for prep school, the Potsdam senior class will include veteran quarterback Will Coleman, speedy halfback Oden Robertson, a pair of proven fullbacks in Ryan McFadden and Andrew Ace, receiver Jacob Bryant and two-way linemen Matt Cincinnati (3rd-year starter), Dylan Greer and Matt Liscum. Also looking to step up this year are Josh Locey and Norwood-Norfolk student Travis Hall.
Underclassmen to watch include tight end Max Warden, along with linemen Zach Rottier and Shane Reome.
The lone seniors on a rebuilding Gouverneur squad this season are Cody Ashley (TE, DE), Kevin Burns (OL, DL), Dustin Hutton (OL, DL), Brandon Ramos (WR, DE), Mason Wing (OL, DL), and Christian Gillian (WR, DB) are the lone seniors. Hutton was a big force last season on the line.
Second Team All-NAC Troy Gates, a junior, moves into the quarterback position for Mark Horne, who doubled as a quarterback wildcat type running back last season. Classmate Jose Flores and Adrian McShane look to be big contributors offensively at running back and at defensive back and linebacker respectively. Aaron McEathron is a big tightend as a junior and will also play linebacker.
Gouverneur and FA are the only two Class B teams in the section and will meet to decide the sectional bid the state tournament.
Saturdays game gets underway at 1:30 p.m.
SLC AT TUPPER LAKE
Guided by Bill Scharf, the Larries head to Tupper Lake this evening for their third straight game on the road against the Lumberjacks after closing last season there with back-to-back losses.
Of the 30 players on the SLC roster, nearly 20 are back from last years squad that posted a 1-7 record. Senior Mike Burns, who shared quarterbacking duties last season, is slated to take over the starting job this year with classmate Brad Francis serving as his back-up.
The Larries boast some outstanding depth at running back led by seniors David Plante and Chris Tabor, who is making the transition from lineman. First-year sophomores Mark Crump, Brandon LaBarge and Noah Felix are also showing potential as ball-carriers along with first-year freshman Mike Plante.
The Larries also feature solid experience at tight end with the return of seniors Devon Agen, Jon Rubado Lavare, Nathan John, Taylor Richard and Tyler Losey.
Leading candidates to handle line duties include; seniors Gavin Chase (G), Hunter Ramsdell (T), Lee LaFleur (T) and Kyle LaShomb (T) along with junior returnees Chris Gray (C), Josh Goodreau (T), Caleb Gomes (G) and Joel Truax (C).
Newcomers looking to earn playing time include senior Adam Dishaw (TE) and Austin Thompson (TE) along with junior John Cherniak (T), sophomores Garrette Clark (G), Connor Francis (T), Colton Krise (TE), Leroy Gotham (RB), Dennis Powell (TE) and Hunter Storrin, and freshman Dylan McCarthy (C).
The Larries are one of four Class C schools competing for Section 10 honors this fall. After closing out the regular season Oct. 19 at home against Malone, the are slated to be in the sectional semifinals along with Class C rivals Potsdam, OFA and Canton.
The Lumberjacks finished at 3-6 last fall and are once again the lone Class D school in the second entering the 2013 season. Tupper Lake graduated 10 players but is expected to field a competitive team.
Fridays season opener between the Larries and Lumberjacks is slated to kick-off at 7 p.m.