The 2013 Lake George High School Football Team includes (front, left to right): Patrick Witherbee, Brendon Johnson, Tom Clark, Adam Agresta, Tyler Brown, Bryan Kane, (row 2): Mallar Peters, Austin Gentner, Kyle Young, Willy Arnold, Cassius Allen, Mark Mellon, Patrick Barber, (row 3): Cory Reale, Nate Moores, Ricky Jowly, Brett Parsons, Patrick Mellon, Arthur Burnett, (rear): Joe Austin, Nick Motta, Zack Layton, Noah Brumagen, Forrest Kubricky and Eric Schreiber.
Lake George High School Football Coach Jeff Bennett shouted out encouragement to his running backs as they ran through a gauntlet of defenders pushing padded obstacles in their way.
“That’s what we’re looking for,” he said as one athlete slammed through the shields and collided with a news photographer.
“This is the physically strongest team I’ve had in years,” he continued, adding that the squad’s linemen particularly are big and strong. “The guys have been very dedicated in their workouts in the weight room.”
His comments underscored predictions heard recently around town.
The Lake George football team has talent, determination and a talented lineup for 2013, and local sports observers say this might be a return to the team’s glory years, an era that extended for a quarter-century through 2007.
The 2012 team recorded a 5-4 season, which didn’t really reflect the effort and athleticism of the year’s campaign, which showcased the talents of such athletes as running backs Willy Blunt and Alex Labruzzo as well as receiver Nate Fidd.
Seven seniors on that team graduated in June, a substantial number, but the younger players have been bulking up and honing their skills, Bennett said.
The team will be depending on those linemen to keep up their conditioning — and play tough and smart through the season, Bennett said.
“If we have a good year, it’s because we’re making big holes for our running backs,” he said. “If we can’t do that, we’ll have a long season.”
One key player is offensive guard and nose tackle Pat Barber, who’s been chosen to compete in the Citrus Bowl All-American game this winter. That opportunity followed him being chosen as Best Defensive Lineman this summer at a football camp held at Bryant University.
Bennett praised Barber’s work ethic and dedication to football.
“Barber absolutely loves football, and it’s fun and exciting to watch him at work,” Bennett said.
Barber will likely be creating scoring opportunities for fullback Tom Clark, who doubles as a linebacker, as well as Cassius Allen and Ricky Jowly, both new at the Varsity tailback position.
Clark offered his thoughts on 2013’s prospects.
“Quarterback Tyler Brown and I have good chemistry — we’ll be communicating well and moving the ball down the field to score,” he said. Brown has been praised by Bennett for his quick moves and his ability to throw on the run.
Senior Tackle Adam Agresta is considered the 280-pound anchor of the beefy line. As Agresta stood at the sidelines of a pre-season practice this week, he said that despite the loss of seven experienced seniors, the Warriors have bright prospects for 2013.
“There are a lot of young guys with great potential,” he said gazing over the field. “I feel we can make some noise.”
The key, he added, was the love of football among his friends.
“We have a lot of fun in practice,” he said. “We have a great time here.”