CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) – The 2022 college football season is right around the corner, with camps getting ready to open. In Canton, it looks like another solid season ahead for St. Coach Dan Puckhaber’s Lawrence Saints as the 2022 Saints report to camp on Wednesday.
The Saints come to camp on August 10th with players to report.
And for the first time since 2019, Puckhaber is feeling a sense of normalcy that COVID took away from his schedule the last 2 seasons.
“We’re able to do what we wanted to do when we did it in 2019. Just from having our regular kick-off picnic with all the parents. We can bring everyone together because that’s why we do what we do. Just to get the families and all the kids together and start a fun little experience. That’s what we call college football here in St. Lawrence,” coach Dan Puckhaber said.
Offensively, the Saints will be led under center by sophomore Danny Lawther, who took over the offense in Game 7 last season after Tyler Grochot went down.
Lawther threw for 893 yards and 9 touchdowns and also ran for 168 yards and a touchdown, a true dual-threat quarterback for the Saints.
“His mobility and his athleticism really changes the offense and what we can do. That’s a lot different than what we did with Tyler Grochot, who was a great quarterback, but he was more of your pocket guy,” Puckhaber said.
Another key piece on offense for Puckhaber will be senior linebacker Peyton Schimtt.
The Gouverneur product as a junior rushed for 624 yards and 4 touchdowns and amassed 181 receiving yards with one touchdown.
“I want to put the ball in his hands and I want to give him the status of a cow. It just means if anybody wants to know who the offense is going to run on, they’ll find out pretty quickly in the first quarter against Endicott,” Puckhaber said.
Defensively, the Saints will be led by Brian Casazza and Reece Gillette, a defense that in 2021 ranked 2nd in the Liberty League in sacks and 3rd in interceptions.
Puckhaber says he feels the defense has a chance to be special in 2022.
“Defensive line, I think we have 6 guys that can really play, linebackers I think we have 7 guys that are proven, ready to be college football players. Second, same thing. There are about 8 guys in our program that can actually play,” Puckhaber said.
The Saints finished the 2021 season with a 5-5 record, 2-3 overall in a very tough Liberty League.
Puckhaber says once again this year, the Liberty League will be one of the toughest leagues in the country.
“Just so people understand, there are 250 football schools in Division 3. We have 4 teams ranked in the top 25, so we have 4 teams in the top 10 percent in this league, so it’s one of those things. For us, I really think we had a chance to beat 2 of those teams last year,” Puckhaber said.
The Saints open their season on Saturday, September 3 as they host Endicott College.
The Watertown Reds ran their record to 5-0 on Saturday night at George Ashcraft Field, defeating the Plattsburgh Northstars 47-0.
The Reds and Blacks with a balanced attack on offense, defense and special teams.
Over the past 2 weeks, the Reds have outscored their opponents 78-0, continuing their dominance and maintaining a stronghold on 1st place in the Empire Football League.
“You have the line, it starts at the front, the lines do their job. We have our backs hitting the right holes and getting up on the field, making plays. You have your receivers dominating their position, finding their open zones, they can get past the 2nd level to make plays down the field. It’s just a blessing to have,” quarterback Jason Williams said.
“We’re big, fast and physical, you know what I mean. We put in the work in the offseason and it shows here game by game,” Linebacker Derrek Dalton said.
It was a special night for Red and Black Head Coach George Ashcraft.
Before the game, Ashcraft was honored for his 50 years with the Reds and Blacks organization and recognized for the name given to him earlier in the week.
After the game ended, the Hall of Fame coach was presented with the game ball after achieving his 250th career victory.
A whirlwind week that Ashcraft will never forget.
“It is a very great honor. Having the field named after me this week and then getting my 250th win in the same week is surreal. A lot of good people were here to do it all. My family has been a part of me every day of my life. I’ve been doing this for 50 years. I can’t say enough to all the coaches, the players, the people who support us. We have a great community here and I’m glad to have been a part of that tradition,” Ashcraft said.
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