September 7, 2013

AuSable builds momentum for new season

Dillon Savage’s role on the AuSable Valley football team is clear.

“We’re going to put the weight of the team squarely on his shoulders,” coach Heith Ford said. “He’s ready for it, and he wants it.”

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The powerful running back has returned to lead the Patriots’ offense, and with a stronger offensive line and a mobile quarterback, the team is optimistic about the 2013 Champlain Valley Athletic Conference season. The Patriots start things off today at Saranac.

AuSable Valley sputtered to a 0-9 record last season, and Ford said that had an effect on the returning players.

“What it did is, it drove them all to the weight room this winter,” he said. “All the preaching we did last year about being weak, not being able to move the ball because we were weak on the line of scrimmage, had all the boys in the weight room this winter. We gained a lot of strength.”

The 2012 Patriots averaged just 11 points per game, and having a more productive offense will start with an improved offensive line. Ford said 6-foot-3, 230-pound Kyle Coolidge will anchor a line that’s made up mostly of seniors who gained experience last year.

They’ll spend much of their time trying to open holes for Savage, who ran for 615 yards and six touchdowns on 125 carries last year. He was injured in Week 8 but is healthy going into his senior year.

“He works so hard in practice and during the offseason. He’s the first one in the weight room,” Ford said. “He’s got the heart of a lion. There’s no quit, simple as that. That no-quit attitude is what drives him to work so hard.”

Brad Pray, a sophomore, and junior Jamie Coolidge are also listed at running back for the Patriots.

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