September 7, 2013

Red Storm regroups after big losses

SARANAC LAKE — Anytime you lose 19 starters to graduation and 81.6 percent of your offensive output from a season ago, things look pretty bleak. 

But Saranac Lake football coach Eric Bennett has other ideas.

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One year removed from a 10-1 season that saw the Red Storm reach the NYSPHSAA Class C quarterfinals, Bennett hopes to compete for the Class C crown once again in Section VII.

“Every year, we hope to put our best foot forward, be as competitive as we can and hopefully put ourselves in a position at the end of the season to play for a championship,” Bennett said.

Winning football games in Saranac Lake is synonymous like the autumn foliage that surrounds the village during the fall months. Bennett, who enters his fourth year as head coach with a 29-4 record, doesn’t feel any additional pressure from the town’s high expectations.

“I think any pressure we feel is just self-induced,” Bennett said. “We want to compete, we want to be successful, and we want to put the work in to reach our goals. In terms of other people, we try not to worry about that and just try to control what we can control. That’s what we’re busy trying to do.”

Despite losing 10 starters, Bennett said the Red Storm’s offense, which scored 421 points last year, will have the same up-tempo philosophy in multiple spread sets.

“We’re not changing who we are,” Bennett said. “We like to play at a high tempo. We like to think of ourselves as a very simple team that has a lot of simple concepts in that we can hopefully execute at a fast pace.”

Saranac Lake graduated signal-caller Matt Phelan in June, who finished fifth all-time in career passing yardage in Section VII at 3,257.

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