SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Lake football team is focused on what it can accomplish as an experienced group of athletes.
The Red Storm have 14 players returning from last year’s 1-7 squad, and their roster features 20 upperclassmen.
“We’ve got a team that’s committed to doing everything they can to get better every day,” Saranac Lake coach Eric Bennett said. “We have a veteran team returning, and we haven’t really even talked about our record once. I’m not really a guy who looks in the past to try to get motivation like that.
“We’re excited to look forward, play fundamental, mistake-free football and just execute.”
Among those returning are quarterbacks Rhett Darrah and Dylan Stewart.
Darrah is a junior at Saranac Lake and third-year player who began his varsity career as a freshman, and he completed 44 passes for 517 yards and five touchdowns last year.
Stewart is a senior who saw time under center in 2018.
The Red Storm will be starting either Darrah or Stewart at the quarterback position.
“We’re in year two of our offense now, and they both have a much more solid understanding of what we’re trying to do,” Bennett said. “They’re way more comfortable than last year when we installed it, and it’s great because I feel like we’re in capable hands with either one of them.”
Another weapon in Saranac Lake’s arsenal is Ben Munn.
Bennett is excited to see what Munn can do to enhance the team’s performance.
“Ben will likely get to start at running back,” Bennett said. “He’s had a phenomenal summer too, working really hard. He committed to every play his junior year, and we’re looking forward to see what he can do.”
Bennett believes his offensive line is “experienced and athletic.”
Defensively, Saranac Lake is hoping that it plays fundamentally-sound, assignment football.
Bennett mentioned he has a number of athletes that have impressed him in preseason but wants to stick with an all-for-one mentality, as the team itself is what’s most important.
“I wouldn’t really want to go against that theme for us by singling out anyone when I feel like we’ve got 12 to 14 kids who could do anything for us,” Bennett said.
As far as practice is concerned, Bennett claims they’re ready for the season to start in earnest.
“I’m just really impressed and excited to see how the kids will play this year,” Bennett said. “They acted like veterans the entire camp. They’re focused, and I’m excited to see what they can do. We had a good preseason, kids had a great summer working out and we’re ready to start looking across at other people besides ourselves and play some football.”
One of the strengths for the Red Storm this season is their commitment to each other and themselves.
“I think our team commitment to doing the best they can and their desire to get better every day is our strength so far,” Bennett said.
Bennett said team depth is a concern.
“We don’t have a huge roster this year, but I feel like we have kids that can play all of our positions,” Bennett said. “We just don’t have a lot of depth, so staying healthy is certainly going to be key for us this year.”
Saranac Lake will open its season against Plattsburgh High at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Wilson-Raymond Field.
Bennett believes the Red Storm’s athletes are committed and ready to play concise, mistake-free football.
“To see their maturity in a year, it’s awesome,” Bennett said. “We’re just looking forward to seeing them work as a team.”
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