POTSDAM Potsdam Centrals football team was a force in 2012, finishing 9-1 versus Section 10 competition, capturing both the Northern Athletic Conference and Section 10 Class A championships, and then taking on eventual state champion Burnt Hills in the first round of state play.
We were proud of our season last year. We knew Burnt Hills would be tough, but we did some good things in that game. We especially played well early, said 11th-year Potsdam coach Jim Kirka, whose team fell to the Spartans, 42-0. Burnt Hills won the state championship, which shows a lot about us. We fared about as well as anybody else against them last year. But now its a new season and our kids are excited about it.
The Sandstoners return several starters on both sides of the ball and are led by an outstanding group of seniors. Though 6-foot-8 receiver Shawn Clark has opted for prep school, the Potsdam senior class will include veteran quarterback Will Coleman, speedy halfback Oden Robertson, a pair of proven fullbacks in Ryan McFadden and Andrew Ace, receiver Jacob Bryant and two-way linemen Matt Cincinnati (3rd-year starter), Dylan Greer and Matt Liscum. Also looking to step up this year are Josh Locey and Norwood-Norfolk student Travis Hall.
The kids worked hard all summer in the weight room and are ready for the new season, Kirka said.
Underclassmen to watch include tight end Max Warden, along with linemen Zach Rottier and Shane Reome.
Weve got a real experienced backfield with a lot of returning skill players. Oden has nice speed and we have our two big fullbacks who weve had the past few years, Kirka said. We also have younger guys who came up last year and will be playing right away. We have guys who have been waiting for their chance and now theyre going to get it. For example, were looking for good things from guys like Josh Locey and Travis Hall.
Mergers will continue with both Norwood-Norfolk and Madrid-Waddington, though the state has reconfigured how they classify for the postseason. Potsdam moves from Class A to Class C for the playoffs.
Were happy with the mergers, they allow us to play competitive football, Kirka said.
Potsdam will open at Gouverneur on Saturday with its home opener set for Sept. 14 versus St. Lawrence Central on Hall of Fame Weekend.
Said Kirka: I think it will be a good league, a fun league and a competitive league. Were ready for it.