The first time Dave Prudhomme strapped on the pads and skated between the pipes he knew he wanted to have a long career as a hockey goaltender.
His career hopes have manifested themselves as he developed into an All-Northern Conference performer as a sophomore for Ogdensburg Free Academy, and with the potential of someday playing at the collegiate ranks.
But it only took one shot on goal for him to realize that he wanted to play other positions in soccer.
I was playing for the Freeze (FC Freeze Youth Soccer Program) in the summer. One shot on goal, one goal and that was it for me, quipped a smiling Prudhomme, remembering a pivotal moment in his soccer career.
As a freshman, he settled into the stopper position for the OFA varsity, and has a played a key role in two outstanding seasons under the direction of coach Matt Morley.
Last year as a sophomore, he earned first-team All-NAC Central Division honors and was recognized as a First Team selection on the Times All-North squad, playing a lead role in the Blue Devils successful quest for the Section 10 Class B championship.
The Devils lost to Section 2 champion Ichabod Crane, which went on to share the state title with Section 5 champion Livonia.
Prudhomme is one of seven starters returning for a highly regarded OFA squad, which is off to a 2-0 start by winning their own Gerard Cring Memorial Tournament.
Prudhomme combined with first-year starting defenders in Aaron Peo, DaKota Brady and Seth Pinkerton and second-year starting goaltender Jake Sias to post two shutouts, including a 1-0 win over Lisbon in the title game.
Prudhomme has regularly showed his smooth ball-carrying and passing abilities and the field vision that allows him to inject a starters dimension into his stopper role.
Dave Prudhomme came up as a freshman and he started in the middle of our defense, Morley said.
He played with a lot of older players, including his brother, Grant, and he did it without skipping a beat. This year he will playing with a lot of skilled players who play together very well.
He can basically play every position. He takes a lot of our free kicks and corner kicks, and he is a very good in the air. He is an outstanding all-around player who has the ability to make the people around him better.
Prudhomme is an outstanding all-around player on a team that has the talent and chemistry to chase the lofty goals of winning the NAC Central Division and repeating as Section 10 Class B champion. Of course, a return to the state tournament is key as well.
The elusive defender also combines up the middle of the field with fellow three-year varsity players midfielder and co-captain Matt Piercey and forward Nate Peo, who was the MVP of the Cring Tournament, and co-captain in Conor Hannan.
We have a very good team. These guys are a lot of fun to play with and we have played together a long time. I think we learned a lot in our loss in the state tournament last year, Prudhomme said.
We lost to a great team, which was really fast and put their passes right on a teammates foot. I really think that we can play that way and get another shot in the states.
There were several strong teams in the Northern Athletic Conference last year and things could be the same this season. Sixteen of the 24 teams in Section 10 had .500 or better records last year.
Malone and Potsdam were the class of the Central Division last year, tying for first place with 9-2-1 records. The Huskies opened this season with a 5-0 shutout of the Sandstoners. Other teams who could contend in the Central are OFA, Canton and Massena.
It was tight in the East Division last year. Brushton-Moira finished with a 9-3-2 record and won the title, but Colton-Pierrepont, Chateaugay and Madrid-Waddington each finished one point back (9-4-1), and Parishville-Hopkinton was 7-5-2.
The West was similarly tight. Harrisville and Lisbon tied for first place with 22 points, and Heuvelton, which won the Class D title, was third with 21, followed by Edwards-Knox with 19.
The top individuals returning include Prudhomme, Lisbons Jimmy Robinson, Parishville-Hopkintons Wyatt Snell and Chateaugays Chad Stalter.