Saugerties looking to contend in Class A football
SAUGERTIES, N.Y. — The situation for Saugerties High varies little from season to season in Section 9, Class A football.
Division powers Cornwall and Wallkill are virtual locks to take two of the four playoff spots, leaving the Sawyers to battle Monticello, Port Jervis and Goshen for the other two postseason berths.
That means Saugerties must be ready right off the bat with the season opener at home Sept. 1 against Monticello. A loss would put the Sawyers in must-win situations against Port Jervis and Goshen.
Last year, the only victory in a 1-4 division, 1-8 overall campaign came over Goshen.
Graduation losses were few for Saugerties, but the cupboard lacks some players coach Lee Meisinger would like to have on the field.
“We had a small senior class last year,” Meisinger said. “There were about six who would be eligible who played last year but didn’t come back.
“Some of them wanted to concentrate on another sport. Some just didn’t have the desire to come out.”
In terms of numbers, the Sawyers will have 28 or so on the roster.
“We’ll need to lean on a lot of guys because we’ll be outnumbered by teams like Cornwall, Wallkill and Port Jervis,” Meisinger said. “Guys will have to learn multiple positions.
“They’re a pretty close-knit group. They’ve been working with each other and get along pretty well.” Continued...
Top returnee J.T. Elmendorf, who earned Freeman honorable mention status, will be the primary target for quarterbacks Randall Lewellyn and Russell Neglia. Meisinger thinks newcomer Lewellyn could be the starter, freeing up Neglia to play running back and see spot duty in spread formation and wildcat.
Last year, Neglia shared quarterback duties with two other quarterbacks. Justin Whittaker graduated, while Paton Gibbs did not return.
“Our offense will include multiple formations, and we will move the fullback around,” Meisinger said.
Tailback Nick Koenig will be a key cog in the running game along with Neglia. After missing the entire season last year with a shoulder injury, Kaleb Kouhout returns to see time at wide receiver along with a regular defensive role at linebacker.
Koenig and Kouhout are captains. Leaders on the offensive line are center Eric Beresheim and guard Terrell Lawrence.
Veteran Jake DeGroat and newcomer Austin Sarn will join mainstays Beresheim and Lawrence up front.
Lukas Gran and Adam Bacon return to contribute as wide receivers and defensive backs.
Most missed among the graduation losses will be offensive lineman Ethan Stanley and defensive lineman Casey Steyer.
“We’re looking to build some team chemistry,” Meisinger said. “We’ve got some leaders out there.
“We have to work hard and play some good football.” Continued...
Other returnees vying for playing time are running backs Joel Mayer and Chris Madsen along with linemen Jake Vickery, Dylan Johnson, Anthony Edwards and Richard Masi. A knee injury could keep lineman Ryan Bonelli sidelined all season.
Meisinger will continue as the offensive coordinator. His assistants are defensive coordinator Mike Tiano and Kingston High product Zack Fritz, who will work with offensive linemen, linebackers and special teams.
Junior varsity coaches will be Nick Bernard and Joe Tiano.
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