PLATTSBURGH — Jerry Defayette and his Plattsburgh High School football squad are going back to the basics.
Although they started last season with an opening-night win against Moriah, the Hornets concluded the campaign with a dismal six-game losing streak.
The second-year head coach has instilled a philosophy of belief this fall in an effort to restore Plattsburgh to a perennial contender in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference.
“We’re working on trying to find some leadership in our seniors and establish that base with this group to start the turnaround,” Defayette said. “Our goal is to try and change the basics of the program and get kids in the weight room. They’ve adjusted well to the new system.”
Defayette’s roster indicates a mere 23 players, down nine from a year ago. A majority of them will be expected to play on both sides of the football.
“We’re trying to get our kids conditioned because we’re low on numbers,” Defayette said. “We weren’t physically strong last year, so we enforced a relatively simple strength program over the winter. Our depth is shallow and anyone who goes down, whether they’re a starter or not, it’s going to be a big blow.”
Junior Shawn Courson has won over quarterback responsibilities after a tight competition with Jonas Miller. Defayette believes the newcomer is an exceptional athlete with gifted playmaking abilities.
“We’ve got a strong, young quarterback, who has worked hard at learning the offense,” Defayette said. “He’s really taken control in becoming a leader as a young player.”
The Hornets graduated all-purpose back James Stiger (40 attempts, 140 yards, two touchdowns) and Will Love (49 carries, 76 yards, one touchdowns), who handled nearly half of the ground game least season.
“(Senior) Sean Shea, who was a lineman last year, but has slimmed down and shown us a lot in the weight room over the offseason, will definitely be noticeable in the backfield,” Defayette said. “Miller is expected to be an impact player, too.”
On the defensive side of the football, Plattsburgh allowed nearly 3,000 and 265 points against last year.
“Shea is also going to be a key component of our defense,” Defayette. “We have some good defensive tackles with Andre Leon and Harley LaDuke. Ian Underwood is also going to help us out a lot at linebacker. He showed a lot of promise in our scrimmage last week.”
The coaching staff will look no further than tonight’s contest at Linney Field in Moriah.
“We’re taking one day at a time during each practice week,” Defayette said. “If we’re in the hunt for (a championship) that’s great, but we’re just trying to establish good, fundamental football one week at a time.”
Plattsburgh Coach: Jerry Defayette No. Name Position Year 7 Jonas Miller RB/C 12 8 Deandre Lemieux QB/DB 10 10 Shawn Courson QB/DB 11 22 Ricky Rhodes RB/DB 10 28 Cole Langlois WR/DB 1 2 30 Shawn Shea RB/DE 12 41 Matt Bennett OL/DE 12 45 Robert Matthews WR/DB 11 51 Cody Rowbottom OL/LB 12 52 Mark Ryan OL/LB 12 54 Jeff Stiffler OL/DL 11 56 Henery Hill OL/DL 12 61 Harley Laduke OL/DL 12 66 Ian Underwood OL/LB 1 2 72 Devon Esposito OL/DL 12 74 Kemar Caple OL/DL 12 77 Andre Leon OL/DL 12 78 Nick Prenoveau OL/DL 12 80 Rob Reno WR/DB 12 81 James Cross WR/DB 12 84 Nate Leopard TE/LB 12 86 Alex Seymour WR/DB 12 Alex Odnaha WR/DB 12