Tupper Lake attack starts in the trenches

Tupper Lake quarterback Noah Cordes unloads a pass during last weekend’s matchup against Malone. He’ll be starting his second game tonight when the ’Jacks host St. Lawrence Central. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

TUPPER LAKE — With the absence of a junior varsity program, low numbers and limited experience have usually been factors weighing against Tupper Lake’s varsity football team during recent seasons.

That may be the case again this fall as the Lumberjacks take on their Section X schedule, but head coach Dennis Klossner likes what he sees in the 22-player roster the team will put on the field this fall.

This year, the ‘Jacks will center their team around the area where they have the most experience, and that’s in the trenches on both sides of the line. And after that, they’ll be looking for a mix of newcomers and veterans to step into new roles in a season Klossner hopes will be a competitive one.

“We’re really looking for our interior linemen to lead the way,” Klossner said. “That’s where we have the most experience. We have some big guys there, not huge but they are strong and they know the game of football.”

Tupper Lake does have to replace to all-star linemen Logan Savage and Jordan Young, who were seniors a year ago, but three others are returning starters and only one of them is a senior. The senior is Chad Charland, who will line up at tackle, and be joined by junior center Jaden LaValley and junior guard Kyler teRiele.

Ben Lanthier, who played tight end in 2016, has made the move to tackle, and Brayden McCottery will also be a major contributor along the line.

“I feel we have a nice interior line, and with only one senior there, I’m not really looking ahead but we should have a good group there for the next two years.”

Brennen McComber was Tupper Lake’s starting quarterback as a sophomore in 2016, but that position will have a new face as junior Noah Cordes takes over under center. McComber and sophomore Skyler Pickering will handle most of the ball carrying duties as Tupper Lake’s starting running backs.

“Noah was a receiver last year, but we made the switch because we like having McComber and Pickering in the backfield,” Klossner said. “Noah is a smart kid, he’s tall and he has that football instinct. He really reacted well in our scrimmage. He has promise. Because Noah doesn’t have a lot of experience, at this point we’re going to be more of a running team and as we progress, we’ll be looking to incorporate more passing into our offense.”

When Cordes does take to the air, wideouts Drew Denis, Bryce Richards, Christian Johnson, Kodee Hill and tight end Brad McLear will be among his targets.

On defense, Tupper Lake will line up in a four-man front with the same faces leading the offense setting the tone on the other side of the line. Other key defenders include Pickering, McComber and senior Ryeleigh Shore, who will all be playing in the secondary, and Richards and Lanthier, who will both be at linebacker positions.

As the only Class D team in Section X, Tupper Lake will head into action with a roster that’s low on numbers, which ultimately means that it will be all hands on deck each week for the Lumberjacks.

“We play ironman football,” said Klossner, who expects his team to fare better than last year’s group that came away with just one victory. “Our main goal is to be competitive. We want to limit our mistakes, we’re hoping to be injury free and we’re looking for all 22 players to contribute. If things go well, I think with this roster we have a really good opportunity to put ourselves in a position to win some ball games.”