Friday, August 27, 2010

Training camp report No. 13: La Salle Institute

TROY --Things can change in a hurry, just ask Al Rapp and the members of the La Salle Institute football team.

A season ago, the Cadets, who figured to be in a bit of a rebuilding year following the loss of Marquis Terrell to graduation in June 2009, won their first seven games, finishing the regular season 7-0. In the first round of the playoffs, La Salle lost in soul-crushing fashion to Guilderland, 34-33, in overtime.

Just like that, the Cadets went from undefeated to out of the playoff chase in Class AA.

When practice started in 2010, change was evident en masse. La Salle returns just one starter on either side of the ball from a season ago, meaning the Cadets have a ton of work to do before their Week One game against arch-rival Troy High.

La Salle Institute head coach Al Rapp points out instructions to players on the first day of practice. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

Frank Seitz, at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, is not only La Salle’s most experienced player. He’s also the biggest on what is shaping up to be an under-sized group, at least compared to La Salle teams of the past.

"We’re going to be quite small, so we’re going to have to grow up in a hurry," said Rapp. "We’ve got a tough start with Troy, Guilderland and Niskayuna. We have our work cut out for us."

Frank Seitz pulls a weighted sled across La Salle Institute's practice field. Seitz is the only returning starter the Cadets will dress this season.

The memory of the Guilderland game certainly inspired Seitz to hit the weight room in the offseason, knowing that not only would be have to bulk up for his senior season, he has to be ready for those extra overtime drives should they come up again in 2010.

"I think it motivated a lot of us to get in the weight room," he said. "I know it motivated me. I don’t know about everybody else, but that motivated me to work out and want to get better."

Gabriel Smith runs with the football during the first day of practice.

Lansingburgh native Garrett Delory, who played a few games under center last season when starting quarterback Mike Murray went down with an injury. He figures to have an inside track on the job this season, but Rapp said on the first day of practice that it was going to be a wide-open competition for everybody.

"Every spot is open if you hustle," Rapp said. "If we have to play 11 sophomores, we’ll play 11 sophomores."

I'll be heading to Section II football media day this Sunday to chat with the Cadets about their progress in training camp and will be reporting back later this weekend on what the team will look like in 2010.

Iquan Ward pushes a sled around La Salle's football field during practice last week.

La Salle Institute playbook
COACH: Al Rapp
STARTERS RETURNING: 1 offense, 0 defense
2009 RECORD: 8-1
OFFENSE: Power I and Wing-T
DIVISION: Class AA, Liberty

La Salle Institute, 2009 game-by-game results
Saratoga Springs, W 21-16
CBA, W 34-7
Colonie, W 21-0
SHAKER, W 40-7
Columbia, W 28-0
Bethlehem, W 42-10
Shenendehowa, W 21-15!
*Section II Class AA quarterfinals
!Crossover game
Home games in CAPS

La Salle Institute, 2009 stats review
Rushing, Att, Yds., Avg., TDs
Tyler Washington, 101, 589, 5.8, 9
Passing, Comp., Att., Yds., Avg., TDs
Mike Murray, 54, 110, 846, 15.7, 10
Garrett DeLory, 22, 38, 288, 13.1, 5
Receiving, No., Yds., Avg., TDs
Lou DiNovo, 27, 454, 16.8, 8
Tyler Washington, 18, 292, 16.2, 2
Scoring, TD, 2-pt, PAT, FG, Tot.
Tyler Washington, 11, 0, 0, 0, 66

La Salle’s three keys to the season
1, Stay healthy. "We have to stay healthy because we aren’t deep," said head coach Al Rapp. "Our numbers are down, like they are at a lot of places."
2, Mature quickly. With just one starter returning, the Cadets will get a major test in Week One against Troy High.
3, Come together as a team. Unlike the public schools, whose players develop chemistry with one another through a decade or more of classes and games together, the Cadets come from all corners of the Capital Region. Howe quickly can this group gel?

La Salle Institute, 2010 schedule
Friday Sept. 3, vs. Troy, 7:30 p.m.
Friday Sept. 10, vs. Guilderland, 7 p.m.
Friday Sept. 17, at Niskayuna, 7 p.m.
Friday Sept. 24, vs. Colonie, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 1, at Shaker, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 8, at Schenectady, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 15, vs. Columbia, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22/29, Playoffs/Crossovers, TBA

La Salle Institute football players run sprints during a recent practice.

Keep checking back on the blog for a training camp report posted every day between now and opening day of the high school football season on Thurs., Sept. 2. The schools will be posted in no particular order, so please be patient if you don't see your school right away.

Also keep your eyes open for our 48-page preview section - Kickoff 2010 - which hits the newsstands inside The Record on Thurs., Sept. 2. It will feature 21 team previews, columns, feature stories, statistics and pictures to preview the upcoming 2010 high school football season.

Previous training camp reports:
No. 1, Lansingburgh High School
No. 2, Cohoes High School
No. 3, Watervliet High School
No. 4, Columbia High School
No. 5, Catholic Central High School; head coach Ray Gaston update
No. 6, Christian Brothers Academy
No. 7, Rensselaer High School
No. 8, Hoosick Falls High School
No. 9, Averill Park High School 
No. 10, Tamarac High School
No. 11, Troy High School
No. 12, Bishop Maginn High School

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