Senior Quarterback Matt Meacham rifles a pass during HF-L’s football training camp in July. Photo by Peter Carosa

Honeoye Falls-Lima Cougars Varsity Football Overview – Fall 2023

Head Coach: John Russ (12th Season)

Class: B

Overall Record: 7-3 (including Sectionals)

Playoffs: Lost Sectional Semifinal to Monroe Red Jackets, 12-7

Key Losses: Rhyan Garey (OL/LB), Donnell Hall (WR/DB), Jack Harvey (OL/DL), Carson Joint (OL/LB), Nolan Smith (WR/DL)

Key Returnees: Ben Cook (RB/DL), Austyn Crego (OL/DL), Landon Hammond (WR/DB), Matt Meacham (QB), Alex Steinhoff (WR/LB), Andrew Wanzenried (WR/DB)

Fall 2023 Preview

Last Fall, the Honeoye Falls-Lima Cougars fell short of making their fourth consecutive Sectional Championship. This Spring, the Cougars lost only nine players to graduation. Of these nine though, were three-fifths of the starting offensive line including: Jack Havery (1st Team Class B All-Star, 2nd Team All-Greater Rochester), Carson Joint (1st Team Class B, 2nd Team AGR), and Rhyan Garey (2nd Team), However, the Cougars will return both of their 1st Team All-Greater Rochester players – the team’s QB and leading WR from a year ago – Matt Meacham and Andrew Wanzenried, both of whom were also 1st Team Class B All-Stars with Wanzenried additionally being named to 3rd Team Class B All-State. Furthermore, HF-L will return two other Class B All-Stars: Austyn Crego (1st Team Class B, 2nd Team AGR) and Landon Hammond (2nd Team Class B). All that being said, the biggest question for the Cougars coming into this season is: “Can HF-L reload the offensive line to block for the team’s experienced backfield?” If the answer is yes, then the rotation of running backs will be able to pick up chunks of yards and Matt Meacham will have time to dissect defenses. If the answer is no, then Meacham will be forced to make plays off-script outside the pocket.

Defensively, HF-L will have to fill the voids left by the same aforementioned players. Carson Joint, whose leadership and experience will be difficult to replace, as he acted as the defensive play caller and was the team’s leading tackler in 2022. Last season, both the offense and defense benefited from the team’s lopsided victories, which allowed for younger players to get more reps at the varsity level. The Cougars hope this will pay dividends for them this Fall.

Fall 2023 Outlook

HF-L came into late Spring facing schedule changes due to two Class B schools, Newark and Palmyra-Macedon, electing to leave and play as independents after the schedule had been decided. The Cougars fortunately had a standing offer to play Waverly, a school outside of Binghamton. The full story was covered by Donna Mackenzie in the August 24th edition of The Sentinel. With a full eight-game slate, HF-L opens the season by facing its likely three most challenging opponents in a row: Waverly, Monroe, and Batavia. In addition to Waverly, the Cougars play two new programs this season: Vertus Charter, who just moved up from Class C to Class B, and Rochester Prep/Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Section V’s newest football team. HF-L also plays three other familiar opponents, Geneva, Dansville/Wayland-Cohocton, and Wayne.

By the fourth game of the season, we will know how the Cougars compare to those who are considered the contenders for the Class B Sectional Championship. HF-L can use its tough opening schedule to learn and improve before having to face that sort of level of competition in Sectionals.

Fall 2023 Schedule

Sept. 2 – @ Waverly

Sept. 8– vs. Monroe*

Sept. 15 – vs. Batavia*

Sept. 22 – @ Vertus Charter

Sept. 30 – vs. Geneva* (HOMECOMING)

Oct. 7 – @ Rochester Prep

Oct. 14 – vs. Dansville/Wayland-Cohocton* (SENIOR NIGHT)

Oct. 20 – @ Wayne

*Game will be broadcast live by the Sentinel

©2024 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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