HF-L football to play independent schedule

HF-L junior quarterback Turner Wilson slings a football during the first day of practice. The Cougars begin their season this Friday, August 31st, when they play East Syracuse Minoa at the Carrier Dome. Photo by Peter Carosa

The Honeoye Falls-Lima Cougars have decided to leave the Monroe County IV Football League and compete as an independent.

2018 Honeoye Falls-Lima Cougars Quick Facts

Head Coach: John Russ (7th Season)
Class: B
League: Independent

2017 Season
Overall Record: 3-4
League Record: 1-3
Playoffs: Lost in Semifinals to Livonia Bulldogs, 14-41

Key Losses: Dylan Carey (QB), Jack Tvrdik (RB/LB), and Owen VanNewkirk (WR/DE)
Key Returnees: Derek Childs (WR, Sr.), John Kabes (OL/DT, Jr.), Josh Kosciol (OL/LB, Sr.), and Luke Kosciol (OL/DL, Sr.)

2018 Preview

Last year, head coach John Russ got one step closer to his ultimate goal of leading the Honeoye Falls-Lima Cougars to the district’s first-ever sectional football championship, by winning his first sectional playoff game. Following the milestone 27-13 victory over the Geneva Panthers, the Cougars were defeated by the Livonia Bulldogs in the Class B Sectional Semifinal Round.

This past spring Russ and the Cougars got back to work, except they were without their two-year starting QB, Dylan Carey, and standout RB, Jack Tvrdik, both of whom graduated in June. Fortunately for HF-L, the same faces will make up the offensive line this upcoming season. When asked about the returning group of offensive lineman, senior offensive tackle, Luke Kosciol, spoke about the group’s increased maturity level and how they have taken studying film in the film room very seriously to make improvements. He added that the group has become very much of a brotherhood resulting in high participation at voluntary workouts and summer scrimmages. Kosciol is excited about the 2018 season and looks forward to celebrating victories with HF-L’s student fan section, the Cougar Freight Train.

Junior quarterback Turner Wilson has been training hard during the spring and summer months to get up to speed with his receivers and the playbook. Wilson dressed every varsity game last year as Carey’s backup, but never took any snaps. Instead, he got his playing time with the JV team. Wilson talked about how the offseason workouts, 7 on 7 drills, and scrimmages really helped him develop as a quarterback. He was also very grateful for time that Coach Russ and two different QB coaches had volunteered over the last several months to teach and improve his skill and abilities. Wilson feels confident about this season, but admits there always room for improvement. He hopes to make ball security an emphasis in his decision making as QB and wants to be the best teammate he can be.

In terms of the defense, the Cougars will be led by senior safety, Lawton Watts, and senior linebacker, Josh Kosciol. Kosciol is still recovering from a knee injury from a season ago, but will hopefully resume his role at middle linebacker. Coach Russ spoke highly about the junior class and how there were a couple guys who could have started as sophomores, but stayed with the JV team. Expect the defense, especially the defensive backs, to be made up of this junior class.

2018 Outlook

This season the Honeoye Falls-Lima Cougars are trying something different. Over the last few years, the Cougars have consistently been classified as a Class B school, but their regular season schedules have been made up of almost entirely Class A schools. Rather than compete in a Monroe County league comprised of schools classified above them, HF-L has chosen to be independent and create their own schedule. Coach Russ has been working hard to put together a competitive schedule for the Cougars. When putting together the Cougars’ schedule, Russ’ first concern was making sectionals, but at the same time wanted their opponents to be competitive. Taking a look at their schedule, HF-L has several opponents outside of Section V. As a result, this will be the first time the Cougars face many of these opponents. Despite the uncertainty, the Cougars placed fourth in the small-school preseason coach’s poll. If HF-L finds itself competing in sectionals again this year, it can be expected that the Cougars will have to compete against the top 3 schools of the poll – Batavia, Hornell, and Livonia – for the sectional championship.

The Cougars aren’t the only ones changing things up this season. Section V has announced that sectional points will no longer be fixed for wins and losses. Instead a power seeding point system will be utilized by awarding points based off the number of wins of the opponent. No longer will teams be awarded for beating opponents classified above them or penalized for losing to opponents classified below them. For more information on this rule change you can visit the Section V Football website and read the 2018 handbook.

2018 Schedule

Aug. 31 – @ East Syracuse Minoa (at Carrier Dome)
Sept. 7 – vs. Jamesville-Dewitt
Sept. 15 – @ Monroe
Sept. 21 – @ Fulton
Sept. 28 – @ Odessa Montour
Oct. 5 – vs. Greece Arcadia
Oct. 13 – vs. University Prep

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