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First week in the books for Inter-Lakes-Moultonboro football

Inter-Lakes head coach Paul Lavigne gives a pair of players instructions during training camp last week in Meredith. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
August 15, 2011
MEREDITH It was the official beginning of an era for the Inter-Lakes High School football team last week.

The Lakers opened training camp with 49 players on the roster, 10 of them coming from Moultonboro Academy. While MA players were able to play JV ball a year ago, this fall will mark the first time they are eligible for varsity action.

"I'm uplifted with the turnout from our first week," said I-L-MA coach Paul Lavigne, who enters his third year as head coach of the four-year old Lakers. "To have 10 kids from Moultonboro, that's actually pretty good considering the distance they have to come every day and it only being the second year.

"I'm very excited about the Moultonboro kids though," he continued. "They accepted their role last year and now we're in a position this year where of the 10 kids, I'm looking at five or six as possible starters. In other sports the schools are rivals but as far as we're concerned, when we hit the field, we're all in it together. We've put ourselves in the upper half of Division VI schools as far as numbers now so we should be able to compete pretty good in that regard."

Week one of camp saw the team begin to shore up the offensive and defensive lines, as the Lakers weren't able to strap the pads on until this week.

"The thing I try and do the most in the first week is to go back and reestablish everything we were doing at the end of the year," explained Lavigne. "At the end of the year, we had some problems with the offensive line. To go back and work on a weakness is always a good thing and I think with some more experience this year we should improve in that aspect."

After winning the Division VI title in 2009 with an 11-1 record, the Lakers lost 12 seniors and took some lumps en route to a 5-4 mark a year ago. But Lavigne was able to start his sophomores and juniors throughout the season, with just five seniors on last year's squad.

"With the weight-lifting program we had going in the offseason, I feel very good about my young kids," the coach said. "The young guys are more mature but they're also bigger, faster and stronger. We took it on the chin last year but still managed a winning season, which isn't too bad. I'm looking forward to a more exciting season this year."

The team has some experience returning in key positions, as junior Mitch Jurius has been I-L's starting quarterback since the third game of his freshman year. Conor Donovan is arguably the best all-around player in Division VI, and the senior will lead the linebacking corps and help anchor a deep backfield that also features juniors Willie True and Brandon Krueger.

"We've got some good skill position kids coming back so that'll help us," Lavigne said. "We had a 1,800-yard rusher during our state title year in Kevin Brady who was a great back but we also had a great offensive line that year so that's really going to be the key."

The Lakers will host a jamboree again this year at Inter-Lakes High School, with Gilford, Winnisquam and Kingswood all coming to Meredith on Aug. 27. Each team will play two halves of football, each against different teams. Play opens at 10:30 a.m. and admission is free.

"I think it's an excellent display of good football in the area," said Lavigne. "When I got here, I tried to organize a jamboree with the local teams and it's good experience for the teams to get to play each other before the season starts up."

I-L will open its regular season slate on Sept. 3, as the Lakers host Farmington at noon in Meredith. The home schedule will also see Newfound (Sept. 10), Gilford (Oct. 1), Raymond (Oct. 8) and Winnisquam (Oct. 22) in town this fall.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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