MG/CL Football Merger Off To Good Start

ALFRED – It’s safe to say the members of the Victor Blue Devils aren’t the biggest fans of the Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake football team at the moment.

Now normally, Victor, a Class A school from Section 5, wouldn’t give a second thought to MG/CL, a Class D squad from Section 6, and vice versa.

The recent Gridiron Champions Football Camp, however, changed that a bit.

You see, MG/CL, which is still in the process of ironing out the more minute, day-to-day details of the January decision by the two schools to merge their respective football programs, took a big step forward in that regard at the camp, held earlier this month at Alfred University.

And there was no better signal of that than the squad’s defeat of Victor in 11-on-11 scrimmages.

Not once, but twice.

“Victor’s coaches were not happy,” MG/CL defensive coordinator Ed Hulton said with a laugh. “They kept them on the field for an hour after the game and made them run wind sprints.

“We had a total of about 40 kids, jayvees and varsity,” Hulton said, “because not everyone (from the varsity team) could make it, but Victor showed up with their 60-player varsity team and not one of their (defensive lineman) were smaller than 6-3.”

MG/CL, however, have their fair share of solid athletes, too. Hulton highlighted A.J. Hulton, Chandler Baker (who was an Class D All-State first-team choice as a freshman before missing much of last season due to injury), Ryan Miller and Jonah Tanner, just to name a few.

But in addition to those mentioned previously, Hulton notes that just about everyone had a good showing during the week at camp, which, under the supervision of the Alfred University football coaching staff, aimed to “help students entering grades 8 through 12 (this fall) improve their basic skills and learn techniques of football.”

Most important of all, however, was that it brought the MG/CL athletes closer together.

“Curt (Fischer, MG/CL head coach) and I knew that we had a great group of athletes coming in,” Hulton said. “But we were really happy with how the team came together and bonded.”

The Gridiron Champions Football Camp was just the latest in a number of camps – another, for example, was a passing league in March at the Ralph Wilson Stadium Field House – the combined squad has participated in to better gel into one cohesive unit ahead of the upcoming high school season.

MG/CL’s first game is a non-league contest against Nichols on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m., at Chautauqua Lake Central School.