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Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018: Weedsport seeks move to eight-man football

   Leading off today: Weedsport is the first low-turnout casualty of official fall practice, with school officials informing Section 3 that they want to drop down to eight-man football for the upcoming season.

   The Class D team is scheduled to begin play Sept. 1 against Beaver River but held its first practice Monday with just 20 players. While that number would be sufficient to field an 11-man team, the concern is that too many of the candidates aren't ready for varsity competition.

   "The issue isn't the total number," first-year coach Jon Sgarlata told The Citizen. "We may end up with 22 or 23 but that doesn't matter. We have a portion of our roster that is not capable of playing safely at the varsity level."

   There was a discussion about combining with another school, but Sgarlata said taking advantage of the eight-man option helps preserve each program's identity.

   If Weedsport gets approval from Section 3 to switch to eight-man, practice will resume Aug. 23.

   Change of plans: Jayden Cook has several eye-opening moves in his repertoire ... and some of them are even of the football field.

   For the second time in the last six months,Cook is on the move. The 6-foot, 200-pound senior, who was honorable mention all-state in Class AA last fall, has enrolled at Spring Valley.

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   Cook, a wide receiver, running back and safety, played the last two seasons at North Rockland after spending his freshman year at St. Joseph of Montvale in New Jersey. He transferred to Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn in February.

   Cook moved in with a family member in Brooklyn to attend Erasmus Hall, but the commute was difficult for him and his family. His latest move comes after his mother relocated to Spring Valley.

   Costly vandalism: A group of juveniles is suspected of setting fires that caused an estimates $5,000 of damage to synthetic turf of two Niagara Falls School District softball fields on Thursday.

  
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   Police said that a group of seven juveniles was seen walking to the fields shortly before a fire was reported. Another youth was then seen riding a bicycle to an adjoining field and starting a fire near home plate.

   Sidelined: St. Joe's star running back Jaden Lofton will not be allowed to play this season, the school announced on the eve of the first fall practice.

   Lofton, an all-state running back who led the Marauders in rushing and all-purpose yards last season, was arrested in June and faces four felony charges stemming from a robbery in Town of Tonawanda, according to a police report.

   In a statement sent to The Buffalo News, school President Christopher Fulco said: "St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute will confirm that Jaden Lofton is not a member of the 2018 St. Joe's football team. As our policy dictates, the school will not comment further concerning a student's status."

   Lofton is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 23.


  
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