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HS football: Massena’s Reagan leading team on the ground

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Massena senior J.P. Reagan is not letting one disappointing night change his goals for the current football season.

Reagan, a running back and defensive back, has helped lead the Red Raiders to a 3-1 start. The only blemish for Massena came last Friday night when it blew a second-half lead and lost 25-20 to rival Ogdensburg Free Academy.

But the Red Raiders are the only Class A team in Section 10, so they will be heading to the state playoffs later this season.

“I want a state championship,” Reagan said. “I’m trying to get (teammates) up for it. Class A, it’s good football, but I think if our team believes and we play as a team, and play as good as we can, it’s definitely possible.”

Massena has one more big local test before it can even start to worry about state titles, and that’s an Oct. 18 game at Potsdam, which enters this weekend with a 4-0 record and is the defending Northern Athletic Conference champions.

“That’s going to be our hardest game,” Reagan said. “I think (already playing at OFA) will help. We’ll be used to the big stage. I feel like our nerves won’t be as big as they were last Friday.”

Reagan has been a key reason for Massena’s success.

He not only leads the team, but he leads Section 10 in rushing with 739 yards on 69 carries, an average of 10.7 yards per carry. He also leads Section 10 in scoring with 74 points.

Reagan’s top effort this season came against Tupper Lake in week two when he rushed for 307 yards on just 12 carries. He gained 206 yards on 17 carries against St. Lawrence Central.

Playing a key role in Reagan’s rushing statistics have been starting offensive linemen Nolan Terrance, Josh Blair, Cody Hooper, Sam Gerber and Ross Davis.

“He’s improved so much,” Massena coach Anthony Diagostino said of Reagan. “Last year he had a successful year for us and that really sparked an interest for him. In the offseason he hit the weights really hard. He was going to camps and really focused on getting better and that’s shown.

“He really has great vision when he runs,” Diagostino added. “He’s able to see where he needs to run and he’s able to make great cuts and he has phenomenal balance. I don’t think I’ve seen him go down on just one hit or one tackle. He always keeps his feet moving.”

Reagan said he went to six camps over the summer, including former Gouverneur standout Brian Leonard’s camp as well as camps at Colgate and Cornell.

“I saw a lot of coaches,” Reagan said. “I think it helps you get noticed.”

Said Diagostino, “As fall gets deeper and we get into late October and November, he’ll start getting more (college interest). He’s getting some interest. He has the ability to play at the next level.”

Massena football has a rich history, and Reagan spends his winters playing on the hockey team, which also has a rich history.

He has noticed the different type of reception he gets when recognized by community members when he’s part of a successful season.

“It makes it a little better,” Reagan said. “(Football) is a huge tradition, going back 40 or 50 years ago, and our team has always been really good. (Winning) feels a lot better. You can feel it, the whole town can.”

Massena hopes to get the winning feeling back tonight when it hosts Canton (1-3) in a 7 p.m. contest.

“I can just tell that the guys are real serious and focused about football, not just a couple but all of them,” Diagostino said.

“Since day one, when we started, they’ve stuck with it and everybody is working hard. They really have come together as a team and as a family, so to speak. Talent will only bring us so far. Once the kids start trusting each other and playing together, that always helps.”

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