WATERTOWN — When Hunter Loftus joined the Watertown Red and Black in May, wide receivers Chris Furr, Keegan Queior and Daniel Weaver added him to their group chat.
There, they share critiques from practice and games along with instructional videos and links on how to better run routs or improve on other receiver skills.
As a first-year member of the team fresh off of graduating from Carthage high school, Loftus joins a veteran wide receiver core that has a combined 12 years of Red and Black experience — needless to say he was nervous.
“At first I was scared to death of these guys,” Loftus said. “I was scared to talk to them and everything because they’re all veterans and the big dogs of the team. But when you talk to them, they’re family already to me, these guys are may big brothers.”
Furr and Queior are the two veterans on the receiving corps on head coach George Ashcraft’s team, and both have their own unique teaching styles. Queior, a four-year member, is always talking.
He’s talking at practice, he’s talking during games, Loftus said he’s even the most vocal one in the group chat.
“I take pride in that too, I like to show the newer guys how we do things,” Queior said. “Most of the stuff came from watching Furr, watching how does things.”
Furr has served as the godfather for Red and Black receivers for the past seven seasons, taking each new guy that comes through the team and helping them improve and feel like part of the family.
“The rookies that we have too, being that we are more experienced, we’re teachers, we’re teaching the rookies basically how we are and how they can get to where we are by teaching them what we know and showing them exactly in practice or games what we know,” Furr said. “So, I mean, being an experienced is good but being a teacher is better.”
Furr was nursing an injury during Thursday’s practice and therefore did not participate, but he still expects to play today versus Glens Falls (1-1 overall) at East Field. Last week, he hauled in 97 receiving yards in the Red and Black’s 29-13 loss to Tri-City at Schenectady, dropping Watertown’s record to 0-2.
Not only has Furr inspired his teammates with leadership, but he’s also inspired them through his playing ability. He and Queior share a competitive spirit that often leads to a desire to one-up the other in on-field production.
“Furr pushes me a lot, we battle at practice we battle at the games,” Queior said. “When he makes a big catch, I have to go make a bigger catch. That’s how we like to do things.”
Loftus is in the fortunate position to watch and learn from the quality Red and Black receivers who always offer a piece of advice or instruction.
While Queior will offer a piece of advice on the field or during a play, Furr will wait until they’re on the sideline to say his piece. Having that dynamic has proven to be beneficial for the rookie.
“It’s awesome, because whatever you’re feeling one day, like if you’re confident and loud and aggressive Keegan is there to help you and get in your face and tell you what you’re doing wrong,” Loftus said. “If you’re having an off day and you’re kind of in the dumps a little bit, Furr is there in the background telling you what to do and how to get better, it’s uplifting really.”
n After having to forfeit the first two games of the season due to insufficient amount of players, Seaway Valley of the Empire Football League will not participate for the rest of the 2019 season. It was scheduled to play the Red and Black on Aug. 10 for the Red and Black’s home opener. That week will now serve as a bye week for Watertown, pushing the home opener to the following Saturday versus Plattsburgh.