January 2, 2007


Future looks rosy for USC

Jarrett sparks Trojans romp past Wolverines


Associated Press/Matt Sayles
Southern California head coach Pete Carroll reacts as he is hit with Gatorade as his team defeats Michigan 32-18 at the 93rd Rose Bowl football game in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday.

AP National Writer

PASADENA, Calif. — Whether they considered it the first game of next season or the final game of this one, Dwayne Jarrett and Southern California could certainly view the Rose Bowl as a splendid success.
Jarrett and his teammates were sensational Monday, rolling through Michigan for a 32-18 victory that helped soothe some of this season’s disappointments and foreshadow even better thing for the future.
“A very powerful statement for our program,” coach Pete Carroll called the win.
Jarrett caught 11 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns and now must decide whether to go pro — where he’ll be an easy first-round draft pick — or come back for his senior year at USC (11-2), which showed every sign it could return to the national-title picture in 2007.
“Now that he’s had a performance like this tonight, I’m sure the reins will be free on what he can do and what he can’t do,” linebacker Oscar Lua said of USC’s star receiver. “But we hope he stays. We love him here, but the ball’s in his court right now.”
Jarrett said he’ll talk to his family to reach the right decision. Meanwhile, the rest of the college football world better get ready. No. 8 USC, which also got 391 yards and four touchdown passes from John David Booty, is going to be difficult to deal with next season.
“I said going into this game, USC is the best defensive team we’ve played, and there’s no doubt in my mind that they are,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.
Not to be overlooked, indeed the defense was at its suffocating best.
Brian Cushing had 2 1/2 of USC’s six sacks, Lawrence Jackson came up with two turnovers and the Trojans didn’t let No. 3 Michigan (11-2) past the USC 26-yard line until the game was out of hand.
USC’s convincing victory came a month after a 13-9 loss to UCLA in this same stadium wrecked their chances for a third straight trip to the BCS title game. Carroll spent the down time trying to get his guys motivated for a game that was little more than an exhibition.
They put on quite a show.
“Our guys know that wasn’t us,” Carroll said of the UCLA loss. “That was the single game out of the last 65 that stood out because it was so different and unusual. So we put it behind us. This was an opportunity to kickstart what’s going on for this football team for the future. I think we captured the night. We captured the opportunity.”
Jarrett is the lone key underclassman who hasn’t committed to coming back. If, in fact, this was his last college game, it was quite a finale.
His 62-yard touchdown behind All-American cornerback Leon Hall put USC ahead 25-11 early in the fourth and showed just how good the 6-foot-5 pass catcher can be.
For icing, Jarrett outjumped a pair of Michigan defenders for a 29-yard gain midway through the fourth quarter. A few plays later, Booty threw his fourth touchdown pass — this one to senior Steve Smith, who finished with seven catches for 108 yards.
“He was as advertised,” Hall said, referring to Jarrett. “He’s a playmaker. We saw it on film, and we saw it today.”
Joining Hall on the losing end were quarterback Chad Henne (26 completions for 309 yards, many after the game was out of hand), running back Mike Hart (47 yards) and big group of Michigan juniors who also should be a force next season.
They came in wondering if maybe they’d gotten a raw deal by being left out of the national title game after a back-and-forth 42-39 loss to Ohio State in the wake of Bo Schembechler’s death.
But these Wolverines didn’t look as good as the ones who lost that heartbreaker in November. And they hardly looked like champions.
Carr’s team lost its fourth straight bowl game and ended the season on a two-game losing streak for the third consecutive year. Granted, there was nothing riding on this game between arguably the two best teams that weren’t playing for the BCS championship. Then again, getting stomped like that can make for a tough offseason.
“I think it mattered a lot,” Carr said. “They’re tremendously disappointed because they wanted to win. Anybody that thinks this game doesn’t mean a lot doesn’t know much about this game.”
The first half was a display only Schembechler could have loved — a 3-3 stalemate that wasn’t nearly as interesting as watching the colors change on the San Gabriel Mountains.
USC took control early in the third quarter when, after three straight handoffs to Hart, the Wolverines tried a screen pass that Henne threw into a crowd, only to see it land in the hands of Jackson.
Booty then threw four consecutive completions that led to the game’s first touchdown and a 10-3 lead.
After a three-and-out, Booty moved the Trojans 70 yards, capping it with a 22-yard pass to Jarrett, who easily made the catch over Morgan Trent and celebrated by pretending he was shooting hoops.
Cushing got another sack and Jackson recovered the ensuing fumble on the next drive, which led to a field goal and 19-3 lead.
From there, the teams went back and forth, trading touchdowns and giving Jarrett the chance to pad some stats and impress the NFL scouts, who saw him fashion a resounding finish to what had been a frustrating and injury-plagued season.
“We’ve been working so hard all week to get this thing right,” Jarrett said. “We wanted to go out on a good note, and we came out and performed well.”



Oh brother, CHS-Homer blanked in tourney consi

Staff Writer

Big brother was watching Saturday’s consolation game in the Cortland-Homer Holiday Hockey Tournament, and he didn’t like what he saw.
Little brother was in a better frame of mind, though not without sympathy.
Golden Eagles coach Don Armstrong’s host squad was blanked by Canandaigua — coached by Armstrong’s younger brother Jim — 5-0 in the consolation battle for third place at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex. CHS-Homer fell to 5-5 overall in the process.
It was the second year in a row that Canandaigua had beaten C-H in the consolation contest. Suffern won the tournament title for the third year in a row later in the day, 3-2 over Cazenovia.
“It’s hard to find a lot of good things coming out of this game,” Don Armstrong said after seeing his team give up a pair of short-handed goals that opened the scoring before it got worse. “When things don’t go well — officials’ calls, the way the puck bounces, whatever — you have to have the guts to handle whatever gets thrown your way. We have difficulty with that.
“We’re OK when things are even up or we’re ahead, but it’s different with bad sequences. Good teams find ways to deal with those things, which we haven’t done yet.”
In addition to finishing fourth in their own tournament for the second year in a row, the Golden Eagles, on the heels of Friday night’s 4-1 loss to Suffern, managed to score just one goal over two days, just like in the 2005 event.
“You look at the score, and the five on their side isn’t as significant as the zero on ours,” Don Armstrong said.
“A consolation game is hard to play,” said Jim Armstrong, whose team, now 4-2-3, fell to Cazenovia 4-3 in a sudden-death shootout Friday night. “I think if you can get a little edge early, it’s bigger than it would be in the finals. I’m pleased with our players; they showed a lot of character after a tough loss, coming back and playing well against a good team.”
The edge the Braves got came in the form of their two short-handed scores. The first, in particular, changed the direction of the game — coming after a Canandaigua player had been whistled for a four-minute penalty and ejected from the game for a hit from behind with 4:44 left in the opening period.
The hosts, after a penalty of their own expired, had a power play for 3:34, but exactly a minute after Erb was whistled, junior defenseman Benjamin Stabbins scored on a shot from just inside the center line on the right side that Golden Eagles senior goalie Brian Frankel misjudged.
Junior forward Evan Roth scored the first of his two goals 5:02 into the second period, the Braves again shorthanded, by stealing the puck in the left corner, skating across the crease and beating junior netminder Matt Everts, who had come on at the start of the_the stanza.
“Our primary goal when we’re a man up is not to let the other team score,” Don Armstrong said, shaking his head. The hosts took four more minor penalties after Roth’s tally, and while they were able to kill off the ensuing penalties Canandaigua got goals from Conrad Saxby and Lance Richards just 1:06 apart late in the period to make it 4-0.
“That was another function of the consolation game,” Jim Armstrong said. “I think if they had been up 2-0 the same thing may have happened to us. Getting down by a goal or two just gets magnified.”
The Golden Eagles played better in the third, as the winners beat sophomore Brett Kash — C-H’s third goalie in as many periods — once. Roth scored his second goal of the game exactly midway through the stanza.
While the Golden Eagles had a revolving door in front of their net, Canandaigua sophomore Larry Heath made the most of his first varsity start, stopping all 16 Cortland-Homer shots to earn the shutout.
“It’s nice to have the lead, but I don’t worry about the score that much,” Heath said. “I just focus on doing my job. If the other team doesn’t get any goals, it doesn’t matter as long as we get one. I hope I showed what I can do, and can get some more starts.”
“I was pleasantly surprised with Larry,” Jim Armstrong said. “He’s a very hard worker, and has always had a senior in front of him, for four years.”
In addition to using three different goalies, Don Armstrong also shook up the starting lineups and made some line changes. “The kids practice hard, and we wanted everyone to get some ice time,” he said. “We’re not sure we’ve settled on our lines, and we have some cohesiveness issues to work on.”
He did, however, praise defensemen Dan Farris, Vic Marchetti, Sean McSherry, Ian Gutchess and Nate West for their individual efforts.
Asked about the sibling rivalry aspect of the contest, Jim Armstrong noted: “When we were kids Don beat me in back-yard basketball six summers in a row, 10 games a summer. So I figure I’m 3-61-1 against him now.”
That record also takes into account a 7-3 win by Canandaigua early in the 2002-03 season, a 2-2 tie between the two early the next season and a 4-2 Golden Eagle win in the first round of Canandaigua’s mid-season tournament two seasons ago.
“I’m glad for Jim’s team,” Don Armstrong said. “He puts a lot of heart and soul into what he does, and they had a good day. Does it hurt more or less when you lose to your brother?”
While smilingly leaving it at that, the Golden Eagles head man did note: “We’ll get back to work on Tuesday to gear up for our next game, in the league (CNYSHL Division II West) at home against Watertown IHC on Friday (in a 7 p.m. start).”
There may be a brotherly rematch, as Cortland-Homer will take part in Canandaigua’s tournament Jan. 19 and 20.
Instead of all-stars, each team named an outstanding player from its opponent. Farris won the award for Cortland-Homer, while Roth was Canandaigua’s winner.
Suffern 3, Cazenovia 2: In the title game Suffern got two goals from junior forward Zach Salt, who also scored twice against the Golden Eagles Friday night, and one from Matt Ruthberg, also a junior forward, as well as 31 saves from junior goalie Tom Natoli to beat Cazenovia despite being outshot 33-27. Jordan Demo, a freshman, made 24 saves for the Lakers.
“Our defense was a key; Tom was great in the nets,” Mounties coach Rob Schelling said, his team heading home with an 8-3 record. “Strong defense and burying the puck when we have to is how we’re going to win. Our first line did that tonight, Salt twice (one on a power play) and Ruthberg once.
“It’s always good to win upstate in a tough tournament like this; we’re starting to play well, and we like to play our best coming into the new year. This will give us confidence to go down and play in our league (Section I’s League 1).”
Suffern, which scored once in each period Saturday, has won a sectional title in each of the last two seasons, and advanced to the state Division I semifinals last year after losing one game earlier, in the state quarterfinals, in 2005.
Cazenovia, now 6-6, got one goal each from sophomore defenseman Ben Lewis (second period) and senior forward Jeff Matzel, the latter with 2:13 left in the third to account for the final margin. The Lakers put on some intense offensive pressure in the waning moments, Natoli being forced to make some key saves — including one right before the final buzzer — down the stretch.
Suffern’s Salt and Natoli were recognized by the Lakers, while the Mounties cited Caz’s Lewis and Matzel.



Eagles beat Rockets for third

DeRUYTER — After battling back from behind to force overtime, McGraw Central basketball boys went on to capture third place over holiday tournament host DeRuyter Central this past Saturday.
The Eagles were 60-56 winners_after holding DeRuyter to a single point in the four-minute extra_session.
“We controlled the backboards in overtime and held them to one shot, and that helped out,” said McGraw coach Ben Albright, his team now 5-3 on the season.
Ryan Russell had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Evan Emery finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Brad MacLean nine points and 13 rebounds and Tyler Stiles eight points in a balanced Eagles effort.
“That’s always nice to see,” said Albright of the various Eagles contributing to the victory.
DeRuyter (2-8) also spread things around, with Brandon Meacham leading the way with 20 points and eight rebounds. Dustin McClure tossed in 15 points, grabbed a dozen rebounds and blocked eight shots for the Rockets. Dave Revette had seven points and eight assists, while Eric Duncan had six points and seven rebounds.
DeRuyter’s Meacham and McGraw’s MacLean both earned spots on the all-tournament team. Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton beat Tioga in the title game behind tournament MVP Drew Hartman. The winner’s Pete Schmidt and Tioga’s Luke Monell were also all-tournament team selections.
McGraw was a 29-24 halftime leader and built a 42-32 lead midway through the third quarter before DeRuyter bounced back following a timeout.
“During our timeout I told the kids to keep looking for the break, but be decisive with the ball. If it’s not there, reverse the ball and attack the other side,” said DeRuyter coach Kim Brown. “We did a nice job of moving the ball and got some easy baskets.”
DeRuyter pulled to within 42-40 by the end of the third quarter and would move ahead 55-51 late in the fourth period. A Russell free throw cut the lead to 55-52, and after DeRuyter came up empty on its next possession the Eagles pulled even when Emery made a crucial 3-pointer.
DeRuyter’s last possession to break the tie started with McGraw deflecting a pass out of bounds at 0:08. After a timeout, McGraw’s Emery stole the ball and called timeout to give the visitors a final chance. Stiles got off a 28-foot shot that missed the mark at the buzzer and the game went into OT.
Emery and Russell scored baskets for McGraw for a 59-55 lead. After DeRuyter scored its lone OT point on a Dave Revette free throw, MacLean made one of two free throw chances for the game’s final points.
“I was proud of today’s effort. It was not there last night,” said DeRuyter’s Brown, his team first round losers to Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton. “This type of effort will keep us in ball games all year long.”
The Rockets host Morris this evening in a non-league game. McGraw is idle until Saturday’s Coaches vs. Cancer league games at SUNY Morrisville, to face Madison in a 4:30 p.m. match-up.
IN JV PLAY, Tioga defeated DeRuyter in the title game. Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton upended McGraw for third place.