January 28, 2014
Added element to Homer vs. CHS
Rivalry marks Lewis farewell
Expect the usual — which is usually the unexpected — when the Cortland High and Homer Central wrestling teams get together for their annual mat battle Wednesday at Cortland’s Shafer Gymnasium.
This time, though, there’s something of an added element. This will be the last time facing Dave Darrow and his hosting Purple Tigers for Trojans’ coach Jeff Lewis, who is retiring from coaching at the end of the season.
“This one will be the last time I’ll have something invested in this match,” Lewis said of his final dual-meet coaching effort for Homer. “Being a rivalry, it is always a big match. I knew Dave has the edge on me in our matches, but it always seems to be a good match. The kids do get excited for it and I’m sure there will be some added incentive since it is the last time I face Cortland.”
“That doesn’t come into play for me,” Darrow said when asked his thoughts on facing a Lewis-led squad for the last time. “I like Jeff and have a ton of respect for him, but like always I’m concerned with getting my kids ready for the upcoming match. It wouldn’t matter if the pope was coaching the other team.
“Because it’s Homer it will be a little more intense, a madhouse like it always is, but it’s a league match and I have to get my team ready for it, as well as for the Class B and Division II sectional tournaments.”
As for the match itself, Cortland comes in at 3-2 in the OHSL Freedom Division and 22-5 overall, while Homer is 2-3 in the league and 11-10 overall. But as usual with rivalries, records — both team and overall — mean little.
“It’s going to be a good, close match,” said Darrow, who has come out victorious 11 of the 15 times his teams have gone up against Lewis’ Trojans including the last three in a row. “It could go either way, and will depend on who doesn’t get pinned. We’re both pretty strong down below (lower weights), they’re a little stronger in the middle and we’re a little stronger in the upper middle and the top.
“But a little stronger doesn’t mean anything’s for sure. There’s not one weight class that’s a guaranteed win for either team,” he adds. “Definitely some people will be favored to win, but that’s not necessarily been what’s happened. I like how we’re wrestling. We’re getting better all the time. But how we wrestle against Homer, who knows? It’s about point conservation and winning more weight classes. Whoever wins eight or nine (of the 15 classes) — and it won’t be much different than that — should win, depending on how many pins there are.”
As for this encounter, Lewis is down one key guy.
“I would like to have a healthy roster, but Drew Becker is done for the season,” Lewis said. “We are a little more set in our line-up and we do have that one hole at 132 that we haven’t been able to fill all season. Could I try something different to fill that gap? Yes, but it would effect some guys as far as the post-season goes so I don’t want to change that now.”
Lewis will have the following starters: 99 pounds- freshman Tristin Brown (10-12); 106- sophomore Isaac Cline (14-4, 6 pins); 113- sophomore Cameron Cronk (25-7, 15 pins); 120- junior Collin Baker (18-16, 5 pins) or sophomore Jacob Cline (13-10, 7 pins); 126- Baker or Cline; 132- forfeit; 138- junior Zach Egan (12-20, 6 pins); 145- senior Matt Norris (33-0, 11 pins); 152- senior Eric Petrie (31-4, 11 pins); 160- senior Dakota O’Gorman (14-9, 6 pins); 170- sophomore Mark Currie (6-5, 5 pins); 182- sophomore Nick Kinney (9-13, 7 pins); 195- sophomore Dylan Hotchkiss (16-11, 10 pins); 220- sophomore Jeremiah Bush (9-15, 4 pins); 285- freshman Reno Gaffney (6-14, 2 pins).
Darrow noted that his starting lineup is still somewhat iffy due to illness and other factors, but tentatively listed it this way: 99 pounds- sophomore Mike Bay (28-7 with 14 pins); 106- sophomore Trent Jones (25-10, 3 pins); 113- freshman Dane George (17-14, 11 pins) or freshman Sam Gleason (3-1, 2 pins); 120- sophomore Ian George (16-13, 5 pins) or sophomore Jake Smith (13-13, 6 pins); 126- Whoever doesn’t go at 120, or sophomore Andrew Boyce (3-4, 1 pin); 132- junior Drew Towers (25-10, 17 pins); 138- senior Alec Edwards (17-16, 5 pins); 145- sophomore Russell Gerhard (5-5, 1 pin) or junior Grant Tinker (27-10, 9 pins); 152- freshman Schuyler Miller (1-6, no pins); 160- freshman Dakotah Miller (16-10, 12 pins); 170- senior Mike Southwick (33-2, 21 pins); 182- junior Chase Bentley (19-17, 8 pins); 195- junior Nic Edmond (21-14, 5 pins); 220- senior Greg Brown (16-10, 8 pins); 285- senior Marcus Minix (6-15, no pins).
“It is different being my final match,” Lewis said knowing there is still the post-season to come. “I’m not sure how it will hit me. I do know that I’ve enjoyed coaching and the matches against Dave have been special many times.
“We are a bit different in our styles of coaching,” he continued. “He does do things differently, but he gets the kids to come out and the staff he needs to be successful and that’s what matters. Dave has done a great job. We do like to push each other’s buttons, but in the end, there is certainly a mutual respect for each other.”
Asked about a specific memory of Lewis from their long history, Darrow instead noted that “Jeff is a good man and has been a friend of mine for a long time. He does a nice job of coaching, both wrestling and football (at Groton). I have a world of respect for him and I like how he runs his programs. I think a lot of him.
“He’s a competitor and wants to win, and gets his kids to work and wrestle hard.”
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe