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March 27, 2009

 

Trojans open with test

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

The 2009 high school lacrosse season has arrived and Homer Central boys are ready to get started.
Tom Cottrell will begin his ninth season as head coach Saturday as the Trojans host Jamesville-DeWitt at 3 p.m. in a non-league contest on the George W. Butts Field carpet. Homer is coming off an 18-3 season that ended in the Section 3, Class C semifinals.
“We have had a great preseason,” said Cottrell. “The kids have been working hard and we have done a lot. The guys are looking forward to playing in a game situation.
“Jamesville-DeWitt will tell us where we are at,” he continued. “This will be a good test, a great challenge for us and a great way to start the season.”
The Trojans will return five starters, with the biggest hit coming on defense.
“We do have some holes to fill and we need some guys to step up into leadership roles,” stated Cottrell. “We were young last year and we are young this year, but some of those youngsters do have some varsity experience.”
The spot Homer is thin is at attack, where there are just four players, but three of those four were among the top five in scoring . Heading that group is junior Carl Zimmerman, who exploded onto the scene as a sophomore with 73 goals and 24 assists for a team-leading 97 points. Zimmerman earned first-team all-star status in 2008. Also returning is senior tri-captain Paul Armideo (29 goals-18 assists) and junior John Sciera (19g-6a). The newcomer on attack is junior Kyle Davis, who moves up from the junior varsity ranks.
“We do expect to have a lot of firepower this season,” said Cottrell.
At midfield, the Trojans have some returning experience. Those returnees are junior Aaron Darr (26g-6a), senior Bennett Quinlan (4g-3a), junior Luke Pedersen (5g-2a) and sophomore Connor Ferrito (8g-7a). Moving up from the JVs squad and expected to fill-in as defensive middies are juniors Brett Stokoe, Jaydon Kiernan, Nate Crawford and Demitrius Nelson.
While Homer is inexperienced on the defensive side of the ball, two very good players to return to provide the anchors. In goal, first-team all-star Paul Zimmerman steps back between the pipes. The senior made 237 saves and sported a 5.80 goals-against average while playing over 900 minutes.
Also returning as a defensive starter from 2008 is senior Mike Park. Zimmerman and Park are the other two tri-captains. Other returning defenders include senior Matt Sharpe, senior Kyle Griffin and senior Caleb Earl. Moving up from the junior varsity are juniors Ryan Murray, John McCall and Christopher McGee, plus sophomore Cody Sandy, who will also handle the long-stick midfield duties.
Rounding out the 2009 roster is a newcomer to lacrosse. Carter O’Gorman is a junior and he will work in on the defensive side for the Trojans.
Homer will be part of OHSL Division II this season, which is the larger Section 3, Class C school. The Trojans will have home-and-home series will fellow Division II opponents Cazenovia, Jordan-Elbridge, Marcellus, Skaneateles and Westhill.
“These is a tough division,” said Cottrell. “Skaneateles is the defending sectional champion. Westhill is also very good and Marcellus should have a solid team.”
The Trojans also have one game each with the OHSL Division III teams, which are the smaller Class C schools. Those opponents are Bishop Ludden, LaFayette, Manlius-Pebble Hill, Onondaga, Syracuse CBA and Tully.
In addition to the season-opening non-league match against Jamesville-DeWitt, Homer will face non-league rival Cortland High.
“Class C is loaded, but our goal is to repeat at league champion,” said Cottrell. “We will then see how far we can go is sectionals.”
One thing Homer as working in its favor is a superb coaching staff. Joining Cottrell on the varsity are assistant coaches Mark Ferrito, Dave Basile, Rich Cecconi and newcomer Matt Cutia, a former standout for the Trojans, who is number-two on the all-time scoring list.
Nick Patriarco and Geoff Sorenson head the JV staff with Justin Teter and Chad Totman assisting, while the Modifieds have Richie Barnes back in the fold with Chris Moore.
“We do have a very good coaching staff at all three levels,” said Cottrell. “Your coaches are only as good as your players and we are very fortunate to have kids who want to listen and learn. We have the coaches in place to teach the kids a lot about the game from the junior high level on up.”