May 5, 2010


Homer stickers walk the Planck

Purple Tigers edge Trojans on goal at 0:05


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Connor Ferrito (left) of Homer and T.J. Bardsely of Cortland High chase after a loose ball Tuesday night at Butts Field.

Staff Writer

On a night when both Cortland High and Homer Central Lacrosse Booster Clubs honored Cortland City Youth Bureau director John McNerney for his contributions towards youth lacrosse, many of those products from the program turned in one of the best varsity games of the current 2010 season.
With five seconds remaining in regulation time, Cortland’s Brandon Planck found an opening and fired in the winning shot that lifted the Purple Tigers to a 13-12 OHSL Freedom Division victory over the host Trojans at Butts Field.
The Purple Tigers improved to 9-3 overall, 6-2 in division play, and avenged an earlier home field loss to their rivals. Homer fell to 7-4, 5-3 division.
“It’s very exciting to beat Homer,” Planck said. “I’ve never been on a team that beat Homer in the spring, fall, summer, whenever. I was just in the right place at the right time.
“Jerrod Mahar made a great defensive play in the final minute,” he continued, denying the Trojans a chance to break this fourth quarter deadlock. “That got us the ball. I was just working to get my arms free when I had the ball. I saw it was time to go. I turned and shot.”
“I was just hoping we would hold on,” Cortland coach John Spallone said as Homer got the ball with two minutes to go. “Our defense came up big. Homer is a good team and they have a very efficient offense. I was nervous, but our kids did a great job on rides and close defense.
“We did get some nice transition goals tonight,” he added. “This was a physically and mentally tough game. Our kids looked at the fourth quarter as ours and they delivered.”
Three times the Purple Tigers overcame two-goal deficits to tie the game. The fourth time they overcame that deficit to take a two-goal lead, only to have Homer rally.
“We had our opportunities,”Homer coach Tom Cottrell said. “The biggest chance we had was in the final minute. We didn’t capitalize and they got the final goal. We controlled the ball very well at times.
“Connor Ferrito had a great game,” he continued. “Both he and Conner Johnston did a good job in the face-off X. It was a real good game between two good teams.”
Homer had a 17-11 edge in faceoffs, and a narrow 34-33 shot edge, in this close contest.
HOMER JUMPED IN front 2-0 as Aaron Darr and Ferrito scored within 53 seconds of each other. Ferrito’s first of five goals came with 9:35 left in the quarter for the 2-0 cushion.
Dan Miller got Cortland on the board with 8:13 left in the quarter before Carl Zimmerman made a great shot while falling down to put the Trojans up 3-1.
T.J. Bardsley rifled a shot home with 3:47 to go in the quarter before Planck blistered the twine on a transition goal one minute later to even the score of 3-3.
The Trojans scored twice in the final minutes of the quarter for a 5-3 advantage. Ferrito scored off an assist from Zimmerman and Zimmerman tallied with Darr assisting.
Cortland held the upper hand in the second quarter by outscoring their host 4-3, but Homer still enjoyed the one-goal advantage at halftime.
Dave Fernandes and Phil Potter hooked up on a pair of goals to knot the score at 5-5. The second of Fernandes’ four goals was a man-up tally with 8:02 left in the half.
Darr put the Trojans ahead 6-5 with 7:14 showing in the half, but the Purple Tigers responded twice. Austan DiIorio converted a pass from Colby Reagan with 5:45 on the clock to tie the game at 6-6. Just 32 seconds later, Josh Tomko found the back of the cage as Cortland took a 7-6 lead.
Ferrito pulled Homer even with 3:14 left in the half and the junior assisted on John Sciera’s go-ahead tally with 1:21 left in the half. Homer went into the break with an 8-7 lead.
Sciera celebrated his 18th birthday by giving the Trojans a 9-7 lead to open the second half, but Cortland scored three unanswered goals to built a 10-9 advantage. Fernandes scored twice and Planck once during the spurt.
Ferrito tied the game at 10-10 with 1:23 left in the third quarter as the stage was set for the final 12 minutes.
CORTLAND’S DiIORIO scored a man-up goal with 10:12 remaining and he completed his hat trick 24 seconds later for a 12-10 Purple Tiger advantage. Bardsley assisted on both goals.
“We have been getting a nice balance in scoring from our attack and midfield,” Spallone said. “All four of our captains (Eric Burch, Mahar, Miller and Planck) set the tone of play and the rest of the team followed. All four had very strong games, especially in the second half.”
Ferrito notched his eighth point of the night with 6:31 to play and the Trojans were close. The Trojans got their only man-up goal with 5:03 to play when Sciera fired a shot inside the left post off an assist for Darr to even the score at 12-12.
After Planck scored the game-winner, Andrew Potter took his only face-off of the night. He won the draw and the ball rolled into open space as the final five seconds ticked off the clock.
Burch made nine saves for the Purple Tigers with Zach Williams making the same number of saves between the pipes for the Trojans.
Cortland and Homer will return to Freedom Division action this coming Tuesday. The Purple Tigers will host Whitesboro at 5 p.m. The Trojans will travel to first place Jamesville-DeWitt for a 7 p.m. clash.