August 16, 2011


Tigers get off to soggy start

TigersBob Ellis/staff photographer
Quarterback Devon Darrow hands off to Andrew Potter during opening day of football practice at Cortland High Monday afternoon.

Staff Writer

The defending Section 3 Class A American Division champion Cortland High football team got things back underway Monday with its first practice session for the 2011 season. Despite the wet conditions, things went well on the practice fields behind the stadium, according to Purple Tigers head coach Dave Darrow.
“We went four hours in the rain and did everything we wanted to do,” said Darrow, whose team was perfect in five league games and finished 6-2 overall, losing in the sectional Class A semifinals to eventual champion Whitesboro. “We worked on the things we need to in order to be successful. The only bad thing was that we ruined a lot of footballs.
“We were setting our offense and defense,” he added. “We did some seven-on-seven passing drills and worked on inside running and ran 15 plays live, or as live as you can without pads. We worked on our team offense and defense, too. This is a very good group; I like them They work really hard, just like they did in may when we started. We’re going to be a lot deeper. I figure that last year we had 14 kids who could play all the time, and this season we have 22 or 23. We’ll be a lot deeper than last year and better on special teams, where last year we weren’t as good as we should have been.”
The Purple Tigers came into the first practice ready to go, according to Darrow, who noted: “We went to passing (seven-on-seven tournaments) in Binghamton and Elmira and worked with Dryden, Groton and Lansing with seven-on-seven, and a lineman’s clinic with Binghamton, just concentrating on fundamentals.”
The Purple Tigers head man was also pleased with the turnout on opening day. “We have 28 to 30 kids on the varsity, and 36 or 37 on JV,” he said. “Those are the numbers we expected.”
Changes in state rules from previous seasons that were instituted last season are still in effect. Players are mandated to wear T-shirts, shorts and helmets for the first two days of practice, rather than three. Pads can first be worn on Wednesday and a modified intrasquad scrimmage (“Structured stuff,” Darrow said, “and we’ll have some fun, and watermelon”) will take place Saturday, with the first-team and second-team offenses and defenses going at it in live plays.
Practice with pads will continue next week as a lead-up to the Purple Tigers’ scrimmage with visiting Westhill at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 27 at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. That will be the site of CHS’s first home game, against Whitesboro Sept. 10 in a 6:30 p.m. start, since the renovations to Moiseichik Field will not be completed by that time.
Cortland is slated to host Indian River Sept. 16, the time and site to be determined.
Before those two non-leaguers, the Purple Tigers will open the season — and league play — Sept. 2 at Fulton in a 6:30 p.m. start. The league slate resumes at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 against visiting East Syracuse-Minoa before a non-leaguer at Homer Sept. 30, starting at 7 o’clock. A road game against Fowler at Corcoran starting at 1 p.m. Oct. 8 and a home game against Jamesville DeWitt Oct. 14 starting at 7 p.m. (both are league contests) close out the regular season.
Practice and game sites aren’t a big factor, Darrow said, noting that “Last year we played in the Dome, on the road, at SUNY Cortland, and practiced all over. These kids don’t care. They just want to work. They’ve been on good teams sine they were in seventh and eighth grade and are used to playing well together. We had some success last year, and a lot of good key people who had a lot to do with that are back. I’d say we have at least half of our starters back from last season. The juniors especially are doing a good job of fitting in. They’re tough, blue-collar kids. Overall we’ve got a lot of hard workers and a lot of good skilled players.”
Darrow will also be the offensive coordinator again this season and will be assisted by special teams/lines coach Pete Reif and defensive coordinator Paul Thomas.
Eric Prior is back as the head JV coach and defensive coordinator, assisted by Matt Cavallario (offensive coordinator). Zac Darrow, Dave’s son, is still the head modified coach, assisted by Joe DiSanto, Joe Nicholas and Brandon Galutz.


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