August 28, 2006
Scrimmage tests for Purple Tigers, Homer gridders
Cortland effort pleases Brown
Head coach Jim Brown and his staff got their first complete look at the Cortland High football squad Saturday in a scrimmage against visiting Camden, and liked what they saw.
“It was a good scrimmage,” Brown said afterwards. “I was really happy with a lot of things. There are a lot of things we can build on and a few things we need to iron out, mostly correctable mental mistakes.
“All the kids got a lot of playing time and they all played hard,” he added, CHS with 16 newcomers on its 26-player active roster. “The next step is to look at the film and evaluate it.”
Brown planned to do that later Saturday as the first step in preparing for Friday’s 7 p.m. season-opener against visiting Jamesville-DeWitt.
The scrimmage began with the first-team offense from each school running 10 plays against the opposing first-team defense before the second teams did the same thing. Then the first- and second-team offenses from both squads ran situational plays against the corresponding opposing defenses, with a team surrendering the ball if it failed to get a first down in four plays. Finally, the second-team offenses from each school ran another series apiece to finish things up.
“The first-team offense was able to move the ball well; I was very happy with them,” Brown said. “They did a good job of blocking, holding their blocks, held onto the ball and did a good job passing and receiving. We didn’t have any turnovers, but there were some penalties. The defense’s tackling was good, and their level of intensity was very good. We saw some nice things.
“The second team started out slowly, but had two long drives to score as the scrimmage went on. As things got better they developed confidence. Overall Camden didn’t score, while we were able to score two or three times. At this point you expect the defense to be a little ahead of the offense.”
Brown noted that many of his players had good days, singling out junior end Steve Wright, who caught a touchdown pass, and Chris Fernandes, a junior two-way lineman who the Purple Tiger coach said “had a good scrimmage; we were really impressed.
“It was a good team effort and_we also came out healthy, with no injuries.”
It marked the third straight year that CHS and the Blue Devils had met in a scrimmage, the last two having been on Camden’s artificial turf. “It’s much better to be at home,” Brown said with a laugh, “especially because it gives me more time to look at the film this afternoon rather than having to sit on a bus for a couple of hours getting home.
“And all of our games except one (at Homer) are on grass, so playing the scrimmage on grass helped us.”
In the past the Purple Tigers have been involved in multi-team scrimmages, and Brown noted that there are positive and negative aspects of going against just one team.
“You can do whatever you want and guys can get a lot of work,” he said. “With more than two teams involved there’s time spent changing fields and maybe standing around. This way everyone can get more reps. And there’s only one coach to deal with when it comes to how things are going to be run.
“But you only get to see one offense and one defense; it might be nice to see different things that teams might throw at us.”
Brown planned to watch the film of the scrimmage and meet J-D coach Dennis Schahczenski for a film exchange Saturday afternoon. The CHS coaching staff planned to get together early Sunday morning at Brown’s house to watch film of J-D’s scrimmage at Oneida and work on a game plan.
To start off today’s practice session (from 3:15 to 7:15 p.m.), the Purple Tiger squad and coaches were to watch the scrimmage film together and discuss their concerns before also viewing the J-D tape to give the players an idea about the game plan. A walk-through featuring things the Red Rams do and correctable mistakes was to follow, and those two topics are also to be the highlights of practice on Tuesday (3:30-8 p.m.) as things get more intense leading up to the opener.
“The tough thing about starting with a league (Section 3 Class A American) game is that you don’t have any games to warm up,” Brown said. “In the past, starting with a non-league game or two, no matter what happened you were 0-0 when the league games, the ones that really count, began. Now we get right into it, right away.”
Homer shows good moments
The final preparations towards the 2006 Section 3 Class B West Division football home opener Friday against Skaneateles began Saturday for Homer Central.
The defending sectional champion Trojans hosted a multi-team scrimmage with five other schools on the George W. Butts Field carpet and adjacent grass practice field.
While three of the teams were upcoming season foes — Marcellus, Phoenix, Solvay — the Trojans only saw the Mustangs in action. Homer and Marcellus met in the first session before the Trojans tackled perennial Class D powerhouse Onondaga and former B West opponent Bishop Ludden, who is a Class C school for the 2006 season, in its three 45-minute sessions. Each rotation saw both teams run 10 offensive and 10 defensive plays twice (20 total plays each way), so every player saw valuable playing time on the field.
Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik explained how the division foes matched-up for the scrimmages.
“The coaches all looked at who they played latest in the season and that is the team they scrimmaged. We don’t see Marcellus until the sixth week so we faced them and that is how we matched up some of the combinations,” he said.
Solvay and Phoenix, who meet in week eight, met in round two while Phoenix and Marcellus, week five opponents, squared off in the final session and were the only B West foes to scrimmage a division opponent twice. Every team got at least one rotation on the Butts field carpet.
As for what he saw on the field and on the tapes afterwards?
“I saw a number of good things and some things we need to work on,” said Podsiedlik, who enters his 17th year at the Trojan helm. “Our running game looked good, but we did have some problems with fumbles. The passing game was also looking pretty good. (Coaches) Tom Cottrell and Jim Luchsinger have done a good job of getting the guys ready to this point and I know they have more things that they want to work on before the Skaneateles game.
“We do need some work of defense, especially our pass defense, but I expected that to a certain degree. We have spent 60 to 70 percent of our pre-season working on offense so, now, we will begin to focus more on defense. We won’t be a dominating defense like last year, but it is one that will change and evolve as the season progresses. The biggest problem I saw Saturday was not the positioning. The guys knew their assignments and they knew what to do, but they were not finishing their tackles. They were not going violently to the ball. That was a trademark of our defense last year. We are still a little raw and green right now, but that will change.
“The biggest thing that we accomplished Saturday was that everyone got a lot of snaps on offense and defense. That was very important because the coaches all got a chance to see how players reacted to every situation they faced,” he concluded.
Some returning players that drew the biggest praise from Coach Podsiedlik were senior quarterback-safety Tristan Hartnett and senior tailback-linebacker Mark Brenchley.
“Tristan has come into the season with a great attitude and is proving to be a great leader,” Podsiedlik said. “Tristan has a strong arm and he just needs to settle his feet a little more. He throws the ball best when he plants his feet and then throws.
“All our running backs have come a long ways, Mark is such a physical and tenacious player on both sides of the ball. He will be another one of our leaders.”
Senior linemen Zach Morgan, Mike DiOrio and Jon Morrison, plus senior tight end/wideout/linebacker Mike Carboine and senior tailback/Z-back/linebacker Jon Galeotti also drew high marks.
There were also some new faces that really drew the attention of Coach Podsiedlik. Junior offensive/defensive linemen Chris Crossway and Kyle Sandy were two of the names mentioned as was junior wideout/cornerback Talon Sprouse, who moves to football from soccer.
“All the guys had good moments and bad moments, but I know we can’t mention everyone,” Podsiedlik said. “Jon Galeotti has really been working hard and Jon Morrison has really increased his foot speed, especially on the defensive side. This will be an interesting week to see which guys really solidify a starting spot for our opening game. There will be some great battles for playing time all season long and that should help us to improve each week.
“The biggest thing we need to work on is our intensity. That is something that we really cannot teach. That development will be up to the kids.”
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Bernie’s bat bashes Angels
Associated Press/Jae C. Hong
New York Yankees’ Bernie Williams watches the flight of his double during the seventh inning Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Bernie Williams stood in the visiting clubhouse at Angel Stadium last October after his Yankees lost in the AL division series, unsure whether he’d play another game for New York.
The Angels are sorry he played in this one.
Williams homered twice and drove in six runs, and Derek Jeter also hit two home runs Sunday as the Yankees ended their longest road trip of the season with an 11-8 victory over Los Angeles.
“At this stage of my career, I just wanted to come out here and have fun,” said Williams, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract in December to play a 16th season with the Yankees.
“This year has taught me a lot. So obviously, I’ve got to be ready for anything. It was a great day because I’ve been playing a limited amount of time over the last couple of years. So in my mind, I was due for a day like this,” he said.
Jeff Karstens earned his first major league win, helping the AL East leaders salvage the series finale. The Yankees went 7-4 on their three-city swing, which started with an emotionally-draining five-game sweep at Boston.
Williams had four hits in his first multihomer game since Aug. 26, 2005, against Kansas City. He also doubled home two runs in the seventh and singled in the fourth.
“Bernie accepted the fact that if he was back, he was going to take on a role like this, and it took him a little time to come to terms with that,” manager Joe Torre said. “But Bernie had expressed interest to be back, and I knew financially, it wouldn’t be a burden for the Yankees.”
Jeter homered twice in a game for the eighth time in his career and first time since June 18, 2005, against the Chicago Cubs. Robinson Cano also had four hits for New York.
Adam Kennedy had three hits for the Angels, who trailed 8-0 by the third inning.
“I’m a little angry with the Angels. At least they can let us have one once in a while without making us work so hard,” Torre said. “They don’t quit. They keep coming at you. The score doesn’t matter to them.”
Karstens (1-0) won in his second major league start, allowing three runs and six hits over six innings. The 23-year-old righty was born less than three years before Williams signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent on Sept. 13, 1985.
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