August 30, 2010
Solid Cortland effort in scrum
Coach Dave Darrow feels good about the 2010 version of his Cortland High football team after what he saw in its scrimmage against Westhill Saturday morning at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
“Westhill’s a very good team, and we played well against them,” said Darrow, whose Purple Tigers open the season with a non-leaguer against Watertown at 8 p.m. Friday in the Carrier Dome. “We went with basic stuff on offense. There can’t be too many teams that are better defensively than that, and we moved the ball well. We were on defense to start things, and I don’t think they gained a yard on us in their first six or seven plays. Our defense was pretty good, I thought.
“We only had one offensive penalty and one turnover, an interception on a 10-play series on a goal-line play that we wouldn’t have tried in a game in a situation like that. No one got hurt for us, and we look to be in good physical shape, too.”
The teams alternated running 10 offensive plays each, starting with their first teams before the second teams came out for their own 10-play series. Then each team used mixed groups for the next set of 10 plays each before the first teams wound the 10-play series up, followed by some down-and-distance scenarios and some extra-point conversion kicks to close things out. Darrow noted that CHS ended up scoring three touchdowns in all, two by the first team and one by the second, to two for Westhill, one each by the first and second teams.
“It was just a good effort by everyone,” Darrow said. “Both teams had around 35 kids, so it worked out well and everyone got to play. We didn’t show a lot of our passing offense. We used a balanced attack and I think we’ll open it up a bit more (in the regular season). But we were still able to move the ball. We got very good play from both the offensive and defensive lines. This is the third year we’ve used this offense, a 44 Robber, and the kids know it now.
“I think when you go against one team in a scrimmage, and it’s a good one like Westhill, it helps you. Playing a team or two that aren’t that good doesn’t help.”
Friday’s game against Watertown is officially a home game for Cortland. Due to ongoing renovations at Moiseichik Field, the Purple Tigers will also play both of their remaining regular-season home games at SUNY Cortland. They host Oswego on Sept. 24 and Fulton on Oct. 15, both games starting at 7 p.m.
“We didn’t have any problems on the turf,” Darrow said of the scrimmage, the Purple Tigers displaced from their former natural grass field. “Our shoes worked well on it. The turf at the Dome is a little nicer, and Camden (which CHS visits in a 7 p.m. start a week from Friday) has an old carpet, so that will be different.”
The remainder of the regular season consists of road games against Jamesville DeWitt on Sept. 17 (4:30 p.m. start), East Syracuse-Minoa Oct. 1 (6:30 p.m.) and Mexico Oct. 9 (7 p.m.).
Darrow said that he would get the tape of Watertown’s Saturday scrimmage with Oswego on Sunday and meet with his coaching staff later in the day to begin game-planning for the Cyclones. “We won’t change a lot of what we do,” he said of the upcoming week of practice, “except that now we’ll run their offense against our defense and play their defense against our offense. We have the same colors, but they’re going to be in purple jerseys and pants and we’ll be in white jerseys and pants (both teams wear purple helmets), and the contrast will help our quarterbacks.
“East Syracuse-Minoa plays Camden in the first game Friday (6 p.m.), so we’ll watch the first half of that, since we play both teams later, then go in, get ready and warmed up and then go out and play,” he added. “Section 3 has said that there will be 20 minutes between the end of the first game and the kickoff of the second. At this point, we’re a little ahead of where I thought we’d be. I’m happy with where we are. Last year we were banged up going in. We’ll be ready to play Friday night.”
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