August 31, 2006
Cortland, Homer have high hopes
Youthful Purple Tigers play host to J-D Friday
Coach Jim Brown looks at the 2006 version of the Cortland High football team, which opens its season by hosting Jamesville-DeWitt at 7 p.m. Friday at Moiseichik Field, two ways.
“We’re a very young team, not a veteran one by any stretch, but we’ve got good talent,” he said as he got ready to enter his ninth season at the helm of the Purple Tigers. “It’s a good group of kids to work with, enthusiastic and coachable. The core kids are pretty solid and they’ll be the nuts and bolts, the glue, of the team.
“But we’ve only got eight seniors; it’s going to take some time,” he adds, CHS with 10 players on the 26-man active roster back from a year ago. “The biggest thing is for us to stay healthy. If we do that we can be a good team, but at a lot of positions we don’t have experienced subs.”
CHS lost 16 players to graduation. They included:
— First-team All-Section 3 A American Division linebacker Mike DeGouff (team Defensive MVP), also an offensive lineman.
— John Paul Eberenz-Rosero (honorable mention all-league), who led the team in rushing (492 yards on 109 carries with three touchdowns) from his halfback slot, was also the top kickoff and punt returner, tied for the team lead in scoring with 36 points and was a defensive back.
— Starting quarterback and second-team all-league linebacker Nick Reisweber (team Offensive MVP), who was 44-for-141 passing for 534 yards and two TDs, picked up 165 yards on 83 carries and scored six rushing TDs for 36 points to tie Eberenz-Rosero for team scoring honors.
— Second-team all-league center Dave Ryan.
— End/defensive backs Mike Catalano (team Coaches’ Award) and Brett Wright.
In addition, senior running back/defensive end Nick Becker (6-0, 195 pounds; first-team all league at DE in ‘05) is out for the season and junior end/defensive back Brian Sypher (5-9, 135) may be lost for the year with knee and shoulder injuries, respectively, unrelated to football.
Leading the cast of returnees are 2005 starters Kaywon Pittman (6-2, 170 pounds) and Codi Clayton (6-0, 150), both at split end/cornerback; halfback-end/linebacker Brian Benford (5-11, 165); fullback/linebacker Derek Goodwin (5-10, 230) and fullback-lineman/defensive end Jon Wood (5-11, 205). All five are seniors; Pittman, Benford, Goodwin and Wood all were all-league honorable mentions.
The other veterans are senior defensive back/running back Jay Hartnett (5-10, 155), senior quarterback/safety Tim Fulton (5-8, 140), junior quarterback/defensive back A.J. Meldrim (5-10, 155), junior guard-defensive end Chris Fernandes (6-0, 190) and junior two-way lineman Matt Pitcher (6-5, 230).
Hartnett, Pittman and Wood are the captains, with a fourth captain to be named for each game.
Newcomers who have particularly impressed Brown so far include junior fullback-halfback/linebacker Coty Cute (6-0, 175), junior guard/defensive lineman-linebacker Brad Rogers (6-0, 230), junior offensive tackle/defensive lineman Dan McMillen (5-5, 210; transfer from Dryden), senior guard-defensive tackle Keith Sherman (6-0, 225), junior split end/defensive back Steve Wright (5-11, 140; Brett’s brother) and sophomore defensive tackle/guard Dan Foster (5-8, 165).
Also new to the team this year — Brown noted that all could come along to reach the level of the five previously mentioned — are senior two-way lineman Marc Hamilton (6-1, 300) and nine juniors, including Carlos Ferrer (running back/defensive back; 5-6, 140), Nate Thomas (defensive back/running back; 5-8, 145), Tyler Soprano (guard/linebacker; 5-10, 170), Brett Miller (center/defensive tackle; 5-8, 175) and Kyle Peterson (guard/defensive line; 5-10, 175).
Also included on the list of junior newcomers are Mitch Gleason (defensive tackle/center; 6-3, 325), Will Fickenscher (tight end/linebacker; 6-0, 155), Justin Carter (tight end/defensive back; 6-0, 180) and Lane Day (split end/cornerback; 5-7, 150).
Brown noted that Gleason and Hamilton are the two largest players he’s ever coached.
The Purple Tigers will be diverse in their offensive and defensive looks this season, according to Brown. “We’ll use a lot of different offenses — the Wing-T, the Multiple-I, the Spread, we’ll run all of them, a little bit of everything,” he said. “In the past we’ve been a real good passing team; this year we hope to do a lot of both passing and running.
“We’ll go with both odd and even defenses — 4-2, 5-2, maybe 5-3. But whatever we run out of we’re going to be very aggressive and will attack on both sides of the ball.”
Brown listed the following as his starting lineups for Friday’s 7 p.m. season-opener against visiting Jamesville-DeWitt, stressing things were subject to change depending on formations run and other factors:
OFFENSE — Fulton at quarterback, Wood at fullback, one or two among Benford, Cute, Goodwin, Thomas and Hartnett at halfback, one, two or three among Pittman, Clayton, Wright and Day at split end, Fickenscher at tight end, Miller at center, Rogers and Sherman the guards, McMillen and Pitcher the tackles.
DEFENSE — Gleason, Foster and Rogers vying for the two tackle slots, Wood and Sherman or Pitcher at defensive end, Goodwin, Benford and Cute at linebacker, Clayton and Pittman the cornerbacks and Thomas and Hartnett (who Brown called the defensive leader) at safety.
SPECIAL TEAMS — Clayton the punter and kicker, Thomas the holder, Fulton and Hartnett the long and short snappers, respectively with Pittman, Benford and perhaps Thomas on kickoff and punt returns.
“We want to get to the playoffs and have a home playoff game,” Brown said of the team’s goals for the upcoming season. As for the A American race, he said that “East Syracuse-Minoa had a good young team last year and Fulton will be improved (the two shared the championship last season), Jamesville-DeWitt has a lot back and Mexico (up from Class B last fall) is a solid team. If everything works out for us, we’ll be right in the mix; that’s what we want, to have a shot.”
Also in the league this season are Chittenango and Oswego, the latter a provisional team from Class AA that is ineligible for the league championship or the playoffs.
Pete Reif and Joe Nicholas are Brown’s assistants, with Eric Prior and Paul Thomas the junior varsity coaches. Brian Tasselmyer, Joe DiSanto and Dave Darrow make up the modified squad’s staff.
SEPT. 1- JAMESVILLE-DEWITT, 7; 8- at Mexico, 7; 15- *at Homer, 7; 22- OSWEGO, 7; 29- at East Syracuse-Minoa, 6:30.
OCT. 6- CHITTENANGO, 7; 13- at Fulton, 6; 20- Playoffs/Crossover, TBD; 27- Playoffs/Crossover, TBD.
*- Non-league game. Home games in CAPS.
Trojans learning quickly
Two weeks of preparations are over and the chase for another Section 3 Class B championship will begin Friday as Homer Central football plays host to Skaneateles. The season opener will kickoff at George W. Butts Field at 7 p.m.
The Trojans are the defending Class B champions and, despite the loss of a number of key players, there are some media outlets that are predicting that Gary Podsiedlik’s 17th season at the helm will produce a B West title and, possibly, another sectional title.
Some of the key losses among the 20 graduated seniors are: All-CNY co-player of the year Dustin Morris, who rushed for 2,067 yards and 20 touchdowns; All-CNY first-team linebacker/fullback Brian McDermott; All-CNY second-team offensive lineman Angelo Catalano; All-CNY third-team offensive lineman Nick Comfort and B West first-team all-star quarterback Vinnie Seibel.
Despite those, and other, losses, Coach Podsiedlik likes what he has seen in the last two weeks of pre-season workouts.
“Pre-season has been amazing,” said Podsiedlik. “We are still looking for some intensity, especially on the defensive side, but our learning rate has been higher. The biggest thing is that the kids have learned and are doing things right. We may be a little raw in spots, but the kids are in the right positions. We saw that in the watermelon bowl tapes and the scrimmage tapes.
“The kids were really willing to learn. They were coming in early if they had questions. All the guys really worked hard to know what needs to be done on the field.”
Coach Podisedlik explained why the players were learning so quickly the past two weeks.
“It was because there was plenty of coaching help. Having such an experienced staff is so important. Tom Cottrell, Jim Whidden, Jim Luchsinger have been around the program so many years now. We have gotten the extra help from JV coaches Troy Humphrey, Geoff Sorenson and Brian Hart, plus Junior High coaches Mark Ferrito and Mark Bertram. Add in volunteer coaches Joey Eells, David Podsiedlik (his son), Tyler Zysk and John McGrath and we had a lot of people helping with drills and conditioning. We were really able to get a lot done because of all the help.”
Offensively, the reins are now in the hands of Tristan Hartnett, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior, with a strong arm and quick feet. Hartnett was a back-up in 2005 and is ready to step into a full-time starting role. Juniors Will Connery (5-8, 150) and Mike Carboine (6-5, 220) will be in the wings, but they won’t be on the bench. Carboine, who was third on the QB depth chart in 2005 as well, has moved from split end (X-back) to tight end for 2006 and provides a big target for Hartnett to throw to. Connery will be the starting halfback (Z-back) after playing on the JV team in 2005.
Junior Jay Riley (5-10, 165) and Jake Smith (5-10, 185) move up from the JV ranks and will share the fullback duties while returning seniors Mark Brenchley (5-8, 160) and Jon Galeotti (6-1, 175) will handle the duties at tailback.
Added depth in the backfield will be supplied by junior Asa Spencer at fullback and senior Joe Riley, junior Frank DeAngles, junior Mac Brown and junior Gavin Mager at tailback. Matt Salisbury (senior) was also listed on the depth chart at fullback/linebacker, but he is out for the season with a broken fibula.
The spilt end (X-back) will find newcomers Talon Sprouse (junior, 6-0, 170) and returning senior Dylan Calale (5-11, 170) splitting time. Sprouse is coming over to football from soccer. Junior Matt Everts is up from the JVs and bring depth to the split end position.
Backing up Connery at Z-back are Galeotti and senior newcomer Paul Fedele while juniors Franco Giordano, Justin Hartnett, Lance Graffius and Dillon Busby could spell Carboine at tight end. Calale and junior Matt Everts will provide depth at split end.
The offensive line has three returning stalwarts in seniors Mike DiOrio (5-11, 225), Jon Morrison (6-1, 210) and Zach Morgan (6-3, 275). DiOrio moves from tight end to center while Morgan and Morrison anchor the left guard and left tackle spots, respectively. Junior Kyle Sandy (5-10, 225) has won the starting right guard spot while junior Chris Crossway (6-3, 300) and senior Trevor O’Gorman (6-0, 205) will rotate at right tackle.
Additional line help will come from senior Mike Brown (LT), Busby (LT), junior Wil Gross (LT), Spencer (LG), O’Gorman (C-RT), junior Sean McSherry (C-RG) and Justin Hartnett (RT).
The Trojans 3-5 defense front will be anchored by senior Elijah Vaber (6-0, 180) at nose guard with Morgan at tackle and DiOrio at end. There will be plenty of rotating help at all three positions from Mike Brown, Gross, Sandy, Crossway, McSherry and O’Gorman.
On the strong side, Brenchley is the outside linebacker (gator) with Carboine at inside backer (shark) with Galeotti the weak-side outside linebacker (dog) and Smith is inside (wolf). The middle linbacker (mack) is Morrison. Brenchley was a B-West second-team defensive all-star at outside linebacker in 2005.
Depth is provided by Fedele and Justin Hartnett at gator; Spencer (shark); Graffius (mack), Jay Riley and Busby (wolf); with Giordano and Everts at dog.
In the secondary, Connery in the strong-side corner with Calale at the quick (weak) side corner. Tristan Hartnett is the free safety, DeAngles and Mager could see time at the strong corner while Sprouse and Mac Brown will fill-in at the quick corner. Joe Riley will spell Hartnett at free safety.
When it comes to special teams, Sprouse will handle the kick-off, field goal/extra point and punting duties. Calale and Smith could help with the kicking duties and Calale could handle the punting duties. DiOrio returns as the long-snapper with O’Gorman, Carboine and McSherry as back-ups with the deep-man on punt returns being Brenchley with depth provided by Tristan Hartnett and Connery. Brenchley is also the deep center man on kickoff returns with Connery and Galeotti on his wings.
Hartnett, Brenchley, DiOrio and Morgan will serve as the team’s captain.
Every game on the 2006 schedule is a B West contest, except for Sept. 15 when the Trojans host neighboring rival Cortland High as Butts Field. That night will also see the next class of honorees inducted into the Homer Schools Athletic Hall of Fame.
Following Skaneateles, Homer must face division foes Phoenix, Solvay, Westhill, Marcellus and Jordan-Elbridge. How does Coach Podsiedlik see the competition in the B West Division in 2006?
“I really think it is a wide open division,” he predicted. “Everyone lost some key players and, each weekend, either team will be capable of winning. We certainly want to win the division and go after another sectional title, but it is not going to be as easy for us as some people think it will be. We have some work to do, but the guys are ready and we take that first step Friday night.”
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Yankees unable to finish sweep of Detroit
Associated Press photos
Detroit Tigers' Craig Monroe follows through on a three-run home run during the ninth inning of baseball action in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday at Yankee Stadium and then gestures to the crowd as New York catcher Sal Fasano looks on. The Tigers won the game 5-3
NEW YORK — With Detroit one out from getting swept in a doubleheader by the New York Yankees, Craig Monroe gave the Tigers another of the comeback wins that have defined their season.
Monroe’s three-run homer off Scott Proctor with two outs in the ninth lifted the Tigers to a 5-3 victory Wednesday night, preventing Detroit’s dwindling lead in the AL Central from getting sliced to 31/2 games.
“Let’s be honest, that was a big win,” Monroe said.
Chien-Ming Wang tied Toronto’s Roy Halladay and Jon Garland of the Chicago White Sox for the major league lead with his 16th win in the day game, combining on a four-hitter in a 2-0 victory. And New York had rallied from a two-run deficit in the nightcap.
But with Mariano Rivera unavailable after finishing the day game and Yankees manager Joe Torre unwilling to test Kyle Farnsworth’s achy back, New York brought in Scott Proctor for the ninth.
Seeking his first major league save, Proctor (5-4) walked Brandon Inge with one out. After fouling off a pair of 3-2 pitches with two outs, Curtis Granderson took ball four. Monroe turned on the next pitch, a weak slider, and drove it to left-center for his 23rd homer. It was his 10th homer from the seventh inning on with the lead or deficit two runs or less.
“We’ve been doing it all year,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “We have a good team. We’re not a fluke.”
Detroit won for the seventh time this year when trailing after eight innings, and the home run made Marilyn Monroe very happy. Craig’s mother, who lives in Texarkana, Texas, was visiting New York for the first time, and he was disappointed he had gone 0-for-4 in the opener.
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