September 9, 2010
Bounce back time for CHS
Two high school football teams who suffered tough season-opening non-league losses in the Carrier Dome last Friday night will clash this Friday night, both trying to turn things around before their respective league seasons start next week.
Cortland High of the Section 3 Class A American Division is coming off a 55-26 loss to Watertown of the Class A National Division and will visit Camden, another Class A National team, at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils dropped a 33-28 loss to A American’s East Syracuse-Minoa at the Dome in Syracuse.
“Camden is very good and runs their system very well,” Purple Tigers coach Dave Darrow said. “They use a lot of misdirection (on offense), and throw the ball well. They have good athletes, especially in the slot with Kevin Davis (5-10, 165-pound senior running back), quarterback (6-0, 190 senior Joe O’Rourke) and cornerback (5-7, 150 senior Jack Keil, also a wide receiver and return man).
“We should be able to run the ball on them. But they made a lot of mistakes against ES-M — they had four turnovers — and should have won by three or four touchdowns. We’ll have to play well, hold onto the ball to keep it away from their offense. One of our problems on a couple drives was the fact that we scored so quickly. We didn’t give the defense any time to rest. Camden is a good return team; they started from their 40- or 45-yard line almost every time.”
“We should have beaten ES-M by three touchdowns,” Camden coach Aaron Fiorini said, not knowing about Darrow’s similar assessment. “We had the four turnovers, but they made more plays than we did and, in the heat of the Dome, weren’t in the shape that we thought we were. We shot ourselves in the foot.
“Cortland is a very physical and big team. We’ll have to play tough football. I think we match up well against them, but we’ll have to hold onto the ball better, break down and tackle,” he added.
Fiorini’s squad runs a spread offense and a 44 defense, and Darrow observed that they’ll sometimes use a five-man front.
“We’ve made big strides (in practice) this week on aligning defensively to various formations,” Darrow said. “Camden’s a well-coached team, and we’ll have to play a lot smarter. We gave up 30 yards in sacks and lost 94 more to penalties. I told the guys that added up, that pretty much negated our whole rushing output for the game.”
CHS rushed for 150 yards against Watertown.
“The way we lost adds to the incentive to win this week. A kid that good makes you look back,” Darrow added, referring to Watertown senior tailback Tevion Cappe who rushed for 195 yards on 14 carries and scored four TDs and also paced the Cyclone defense.
While Cortland came out of its opener in good shape — “No one was hurt, just our pride,” Darrow said — the Blue Devils weren’t as fortunate.
“We lost four starters last week, three in the game and one earlier in practice,” Fiorini said. “We’ll be using this game, as a non-leaguer, to put kids in, find out where they fit and try to get them ready for next week (the league opener against visiting Carthage). We want to win, but really the game means nothing.”
Cortland opens its league season by visiting Jamesville-DeWitt next Friday in a 4:30 p.m. start.
O’Rourke completed 18-of-30 passes for 137 yards and two TDs against ES-M. Keil had both scoring grabs, and overall had four receptions for 42 yards. Davis was Camden’s leading rusher, picking up 103 yards on 10 carries.
Junior quarterback Demon Darrow completed 5-of-7 passes for Cortland for 165 yards and a TD on a 60-yard connection with junior wide receiver Qwuhail Barlow, who had two receptions for 94 yards in all and the TD. Senior tailback Alex Stacy was CHS’s leading rusher with 66 yards on 12 carries, while senior fullback Brian Strough scored two TDs, both from one yard out, and junior fullback Jordan Nemecek had a six-yard scoring run.
While still juggling his roster possibilities, Fiorini said Wednesday that definite starters for his team would be Keil at wide receiver, O’Rourke at quarterback, Colby Stratton (6-0, 160 junior wide receiver-defensive back), Ward Seymour (5-10, 150 sophomore wide receiver-defensive back), Jake Clark (5-8, 165 wide receiver) and two-way linemen Dan Christmas (5-11, 260 senior), Ryan Asch (6-0, 190 senior, can also play linebacker), Jeff Richards (6-0, 210 senior), Cecil Grinnell (6-0, 240 senior) and John Heller (6-2, 255 junior). Staring on defense only will be senior linebacker Tyler LaPlante (5-7, 165) and senior defensive back Gage Baker (5-10, 165).
“We might change up a little on defense and substitute more,” Darrow said. “As for starters, we’ll start Tyler Herndon (5-8, 145 junior) at monster for Devon.”
If the starting lineups are indeed the same for the Purple Tigers, the offense will have Barlow (5-11, 160) at wide receiver, senior Justin Hogan (6-4, 200) at Z-back, junior Seamus Fields (6-3, 330) at left tackle, senior Greg Congdon (5-10, 185) at left guard, junior Kyle Teeter (5-8, 240) at center, senior Dave Fernandes (5-10, 265) at right guard, Nick Reynolds (6-4, 230) at right tackle, senior Justin Tabel (6-1, 210) at tight end, Devon Darrow (5-10, 182) at quarterback, Stacy (5-8, 175) and junior Jonathan Prior (5-10, 160) both seeing time at tailback and Strough (6-0, 190) at fullback.
Defensively, the starters will be junior Ejekiel McGinn (6-0, 220) at left end, Teeter at shading nose guard (nose tackle), Fernandes at right tackle, Tabel at right end, Strough and senior Lucas Bush (5-10, 180) at inside linebacker, junior Dylan Stafford (6-2, 195) and Stacy at outside linebacker, junior Anthony Stento (5-8, 150) at left cornerback, Herndon at Robber and Prior at right cornerback.
Senior Gavin Stage (6-1, 180) will once again do the punting and Fernandes will handle the conversions and kickoffs, with Darrow the holder on conversions. Prior, Herndon and Shakief Rivers 5-9, 185 senior) were the return men against Watertown.
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