September 9, 2013
Dome romp for Trojans
Sink Phoenix 52-6 in opener
Rich Barnes/contributing photographer
Homer Central’s Chris Brown jars the ball loose from Phoenix quarterback Billy Ostrander (2) during the Trojans’ 52-6 season-opening romp at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome on Sunday.
SYRACUSE — Led by game MVP Chris Brown, Homer Central rolled to an impressive opening day victory in the final football game of the High School Kickoff Classic Sunday.
Brown ran for 118 yards and one touchdown on just four carries as the Trojans overpowered Phoenix 52-6 inside Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome. It was the Section 3 Class B West Division opener for both schools.
“It was really a team effort. We’ were pumped up and hope to go Dome to Dome. That’s our goal,” said Brown, hoping Homer can return to this same site in the playoffs. “I was hoping my line would give me some holes and they did. It was still a team effort. I thank those guys for that and I did what I could.”
“There was a lot of positive effort,” Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “We wanted to be 1-0 after the first game and we are. We got a lot of guys a chance to go against the Phoenix first unit to see want they could do and can they help us down the road.
“It was a chance to see what our depth looks like,” he continued. “We got depth at the sill positions. We may have shown we have a little more depth on the offensive line.”
Phoenix gained a total of one yard in its first possession and punted to Homer, but it took just two plays for the Trojans to get on the scoreboard. Brown ran 51 yards on the first play from scrimmage from the Homer 36 to the Phoenix 13-yard line. Alec Bush took the next hand-off from quarterback Drew Cottrell and raced those final 13 yards after a nice cutback to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead with the help of Joel Christopher’s PAT kick. That score came with 9:43 left in the first quarter.
On the next offensive series, the Firebirds lost 21 yards —including a holding penalty — and punted from their own seven yard line. Jayden Gavidia fielded the punt at the Phoenix 34 and returned it for another touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 6:44 left in the quarter.
After a Phoenix fumble at its own 47 that Drew Becker recovered for the Trojans, Chris Birchenough capped a six-play drive with a one-yard plunge and a 20-0 Homer lea with 3:31 left in the first quarter,
The Trojans defense continued to push Phoenix backwards on offense. The Trojans took over at the Phoenix 42 after a short punt. Brown took the hand-off on the first Trojan play and went the distance for a 26-0 advantage with 1:27 to go in the opening quarter.
As play moved into the second quarter, Gage Root broke loose on a 44-yard touchdown and and Matt Norris capped the longest Trojan possession seven plays, 3:54 in time with a one-yard plunge from Matt Norris for a 39-0 lead.
The final Trojan score of the first half came with 2:59 on the clock when Bush dashed five yards for his second touchdown of the game and a 45-0 advantage. Bush finished with 94 yards on seven carries.
The Trojans ran 23 plays, all runs, in the first half for 302 yards.
The Firebirds rushed 18 times for minus 42 yards, but were in positive total yards thanks to an 88-yard Billy Ostrander to Brock Maruscsak touchdown pass down the Phoenix sideline with 1:38 left in the half.
The second half saw Homer scored on its second possession. Jake Norton broke free for a 51-yard touchdown dash and Christopher added the extra point for a 52-6 cushion with 5:19 left in the third quarter, Norton finished with 68 yards on seven carries as the Trojans rushed for an additional 75 yards in the half on 16 plays to finish with 377 yards in total offense.
The Trojans did not throw a single pass and that was alright with Coach Podsiedlik.
“I’d rather go 13-0 and never throw a pass,” he chuckled. “In truth, other than a couple seasons (1985, 2008, 2009), we have never thrown for 1,000 yards in the 66 years of Homer football. Only once (2008) did we have more passing yards than rushing yards. We do have a a high completion efficiency when we do pass because of the run game. Our play-action becomes very effective and it creates space for the receivers.”
Phoenix finished the game with 53 yards in total offense with just that one 88-yard completion, as the Firebirds were minus 35 in rushing yards. Phoenix was plus seven yards on the ground in the second half.
Defensively, Becker and Jake Casey recovered Phoenix fumbles. Rob Hornberger, Brown and Birchenough recorded quarterback sacks. There was one additional team sack and a partially blocked punt as well.
The Trojans will now look as a short week before Friday’s home opener at George Butts Field. Skaneateles will provide the non-league opposition on Hall of Fame Induction Night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
“We are playing a team that went to the state semifinals and is well-coached,” Podsiedlik said of Skaneateles. “Mike Olley just took over and really did a nice job when he was on the Liverpool staff. You know they will be prepared. We will have our hands full and need to be prepared as well.”
Homer JVs Top J-D
The Homer Central junior varsity squad opened the season Saturday with a 46-20 win over Jamesville-DeWitt at Butts Field.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Homer coach George Schneider said. “Coach (Geoff) Sorenson’s defensive scheme was well executed by the players. The defense not only had many tackles in the backfield but also accounted for two touchdowns.”
Matt Guerrera led the Trojan ground game with 108 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Christian Pittsley added 78 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries while Ryan Wainwright netted 69 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.
Defensively, Cameron Cronk had a 63-yard interception return for one Homer TD in the second quarter as the Trojans built a 27-0 lead. Wainwright picked off a bobbled sweep pitch and took it 30 yards for another six points to open the third-quarter scoring.
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