September 14, 2006
Purple Tigers invade Homer turf
CHS hopes to be able to put together four quarters
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
The Cortland High Purple Tigers will go head-to-head with the Homer Central Trojans for the 29th time at Butts Field in Homer Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Confidence will play a big part in the outcome of Friday night’s non-league football game between archrivals Cortland High and host Homer.
“One of my main concerns,” Cortland coach Jim Brown said, “is the fact that Homer will be playing with a lot of confidence at 2-0 this season, while we have 0-2 and need to find some confidence. We haven’t put together four quarters of football in either of our games.”
CHS suffered a 28-0 loss to visiting Jamesville-DeWitt to open the season before losing 47-20 at Mexico last Friday.
“We need to play the way we’re capable of playing,” added Brown. “I’m more concerned with us than anything else. If we do put four quarters together, we can be a good team, but we haven’t done that yet. We need to win and get some confidence. We can’t afford to let down against a good, well-coached team like Homer.”
The Purple Tigers and Trojans collide after not meeting last season, and according to Brown, while his team has been spirited in practice this week the approach won’t be different than for any other opponent.
“The kids have been working on the things they’ve needed to work on,” he said. “No opponent is more important than any other to us. They’re all big games, this one because of the rivalry. The kids know each other, and a lot of them are friends. It adds excitement to_the game.
“We need to play much better defense than we have been, tackle better and play with more spirit. We need to make some stops to get our offense the ball. Our offense is improving, but has a way to go; we have to play smart, and keep the chains moving.”
In addressing Homer’s key threats, Brown mentioned a number of names. “Their quarterback, Tristan Hartnett (6-2, 180 pounds) is a good athlete with a good arm who moves well,” the Purple Tiger head man said. “Mark Brenchley (5-8, 160), their tailback, is a good runner; they seem to get a lot of yards from him. They have a couple of big, solid tackles in Zach Morgan (6-3, 275) and Chris Crossway 6-3, 300).
“Their tight end, Mike Carboine (6-5, 220), is a big target. Their split end, Talon Sprouse (6-0, 170) is pretty quick, too, and Will Connery (5-8, 150), a Z-back, can catch the ball and run as well.”
The Trojans utilize the I-formation with various looks on offense, according to Brown, who noted that they go out of both 4-3 and 5-3 sets on defense.
“The same two tackles (Morgan and Crossway), are tough for them on defense, as is their middle linebacker, Jon Morrison (6-1, 210) and Brenchley, who plays cornerback_on defense.”
Cortland, Brown noted, is in good shape health-wise coming into Friday’s game. He said that two seniors who were flattened against Mexico — fullback-defensive end Jon Wood and halfback-linebacker Brian Benford, both two-way starters — are ready to go, with junior reserve Kyle Peterson (tackle-guard/tackle) questionable due to an ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s game.
Wood leads CHS in rushing with 96 yards on 21 carries (4.57 yards per carry), while senior fullback Derek Goodwin and Benford have both totaled 78 yards, on 13 and 15 carries respectively.
Senior quarterback Tim Fulton has completed 10-of-21 passes (.476) for 117 yards with five interceptions, while junior A.J. Meldrim is 7-for-14 (.500) for 103 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions.
Senior split end Kaywon Pittman is the top receiver with six catches for 100 yards (16.67 yards per grab), while Benford has five catches for 60 yards (12.00) and Wood two catches for 42 yards (21.0). Jay Hartnett (no or distant relation to Tristan, though they have known each other for years) has the Purple Tigers’ lone TD reception this season.
The Purple Tigers will return to league play next Friday, hosting Oswego in a 7 p.m. start. The Buccaneers are a provisional member of the league, having voluntarily dropped down from Class AA, and as such can’t win the league or qualify for sectionals.
Grid rivalry has special importance for Homer
No one has to tell Homer Central football coach Gary Podsiedlik how important Friday night is as the undefeated Trojans clash with rival Cortland High at 7 p.m. on George W. Butts Field. Friday night will not only feature the 29th meeting of the two neighboring rivals, but the induction of the second class of the Homer Schools Athletic Hall of Fame.
“We don’t have to remind the kids how big this game is,” Podsiedlik said. “But, we are reminding the kids of what a special night it is for the entire Homer athletic community with the hall of fame inductions. There will be some very special people here that night and I know we would like to make it a special night for them in more ways than one.”
Homer holds a 15-12-1 advantage in the series, but the Purple Tigers won the last encounter 26-14 at Moiseichik Field on September 3, 2004, which was season-opening night.
“Cortland (0-2 overall) has played two tough opponents so far in Jamesville-DeWitt and Mexico,” Podisedlik said. “Those are two strong, physical teams. Both teams are similar in many ways.”
Looking, in general terms at, the Purple Tigers on defense and offense, Coach Podsiedlik offered these comments.
“Cortland does a lot of blitzing on defense and our running backs will need to be picking up those guys. They show multiple fronts from 4-3 and 4-4, which are really a 4-5 look. They also have some eight-man fronts. Obviously, they look to fill all the gaps. The key is to not overact.
“Offensively, Cortland has its roots in the Delaware, but they do show unbelievable variations. They will run traps, sweeps, reverses and options, I would not be surprised to see Cortland use V-formations and run the ball right at us. We will need to keep things simple on defense and stay at home. We need to play assignment football.”
As far as individuals, who are the players to watch on the Cortland side.
“Cortland has two good quarterbacks in (Tim) Fulton and (A.J.) Meldrim,” Podsiedlik said. “Their fullbacks (Jonathan Wood and Derek Goodwin) are interchangeable and Cortland has big linemen. Coach (Jim) Brown does a good job of rotating his kids.”
Coach Podsiedlik offers his keys to Homer picking up its third win of the season.
“We need to get off the line of scrimmage quickly and control the play of both sides of the line,” Podsiedlik said. “We also need to get field position, especially in the first half. You’ve seen that we have been spending a lot of time in our end of the field. We need to change that and we need to dictate what happens on the field.
“We have had good practices and some good lifting sessions so far this week. We are also in pretty good shape in terms of injuries. There are the bumps and bruises, but nothing really serious.”
Mark Brenchley has rushed for 290 yards on 49 carries and scored four touchdowns in the first two games. He will have a new partner in the backfield this week as sophomore Kevin (K.J.) Reese Jr. will be brought up from the JV squad. The 5-foot-8, 195-pounder will look to give the Trojans some more blocking and running choices from the fullback spot. Reese could also see some time, in a relief role, at the shark and/or wolf linebacker.
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New Hall of Fame class in Homer
Prior to the kickoff of the Homer-Cortland varsity football game Friday night at George W. Butts Field, the second class of inductees to the Homer Central Athletic Hall of Fame will be introduced.
Ceremonies for the nine newest members will begin at 6 p.m.
Heading the list are two veteran coaches who directed Trojan teams for over 20 years as John Baden and Jerry Frare will receive their inductions.
Baden was varsity baseball coach for 24 years and his teams claimed four OHSL leagues titles. He also had 44 first-team all-stars and he won 263 of 487 games during his coaching tenure. Baden was also a football coach at the junior high school.
Frare coached varsity cross-country, outdoor track ad indoor track during his tenure. During his 68 total sports seasons, his teams won 15 league titles and four sectional titles.
Athletes to be inducted Friday night include Larry Hubbard, Steve Rainbow, Jody Rawson, Matt Riter, Sharon Crandall Shattuck and Kelly Wagner Ziegler.
Hubbard was a four-year varsity starter in soccer and baseball, but he also played basketball and was a track athlete. Hubbard helped lead Homer to a Section Four Basketball Championship in 1956.
Rainbow was a four-year all-star baseball player from 1980-1983 and still holds a number of school records, including career home runs (17), season home runs (6), career RBIs (92) and career strikeouts (274). Rainbow was_the 1982 and 1983 baseball MVP before continuing his baseball career at Onondaga Community College.
Rawson was a football player and track and field athlete. He was the 1988 New York State pentathlon champion, the 1988 Athlete of the Year and is the number-one career point scorer (565) for Homer track. Rawson holds the school record in the 110-meter hurdles, long jump, triple jump and pentathlon.
Riter played football, basketball and lacrosse for the Trojans. In addition to being the 1989 Athlete of the Year, Riter was the 1989 MVP in both football and lacrosse. Riter holds the career scoring record in lacrosse with 264 points (143 goals-121 assists), most points in one game (12), tied for first in career assists (121). He played collegiate lacrosse at Syracuse University, including scoring the winning goal in the national championship game.
Crandall-Shattuck competed in field hockey, gymnastics and softball. She was the 1976 and 1977 field hockey MVP, 1977 softball MVP and 1976 Babe Ruth Award winner. Crandall-Shattuck continued her collegiate athletic career at Delhi College.
Wagner-Ziegler is the daughter of Hall of Fame wrestling coach Dick Wagner. She played field hockey, volleyball, basketball and softball, being named the 1980 Athlete of the Year. She was a first-team all-star, MVP for both field hockey and basketball and competed in the Empire State Games.
The final inductee is long-time contributor Robert Grummons. His biggest contribution was being a volunteer sideline worker for Homer football for 43 years.
Also on hand for the festivities will be Hall of Famer Larry Brady, who missed the initial induction ceremony held back in May. Brady was a past Athlete of the Year at Homer who played collegiate baseball at Coastal Carolina and minor league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system in the 1980s.
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