September 17, 2011
Big-play Indian River romps to 48-0 victory —
Tables turned on Purple Tigers
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Jonathan Prior (15) of Cortland High stiff arms Delanie Whittington (2) of Indian River during Friday’s football outing at SUNY Cortland. Indian River rolled to a 48-0 victory.
The tables were turned on the Cortland High football team Friday night at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
Visiting Indian River took a page out of the Purple Tigers’ playbook, using long offensive plays and a pair of spectacular defensive scores en route to a 48-0 romp in a Class A interdivisional contest.
CHS came in having scored 108 points in its first two games, largely with the same type of highlight-reel pyrotechnics that the Warriors benefited from to improved to 2-1 overall. The winners took that 48-point lead into the second half, which was played — at the agreement of both coaches —with a modified running clock.
The star of the show was senior tailback-bandit linebacker Rayshan-Shakur Clark, who returned two fumbles for touchdowns of 49 and 85 yards early and also teamed up with junior quarterback Kody Smith on a 91-yard scoring pass play.
The hurting the visitors laid on Cortland (1-2) was also literal, as senior quarterback Devon Darrow, senior center-linebacker Kyle Teeter and junior linebacker Nate Wright all suffered leg injuries in the hard-hitting contest. Their statuses are uncertain for this coming Friday’s key Class A American Division CHS home game with East Syracuse-Minoa.
Darrow, who had passed for 367 yards and found senior wideout Qwuhail Barlow 11 times for a state-record 318 yards and four TDs in last Saturday’s 48-38 home loss to Whitesboro, left the game early in the second quarter. He was hit after falling on a bad center’s snap. Coach Dave Darrow then moved senior tailback Jonathan Prior into the quarterback slot in shotgun mode, and the ball carriers included a pair of linemen, senior Matt Baldassarre and junior Paul Turco.
“The bottom line is that they took the ball away from us three times that we shouldn’t have given it up,” Coach Darrow said, senior cornerback Will Moran intercepting a Devon Darrow pass as the Warrior 12 for the third CHS turnover of the first quarter.
“We were fine until Devon got hurt,” he added. “It bothers me that we gave up the ball so easily. How would the game have gone without those three plays? We’ll have to see who can play next week — I can’t say how this game will affect us until we know — and just fight back from this and see what we can do.”
“THE KIDS CAME out ready to play,” said Indian River coach Cory Marsell, who was a fullback for the Red Dragons from 1995 through 1997 and, needless to say, enjoyed Friday’s personal Homecoming. “It wasn’t as easy as it appeared. Cortland is a good team, and the final score isn’t indicative. We made a couple of big plays early and got into a good rhythm. We tried to keep the pedal down, because we knew Cortland could come back.
“We knew we needed to limit their big plays. We used Will Moran to jam Barlow on the line and slow him up, and then Rayshan-Shakur took it from there. He’s one of the best athletes on our team and did a fantastic job.”
Barlow finished with one reception for 12 yards in the game. Overall the Warriors rolled up 454 yards of offense, 351 on the ground, to 161 for the Purple Tigers, who rushed for 108 yards. Junior tailback Darrius Bryant scored on a 91-yard run on his first and only carry before leaving the field with a leg injury in the first quarter, and that allowed allowed him to lead the nine-man rushing contingent the winners used.
An early indication of how things would go for Cortland came on the opening kickoff, which Prior (who led CHS in rushing with 117 yards on 21 carries) took back to the visitors’ 49-yard line, only to have the ball set back to the Cortland 29 due to holding.
The Purple Tigers got back to the 50 before bogging down, and on third-and-10 from the Indian River nine Bryant got around the left corner and went all the way for the only points his team would need, Clark running in the conversion.
Two plays into the next CHS drive Clark scooped up a fumble at midfield and returned it all the way to make it 14-0 for Indian River after the conversion run failed. The Purple Tigers drove to the Warrior 15 on their next possession before Clark stripped the ball away after a completed pass and went 85 yards untouched for another score, the conversion run again short.
FRESHMAN TAILBACK Jason Smith went in from three yards out and Kody Smith added the point after to give Indian River a 27-0 lead, which it held when the first quarter ended. Two plays into the second stanza, though, Clark caught a pass from Kody Smith at the Warrior 15 and again got away for what ended up a 91-yard scoring play that made it 34-0 after the kick by Kody Smith.
Senior tailback and Delanie Whittington and senior fullback Michael Hance scored from 10 and three yards, respectively, and Kody Smith made both conversion kicks to make it 48-0 at halftime.
“On the first fumble, I thought the ball was going out of bounds but it bounced into my hands and I took off with it,” Clark said. “The second one came on a switchoff (of ball possession), and on the pass I just followed my blockers and they took me where we needed to go.
“We were expected a battle and they gave us one, but we stopped them. We weren’t looking forward to the long ride down here, but we were able to stay focused. I think this game sends a message; we have to play hard, and we want to win sectionals,” he added.
Moseichik Field Meeting
A planning meeting will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Room 103 at Cortland High concerning the rededication of Moiseichik Field prior to this Friday night’s game, which is also the Homecoming contest. The ceremonies will honor former CHS coach John Moiseichik, who will be in attendance.
Cortland JVs Start 2-0
In a late report from last Saturday, the Cortland JVs improved to 2-0 with a 32-16 win at Whitesboro. Teddy Phillips scored on runs of 10 and 12 yards, while Caden Giroux returned an interception 53 yards for a score. Zach Whelan (six yards) and Drew Becker (four yards) also had TD runs for the Purple Tigers, who visited Indian River this morning.
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