September 22, 2011
New home ready for CHS
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High head coach Dave Darrow and his Purple Tigers will break in newly renovated Moiseichik Field Friday night when East-Syracuse Minoa visits.
The first football game to be played on Cortland High’s newly-renovated Moiseichik Field should be a good one.
Coach Dave Darrow’s Purple Tigers will host East Syracuse-Minoa in a clash of the Section 3 Class A American Division’s top two teams from a year ago in a 7 p.m. start as the stadium finally opens and is rededicated at halftime in what is also the CHS Homecoming game.
Cortland, which was able to practice on the new turf starting on Tuesday, beat the host Spartans 54-35 last fall and won the division by that one game margin over ES-M.
Both teams are 1-0 in the league, with the Purple Tigers 1-2 overall following home losses to A National powerhouses Whitesboro (48-38) and Indian River (48-0) after opening with a 70-36 shellacking of host Fulton.
The Spartans, meanwhile, are 3-0 overall, having opened with a 40-15 win over Section 6’s West Seneca West in the Carrier Dome before winning 27-6 at Carthage of the A National and opening league play last Friday with a 53-6 romp over visiting Fowler.
“They’re solid and well-coached,” Darrow said, “but I don’t think that they’ve played anyone who’s really good yet.” Cortland’s three foes this far have a combined 5-4 record (including Whitesboro’s opening-week win over Indian River), while the three teams ES-M has faced have a collective mark of 1-8.
Spartans’ coach Kevin DeParde did not respond to requests for comments to be used in this story.
Three players – senior quarterback Devon Darrow (the coach’s son), senior center-linebacker Kyle Teeter and junior linebacker Nate Wright — suffered what were officially called leg injuries last week against Indian River.
“Everyone will be available,” Dave Darrow said of those three players, adding senior tight end-linebacker Dylan Stafford (who missed a week due to injury) and junior two-way lineman Corey (hurt in preseason) will also be ready to go.
“ES-M runs a lot of double tight end plays and pro-set on offense,” said Coach Darrow of the Spartans. “They also mix a little slot in; it’s power football. Defensively, their base is a 3-5; against us, they’ll probably play a five-man box. We’re going to have to play better defensively; we should have everyone available. We’ll have to move the ball offensively and we can’t have turnovers. That hurt us against Indian River (two early fumble recovery TDs by the visitors giving them an early lead), and so did losing people (to injury). If we don’t get off to a horrible start we should be OK. It should be a good one.”
Coach Darrow also said of ES-M that “They’re not the same type of physical team we’ve been playing so far. Their best players are their quarterback, Tyler Johnson (6-2, 185-pound senior), wide receiver Bob Campese (6-1, 165 senior), tailback Jeff McDuffie (6-0, 165 junior), tight end Mike Gorney (6-2, 185 junior) and two-way linemen Bob Ali (6-2, 270 senior) and Neil Hesse (5-10, 205 senior).”
Coach Darrow hopes his team can stay focused with the field dedication and Homecoming taking place.
“It’s more stuff to think about,” coach Darrow said of those distractions. “We’re looking forward to playing the game. I think we’ll be fine. It’s been a good week of practice.”
Johnson has completed 28-of-41 passes (68.3 percent) this fall for 572 yards and eight touchdowns. Campese is his top target, having caught 17 passes for 282 yards (16.6) and three TDs, and is ES-M’s leading scorer with 30 points that also include 12 conversions. Buddy Frigon (5-11, 165 senior wide receiver) is a long-pass threat, having snagged 17 passes for 282 yards (16.6) and three TDs.
McDuffie is the leading rusher with 184 yards on 18 carries (10.2) and a TD and also has two TDs on kickoff returns, while Johnson has picked up 149 yards on 13 carries (11.5) with three TDs.
Devon Darrow has gone 42-for-74 (56.8 percent) passing for 594 yards (14.1) and five TDs. His top receiver is senior wideout Qwuhail Barlow, who has grabbed 16 passes for 398 yards (including a state single-game record 321 against Whitesboro) and four TDs, plus a fifth on a kickoff return. Senior tailback Jonathan Prior is the Purple Tigers’ top ground-gainer with 261 yards on 39 carries (6.7) and one TD. He also has TDs on a pass reception, a fumble recovery, a kickoff return and a punt return.
Barlow leads Cortland in scoring with 34 points (with his five TDs and a pair of two-point conversions) while Prior is next with 30 points on his five TDs. Darrow had 24 points on four TDs.
— Homer Central is on the road Friday night in the Section 3 Class B West Division, to take on Solvay at 6:30 p.m. The Trojans are off to a 2-1 start, but coming off a loss to Chittenango last Friday at Butts Field.
A preview of the Homer-Solvay game will appear in Friday’s edition.
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