September 22, 2012
Bears humble Homer
CHITTENANGO — There’s no doubt who’s the best football team in Section 3 Class B West Division.
Behind 29 second-quarter points and 488 yards in total offense, Chittenango dominated visiting Homer Central during its 42-0 shutout victory Friday night in front of many rain-soaked fans from pre-game rain showers.
The state’s third-ranked squad and defending sectional champs improve to 3-0 in the division and 4-0 overall. It was the first loss for the 11th-ranked Trojans, who fall to 2-1 iin the West and 3-1 overall.
Chittenango rushed for 382 yards with its backfield ‘Big Three’ accounting for 314 of it.
Senior tailback Kyle Zimmer led the way with 14 carries for 130 yards and three touchdowns, senior fullback Joe Gilona added 10 carries for 104 yards and one TD, and senior quarterback Devan Phelps rushed five times for 80 yards and two TDs. Mr. All-Purpose Phelps threw the ball six times with five completions for another 106 yards, recovered a Trojan fumble and picked up an errant Casey Cleary pass on a fourth-down punt fake.
Phelps returned that pick 44 yards to the Trojan 14-yard line to set up the Bears only score in the second half, a six-yard burst by Zimmer with 6:18 left in the third quarter.
“He came from about 10 yards deep and intercepted that ball,” Chittenango coach Jack Hayes said. “Devan is a real nice asset to have back there. He reads the play very well and we’re just thankful number five is on our team.
“We did want to prove a point tonight,” he added about the dominating win. “We wanted to show we could play tough football, run the ball, throw the ball. We are real excited about the performance tonight. We’ll enjoy it for a couple of days, but it’s back to work on Monday.”
“I think Jim Whidden (assistant coach) had the best quote coming off the field,” Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “He said it was a (former Homer coach) Jim Luchsinger night, which means if their tackle beats our tackle, they’re going to win. It was obvious we took a whipping on both sides on the line.
“We did shoot ourselves in the foot a few times in the first quarter,” he continued. “We put ourselves in first and 15s. Defensively, we were in position, but the kid (Josh Cretaro) made a phenomenal catch with the four weakest fingers (the pinky and ring fingers). They made the play. It does all lead back to the line of scrimmage though. Chittenango did a very nice job controlling us.”
Podsiedlik also had praise for Phelps.
“Mr. Phelps is one heck of a football player,” the Trojan coach said. “He can run the ball when he has to. He can throw the ball when they needed that. He recognizes the open receiver and puts the ball where they can catch it.”
CHITTENANGO WAS VERY efficient on offense, scoring on its first seven possessions.
The Bears marched 86 yards on four plays for starters. Phelps’ first pass was a 22-yard completion to Stephen Billington and the big tight end lumbered 32 yards to the Homer 46-yard line. Zimmer followed with a 22-yard dash to the 24-yard line and Gilona took the next hand-off and raced into the end zone with 10:18 left in the first quarter for the 6-0 lead after the missed extra point kick.
Homer came out throwing, using a series of twin-receiver, bubble-screen type plays to move the ball into Chittenango territory at the 49. Casey Cleary completed a nine-yard pass to Jake Casey on the very first play. Cleary would also find Sean Ferrito for a 13-yard gain. A procedure penalty forced the Trojans back to their own 46 on third down and Cleary hit Beau Riley from an eight-yard gain, but short of the first-down marker and Homer punted. Cleary’s punt pinned the Chittenango at their own 10-yard line.
The Bears used 12 plays to march 84 yards. A 20-yard scamper by Phelps and 17 pass from Phelps to Gilona moved the ball to the 47-yard line. The Trojan defense tackled Phelps for a five-yard loss. The Bears lost six more yards on a screen pass that Ferrito tipped and was cause the loss of yardage. After a delay of game penalty, Chittenango was facing third and 35 at their own 22-yard line.
Then came the play of the game. Phelps lofted a pass to Josh Cretaro who made a finger-tip catch at midfield and gained another 27 yards before being hauled down at the Trojan 23-yard line for a first down after the 55-yard gain. The drive would stall, but Billington made a 23-yard field goal five seconds into second-quarter play for a 9-0 Bear’s lead.
An ensuing Trojans drive stalled, but Cleary did a super job of fielding a high snap on the fourth down punt. He had to elude a couple of defenders and got the punt off, but it was downed at the Homer 38. Three plays later, Zimmer scored on a three-yard blast for the 15-0 Bears’ lead.
Homer was not moving the ball far so Chittenango took over at its own 35-yard line. Three Zimmer runs completed the scoring drive. A two-yard burst was the scoring run as the lead grew to 22-0 with 5:08 left in the half.
Homer fumbled its next possession away and Phelps capped a two-play drive with a 14-yard run as Chittenango led 29-0 with 3:38 left in the half.
THE BEARS’ DEFENSE held and the offense took over with 1:24 to go in the first half. After an illegal procedure penalty pushed the ball back to the 50-yard line at the start of the drive, Phelps carried the ball twice. The first carry went for 21 yards and the second 29 yards into the end zone for the 35-0 halftime advantage.
With Homer held to 37 yards on the ground in the first half and 105 total rushing yards, it was nice to see Cleary complete nine-of-15 passing attempts for 75 yards. Ferrito caught three passes for 28 yards and Payten Boice had two catches for 19 yards. Jimmy Durkee was the leading rusher with 44 yards on four second-half carries. Mark Dove and Jayden Gavidia were each held to 30 rushing yards.
“Casey delivered the ball quickly and efficiently to the sides,” Podsiedlik said. “The only problem with those kind of throws was Chittenango tried to bait us by giving us those throws so the linebackers could pick them. They did tip one, but Casey zipped the ball out there very well. We’ll have to be careful with that in the future, because everyone else we play will know we can and will have that scouted.
“It was a good strategy tonight because we had trouble running the ball,” he added. “
The Bears’ eighth possession was stopped by the lone mistake made by the Bears. Gilona fumbled the ball and Anthony Basile recovered for Homer at the Trojan 11-yard line in the third quarter.
How does this team rebound after a very big setback?
“Coach Cotts (Tom Cottrell) addressed that on the field,” Podsiedlik said. “What’s done is done. That will show what the true character of this team is. How do we handle this loss? We have three excellent opponents coming up. We need to regroup, refocus and have a good week of practice. Oneida is an excellent team coming to our place next week. They will tell us what this team is made of.”
Homer will host Oneida Friday at Butts Field in a non-league contest. It will be Homecoming for the 7 p.m. kickoff.
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