September 25, 2010
Romp for Purple Tigers
Early Darrow-to-Barlow TDs ignite 49-14 win
Devon Darrow and Qwuhail Barlow made it look like child’s play.
Junior classmates on the Cortland High football team, quarterback Darrow and wide receiver Barlow hooked up on touchdown pass plays of 75 and 23 yards in the first 39 seconds of Friday night’s game against Oswego at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. That set the tone for what ended up a 49-14 Homecoming romp that kept the Purple Tigers perfect in two Section 3 Class A American Division games and enabled them to improve to 2-2 overall.
“We’ve been doing that our whole lives,” Barlow said after the game.
“Since we were young,” Darrow said, echoing his long-time friend, the two of them voted by coaches as the team’s co-Offensive Players of the Game. “Dad (CHS head coach Dave Darrow) and I were talking, and it was a matter of making the cornerback come up so Qwuhail could go past him. We knew that they weren’t very fast, and that we were faster. Our whole team is quick, even the line.”
“We were faster and stronger,” Barlow said, picking up where his friend had left off. “I wasn’t sure it (the first TD pass) was going to me. I just had to run faster than the defender and get the ball.”
“Devon and Qwuhail have been doing that since they were five or six years old,” Coach Dave Darrow said. “It was good to get off to a great start. We do have a lot of tools. We needed to play a game like this. This was a game that we had to play like this.”
Cortland had to bounce back from a slight early setback to dominate the winless Buccaneers, now 0-2 in league play and 0-4 overall.
Senior Donovan Prior took the game’s opening kickoff back 61 yards to the Oswego 26, but the effort was wiped out by a holding penalty on an unnecessary block and the hosts began from their own 25. Devon Darrow found Barlow wide open behind the Oswego defense at the Oswego 45 on the first play of the game, and he scored easily to make it 6-0 after a missed conversion kick.
Oswego fumbled the ensuing kickoff, junior Jonathan Prior recovering at the Bucs’ 23, and the same pair hooked up again, Barlow all alone on the right side of the end zone to snag a Darrow aerial and make it 14-0 after the Cortland signal-caller found senior tight end Justin Tabel for the conversion pass.
Junior lineman Ejekiel McGinn recovered a fumble at the Bucs’ 44 after the visitors had managed to run five plays following the ensuing kickoff. Eight plays later it was 20-0 Cortland after Darrow found senior wide receiver Justin Hogan for a 10-yard scoring play with 6:25 left in the opening stanza, the conversion run stuffed.
OSWEGO SENIOR FULLBACK Josh McRae, who was the game’s leading rusher with 23 carries for 128 yards, scored his team’s first TD from 15 yards out to cap the next series, senior Dan Ellingwood adding the kick.
Cortland’s leading rusher, senior tailback Alex Stacy (eight totes for 58 yards), then went on a 34-yard scoring jaunt down the right side with 2:16 still left in the first, the kick failing.
Senior tackle Dave Fernandes then recovered another Oswego fumble just before the quarter ended, and three plays into the second Jonathan Prior, at tailback, went around the left side for a four-yard TD run to make it 34-7 after Tabel snagged another conversion toss from Darrow.
Yet another fumble recovery, by junior lineman Mike Baldassarre, set up the final score of the first half as Cortland covered 63 yards in five plays. The last 38 were covered by Darrow, who went up the middle on a draw and cut to the right to score untouched, Hogan adding the kick to make it 41-7.
After a scoreless third quarter, each team scored a TD in the fourth. Buccaneers junior tight end Dom Cianfrano caught an 11-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Chris Pike, Ellingwood with the kick, 1:39 into the final stanza. Senior tailback Shakief Rivers went in from eight yards out for Cortland with 2:53 left, Tabel taking the conversion snap and reaching the end zone to account for the final margin.
Darrow completed 9-of-12 passes in the game for 194 yards, the three TDs and no interceptions. As a team, the Purple Tigers also picked up 194 yards rushing to outgain Oswego 388-288 for the game, making liberal substitutions for a good portion of the second half.
“We were our own worst enemy,” Oswego coach Tom Czarnecki said. “Any time you do that, you’re going to be in trouble. We made mistakes, and that’s the story. Our team is really young — a lot of our players, a third of the team, are in their first varsity season — and we told them at halftime that it was a matter of going out and playing another half and putting the first half behind them. We just want to try to get better week to week.
“Jason played a good game for us at fullback, and our halfback, (senior) Kyle Lamb, did well (56 yards on 14 carries). But there weren’t too many bright spots.”
THE PURPLE TIGERS came into Friday’s game off a come-from-behind 36-26 victory at Jamesville-DeWitt, their first of the season.
“We were down on ourselves, but after that (J-D game) we knew we could play with anybody. We just had to put the work in, and we did,” Devon Darrow said.
Barlow had a similar take to the season’s initial victory, noting that “ It helped a lot and got us to work harder. It feels good.”
Senior lineman Nick Reynolds, who was instrumental in stopping Oswego on a couple of fourth-down plays during the contest, was named Cortland’s Defensive Player of the Game. Senior Luke Bush, whose hit on the first CHS kickoff caused the fumble that led to the winners’ second TD, earned Special Teams Player of the Game honors.
In other league contests Friday night, East Syracuse-Minoa outscored Jamesville-DeWitt 50-28 and Mexico downed Fulton 56-21. The winners are both 2-0 in the league, tied for first with the Purple Tigers, with ES-M 3-1 overall and Mexico now 2-2. Friday night’s three losers are all 0-2 in league play and 0-4 overall.
Cortland visits ES-M this Friday in a 6:30 p.m. start, and Dave Darrow tempered his team’s euphoria over its big Homecoming win with a big dose of realism in his post-game remarks to the assembled squad.
“We have a long way to go to beat ES-M and those teams,” he said afterwards, CHS visiting Mexico on Oct. 9 before closing out the regular season by hosting Fulton Oct.15 in another 7 p.m. start. “We have a saying: ‘Talk is cheap; do what you need to do.’
“We have to play cleaner and more physical, and play better defense, to beat ES-M.”
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