September 26, 2013
CHS hosts dangerous Mustangs
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High’s quarterback Caden Giroux moves out of the pocket to pass against Phoenix in the first quarter last Friday. CHS hosts Marcellus this Friday night in a matchup of 2-1 squads.
Both coaches are especially wary of the other team’s offense heading into Friday night’s Section 3 Class B West Division football game between host Cortland High and Marcellus, both 2-0 in league play, at Moiseichik Field.
“They have a really good, solid offense,” Purple Tigers coach Dave Darrow said of the Mustangs, who like his Purple Tigers come in at 2-1 overall and have scored 118 points this season. “They use a spread offense, and run it well. They stretch you pretty good. Their quarterback, Tom Keegan, runs and throws well. He scrambles pretty well. We’ll have to put pressure on him and keep everything in front of us, not letting him (pass) over our heads.
Keegan, a 6-foot, 175-pound senior, has completed 44-of-73 passes this season for 706 yards and seven touchdowns. He has only been picked off once.
“Their tailback, Ian McGloon (6-1, 170 junior) is good, and they have two big tight ends in Mike Hastings (6-5, 235 senior) and Wyatt Stehle (6-3, 225 senior),” added Darrow. “They also have good wide receivers — they spread the ball around pretty well — and a good offensive line, one of the better ones I’ve seen, with big, strong kids who are very talented,” he added. “Their defense is OK, but their offense is much stronger. They showed a 5-2 on tape defensively but it’s more like a 5-3, with high safeties. I think they’ll put eight or nine in the box against us.”
“Cortland is quick on offense and they run downhill right at you,” Marcellus coach Joe Fiacchi said, CHS with 111 points in its three games. “Their quarterback, Caden Giroux does a great job of making plays when things don’t go right. He can get out of the pocket and make yardage.
“I like the way that the tailbacks, Zach Whelan and Qadir Artis, run downhill. Their line does a nice job, with Alex Reynolds standing out. He’s big and moves well.”
“We want to control the game and run the ball,” Darrow said. “We’ll need a couple of stops and a turnover or something. I think we’ll be able to run the ball but we have to stop them, prevent them from making a lot of big plays and make them earn everything they get.”
Darrow noted that he and his staff are concerned enough about the Mustangs’ offensive capabilities that they have been tinkering with changing some players’ positions. He wouldn’t get into specifics, other than to note that “Our outside linebacker has to be able to run with one of their big tight ends.
“They’re playing good football, They had Cazenovia beaten last Thursday but couldn’t hold the lead.”
The Mustangs gave the Lakers, generally regarded as the top Class B team in the section, all they could handle before the visitors rallied to win 43-35.
“We have a senior-laden offensive line,” Fiacchi said. “Hastings and Stehle are two-year starters. “Keegan is our biggest playmaker. As a play develops, he’s able to adapt when he needs to. He’s been great for us so far.
“We use odd-man fronts on defense and have a mix of new guys and veterans. Stehle (defensive end) and Cole Walsh (5-11, 150 senior safety) are veterans, and Stephen Hogan (6-5, 269 senior two-way tackle) is a three-year starter and our most dominant lineman.”
The Purple Tigers come into Friday’s game off wins over the bottom two teams in the league, having beaten Phoenix 49-20 last Friday a week after scoring a 42-12 win over Solvay.
“It’s had to tell where we stand. We could have done anything we wanted any time we wanted in the last two games. But in the opener, we didn’t execute against Waverly like we needed to,” said Darrow, referring to a 29-20 loss at the Carrier Dome on Sept.8. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll have to stay mistake-free on penalties and turnovers, and hope to cause some turnovers.”
“One concern we have as that Cortland handled Solvay pretty well,” Fiacchi said. “We played Solvay in our opener, and they took us late into the game. That’s one barometer we can compare with, and we know Cortland’s a pretty good team.The Mustangs out-lasted the Bearcats 40-32 in that opener, which also took place in the Carrier Dome, just before Cortland’s game with Waverly.
Darrow said he’d know late today about the status of CHS’s two injured players, senior defensive end Tyrmaine Dugger and senior Z-back Teddy Phillips.
Friday’s game is Cortland’s last regularly-scheduled home game, and thus is the Purple Tigers’ Senior Night.
“It’s a another reason to play hard,” Darrow said. “I don’t think (the pre-game ceremonies) will be a distraction. We’ll have to play a little better and coach a little better.”“Last home games always play a little havoc,” Fiacchi said. “We’ll just go down there and do the best we can. They beat us last year (12-7) at our place. We hope we can give them a good game. It should be fun.”
Marcellus QB Keegan has junior Will Coon (6-1, 165) as a favorite target, with 15 catches for 404 yards (26.9 yards per grab) — over 100 yards in each of the Mustangs’ three games — and five TDs. McGloon is the team’s leading runner, having lugged the ball 52 times for 447 yards (8.6) and scored five TDs.
Senior Giroux has completed 12-of-20 passes (60 percent) for 170 yards (14.2) and two TDs, as well as three interceptions. Phillips is the leading receiver with eight catches for 135 yards (16.5) and one TD, while junior wide receiver Nate Kinsey is next with five catches for 77 yards (15.4) and two TDs.
Senior Whelan is Cortland’s top rusher with 50 carries for 369 yards (7.4) and five TDs. Senior Artis is next with 161 yards on 19 carries (16.1) and three TDs.
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