September 29, 2007
This wild one goes to Trojans
Carboine sets school mark in 41-34 win over Phoenix
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central quarterback Will Connery (15) is dragged down by Phoenix defenders at the sideline in the first quarter Friday night at Butts Field. Homer was a 41-34 winner.
Homer Central senior Mike Carboine made sure his last home football game Friday night would be a memorable one.
The 6-foot-5 tight end/halfback caught five passes for a school-record 171 yards and two touchdowns to help the Trojans post a 41-34 Section 3 Class B West Division victory over Phoenix on Homecoming/Senior Night at George Butts Field.
Carboine broke the previous single-game yardage receiving record of Paul Gower (3 catches-157 yards) set against Dryden in 1964.
“Wow,” said a stunned Carboine when told about his record-setting performance at the post-game dance. “That is unbelievable in my last home game.
“Joey (Rivers) was throwing me more great balls tonight,” Carboine said earlier in the locker room. “I was able to catch those throws and make the plays by using my size. Those plays were successful because the linemen were making their blocks and giving Joey time to throw.”
The wild win also kept playoff hopes alive for the Trojans, who improved to 2-3 in division and overall play. Homer trails Skaneateles (3-2) by one game in the loss column after the Lakers lost 40-19 at Marcellus Friday. The Trojans head to Skaneateles for their next game this coming Friday.
“It was an exciting game,” said Carboine. “Being tied at halftime against a team that we knew we had to come out strong against, we had to answer some questions and I really think we did.
“This win is a great step towards a sectional playoff berth,” Carboine added. “We cannot take Skaneateles lightly because they are a good team. We will continue to take it one game at time.”
Phoenix drew first blood by marching 76 yards in the opening nine-play drive to take a 7-0 lead. Paul Raymond capped the driver with a 15-yard burst up the middle with 7:33 left in the quarter.
Homer answered quickly with a five-play, 55-yard scoring drive that concluded when K.J. Reese bolted 25 yards into the Firebird end zone. Reese finished the night with 127 yards on 22 carries, the second straight 100-yard game for the junior since his move to starting tailback.
“The linemen really stepped up tonight,” said Reese. “Mike Carboine, Kyle Sandy, Sean McSherry, Alex Duell, Lance Graffius, Branden Brown did great jobs, as did my fullback, Mike Park. I could not do it without them.”
The extra-point kick failed and Homer trailed 7-6, but the Trojans got the ball right back when the Firebirds let the ensuing kickoff roll dead at their own seven-yard and never covered the ball. Kane Hartnett hustled down the field and recovered the ball for the Trojans. Two plays later, starting senior quarterback Will Connery tossed a four-yard scoring pass to Hartnett for a 12-7 Trojan lead.
THE MISTAKE WAS déjà vu for Phoenix coach Dave Hendrickson.
“I thought we would have learned from last year,” said Hendrickson, who had the exact same kick return misfortune against Homer last year. “I could not believe it. We just stood there. How can you go five games into the season and not know that. You have your good hands team. You know the ball is live after it goes 10 yards, yet there we stood. I guess you just say that they are high school kids and they will do things like that once in a while. It cost us a touchdown again.”
The Firebirds recovered quickly as Delreon Williams took the next kickoff and raced 80 yards for the touchdown and Phoenix was back on top 13-12 after the blocked extra point kick with 4:31 still left in the first quarter.
Homer was driving to the go-ahead score, but a fumble at the Phoenix one killed the drive. Two plays later, Brandon Jones (11 carries-157 yards) busted loose on a 74-yard touchdown romp. The extra point kicked was good and the Firebirds led 20-12 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Homer responded in five plays with the tying points. A big 30-yard Joey Rivers to Carboine pass got the Trojans to the Phoenix 26. Mike Park ran the next two plays, including a 15-yard TD run up the middle. Reese ran the two-point conversion for a 20-20 tie.
It took Phoenix four plays to retake the lead when Jones capped the drive with a 50-yard scoring jaunt with 5:13 left in the first half for a 27-20 advantage.
HOMER RESPONDED with a five-play scoring drive capped by a 36 yard Rivers to Carboine touchdown pass with 2:14 left on the clock. The game was tied again.
The teams would head to the halftime locker room deadlocked at 27-27, prompting the quote of the night by Homer clock operator Pete Contento. “It is a defensive struggle,” said Contento. “Both defenses are struggling.”
Homer opened the third quarter with a solid 11-play drive that went 64 yards in 3:57. 22-yard and 16-yard Rivers-to-Carboine passes helped the Trojans reach the Phoenix one-yard line. Connery completed the drive with a one-yard dash to the left as Homer took a 34-27 lead.
Both defenses took control took control for the remainder of the quarter, but Phoenix struck first in the final 12 minutes. On third-and-seven at its own 42, Phoenix scored when Jacob hart beat the Trojan blitz with a floating pass to Raymond behind the secondary. Raymond completed the 58-yard play by racing into the end zone as the Firebirds drew even at 34-34 with 7:56 left.
Undaunted, Homer responded quickly. On second-and-19, Rivers found Carboine behind the Phoenix secondary. Sixty-seven yards later, Homer was on top to stay and Carboine was in the record books with 6:46 to go. The completion was the eighth in 11 attempts for Rivers, giving him 197 passing yards, second best in school history for a single game.
The next Phoenix possession ended with a Hartnett interception at the Phoenix 16, but the Trojans could not score. The final Firebirds drive reached the Homer 45, but stalled with no timeouts left and an incomplete fourth-down pass.
“We had to keep our heads up tonight,” said Reese. “We knew Phoenix was a big, strong team. We knew we could use the home field advantage and we knew it was the last home game for the seniors. All the rest of us played our best for them.”
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Mustang passing harmful to Tigers
WEST WINFIELD —Justin Deming brought his “A” game Friday night.
With the Cortland High defense doing an effective job of shutting down vaunted Mt. Markham tailback Luke Phillips, the senior quarterback showed some aerial prowess in leading the host Class C Mustangs to a 20-7 halftime lead over their Class A visitors.
Deming also had a big impact on defense, picking off a halfback pass from Brandon Fitzgerald with Cortland knocking on the door and returning it 98 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter that effectively decided the issue in what ended up a 40-21 win by the hosts.
For the Purple Tigers, now 1-4 overall, the primary task coming in was to slow down Phillips, who came in having already gained 1,118 yards and scored 15 TDs. They held the 6-3, 205-pound senior to a season-low 95 yards on 15 carries, though he scored a TD from 27 yards out — his longest run of the night.
“We did a great job of stopping the run, and thought we could stop their passing,” a glum CHS coach Dave Darrow said. “Jake Bryson and Josh Morehouse at middle linebacker, tackles Brad Rogers and Matt Pitcher and Dan Foster at nose did good jobs stopping them on the ground, but we didn’t get the job done covering their receivers.
“On a lot of the passes to number three, no one moved back on the ball, which was up there a long time,” he added, referring to Mt. Markham senior Kyle Maxson who came up with four of the winners’ five receptions including a TD grab. “We didn’t make the plays, and they took advantage; good teams are going to do that. We gave them a couple of TDs (on interception returns), and that was the difference. Offensively, we ran the ball well tonight, but just couldn’t push it in.”
Cortland had its way with its hosts after receiving the opening kickoff, going 60 yards on 13 plays, 12 of them on the ground, with junior fullback Josh Morehouse going in from one yard out and classmate Levi Walrath adding the conversion kick to make it 7-0. Senior quarterback A.J. Meldrim and senior end Brian Sypher connected on a 14-yard pass to the one-yard line on fourth-and-three the play before the score.
MT. MARKHAM (now 5-0 overall) owned the rest of the half, scoring on all three of its possessions while Cortland punted, was stopped on downs and was halted by the end of the half the other three times it had the ball. The 27-yard scoring run by Phillips and Maxson’s kick tied the game two minutes after CHS scored, the big play on that drive a 36-yard hookup from Deming to sophomore fullback Matt Casale.
Deming found Maxson on a fourth-and-two from the Cortland three 3:28 into the second quarter, and Maxson added the kick to make it 14-7 Mustangs. The TD was the third aerial connection between the two on the drive, the other two totaling 29 yards.
Casale barreled in from the one-yard line with 35 seconds left in the first half to make it 20-7 (the kick failed), capping a drive that featured a 27-yard pass from Deming to Maxson, who had four catches for 59 yards and the TD on the night.
All told, Deming was 5-for-7 in the first half for 95 yards and the TD, with no interceptions. “Cortland looked to shut Luke down, and did a good job of it,” said Mustangs coach Rich Waite, who noted that his star tailback’s previous low-yardage mark for a game was 180 in the season-opener against Canastota. “Give them credit; they played him tough up the middle, though he was able to get outside some. But the great thing is that we have more than one weapon. We threw the ball very well last year, and Justin and Kyle hooked up tonight.”
“It started in modified, and I threw the ball to Kyle all last year,” Deming said. “I was a little surprised we were able to pass so well; I think they were keying on Luke so much that they weren’t expecting anything deep. Coach pretty much called the TD;; he knew Kyle would be open. Being that close to the end zone, we thought that they might bite on a fake (handoff).”
“They were keying on Luke a lot; you have to,” Maxson said. “Our offensive line made it (passing success) happen by giving Justin time to throw the ball. This is the most catches and receiving yards I’ve had this season.”
Deming didn’t throw a single official pass — there was one conversion toss — in the second half. In fact, Mt. Markham got off only 10 offensive plays over the final two quarters. That was due in large part to the fact that Cortland was able to roll up yardage on the ground and maintain possession for extended periods, while the Mustangs scored twice on the interception returns.
AS NOTED, DEMING’S pickoff and TD return was a huge factor in the contest. Cortland kicked off to start the second half and forced Mt. Markham to punt for the only time in the game, starting at its own 20 after a touchback on Maxson’s 46-yard boot. The visitors subsequently drove to the Mustang four-yard line in 12 plays, 11 of them on the ground.
On third and goal from the four, junior tailback Brandon Fitzgerald took a pitch to the right and, under pressure, lofted a pass that Deming grabbed on the two before going the other way untouched for a TD to make it 28-7 after he hit senior Matt Kenyon with the conversion pass.
“If we score there, it’s a different game,” Darrow said. “We played better defense in the second half after making some adjustments, changing up to a cover-3 instead of a cover-2, and stopped their first drive.”
“I was playing right tackle, and ended up going with the play,” Deming said with a smile in describing his game-clincher. “I thought it was a sweep, but when I looked up the ball was in front of my face. I grabbed it, saw a wall of blue (Mustang jerseys) in front of me and shouted ‘Go!’”
Two plays into the fourth quarter, senior defensive back Steve Jones stepped in front of a Meldrim pass and took it 67 yards to the end zone to up the hosts’ margin to 34-7 after the kick missed.
Cortland then embarked on a 85-yard, 16-play drive than was capped by a two-yard TD run by senior Dan Foster, Morehouse banging in with the conversion run to make it 34-15. Mt. Markham, with subs for both teams seeing playing time, then scored again, senior fullback Rob Patrick going in from a yard out prior to another missed kick. Foster went in from a yard out on the final play of the game to account for the final score, with no conversion attempted.
CORTLAND RUSHED for a season-high 349 yards on 66 carries, Morehouse lugging the ball 24 times for a season-high 130 yards and the TD to lead the way while Foster finished with 93 yard (including 86 in the second half) on 14 carries and the two TDs. Morehouse was also the leading receiver with three grabs for 31 more yards. The visitors had a 409-252 advantage in total yards and, due to Mt. Markham’s lightning-quick defensive TDs and their own extended drives, had possession of the ball for just under 31 of the game’s 48 minutes.
The loss to a Class C team won’t affect his team, according to Darrow, who said: “We’re going to play well the next two weeks (starting with a 6:30 p.m. visit to Jamesville-DeWitt this Friday), and will do well after that (in sectionals or crossovers).”
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