October 6, 2011
CHS out to build momentum
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Quarterback Devon Darrow, warding off an Indian River tackler here, heads up a Cortland High team facing Fowler Friday night in Syracuse.
Cortland High football coach Dave Darrow hopes that a big win last Friday will get something started for his Cortland High football team, which meets Fowler at Henninger High’s Sunnycrest Field in Syracuse Friday in a 7:30 p.m. start.
“Beating Homer was a boost,” said Darrow, his team on the long end of a 36-21 score to end a three-game losing streak and claim its third win in the last four meetings with the Trojans. “The kids are having a good week of practice. We have to get going somewhere. We want to get ready for Jamesville-DeWitt with a two-game winning streak.”
CHS will host J-D on Oct. 14 to finish off the regular season.
The Purple Tigers are 1-1 in the Class A American Division and 2-3 overall heading into Friday’s contest, while Fowler is 1-2 in the league and 1-4 overall — the lone win a 14-8 overtime win over a Fulton squad that the Purple Tigers walloped 70-36 to open the season.
CHS and the Falcons have both clinched playoff berths in the five-team league, and the winner on Friday can finish no lower than third for seeding purposes. If the Purple Tigers win, they will most likely face J-D next Friday with second place — and a first-round home game against Indian River, Watertown or Carthage — on the line.
“We have to win our next two games,” Darrow said. “You can’t hope to do anything in sectionals without going in with a few wins in a row. We want to win out so we can finish second and play at home in the first round; let them (whoever the opponent is) drive two hours on a bus to get to the game. We have to win this game, and the next one.”
As for Fowler, Darrow noted that “They’re very athletic. They’ve simplified their offense so they don’t make as many mistakes. They go with twin wideouts and a tight end on the line or sometimes two on each side out of the I-Formation, or Spread. Defensively it’s hard to tell; they’re all over the place. It looks like they base things on the 5-3, or maybe the 4-4. They line up in the wrong places sometimes.
“Their top players are London Oddister (5-10, 180-pound quarterback-linebacker), Shaquill Giles (5-11, 170 tailback-defensive back), Dalton Cooley (5-11, 220 fullback-linebacker), Brandon Grealish (6-2, 200 wideout-defensive back), James Wimple (5-7, 145 nose tackle-fullback) and Jajuan Ortman (5-10, 165 wideout-safety).”
Darrow also said of Fowler that “They have pretty good-sized linemen, though I don’t think they’re really big overall. They don’t throw real well, and they run the ball a lot to try and use the clock. They do their rushing behind Cooley; where he goes, the ball goes. If we can get to him and knock him down at or behind the line of scrimmage, we’ll be all right. If he gets to the linebackers it could be dangerous.
“The keys for us will be stopping their running game, getting some turnovers and being able to move the ball.”
“Cortland looks great,” Fowler coach John Natoli said. “Jonathan Prior is a good runner, Qwuhail Barlow is a deep threat and Devon Darrow is a great player who can pass and run well and does a great job of running the offense. They have a nice, balanced attack, and we have to try to minimize what each coaches does.
“We use the I-formation and Spread on offense and a combination 40-50 package on defense. Dalton is a big, strong kid, our leading rusher (Fowler’s stats were unavailable) and our lead blocker, who’s also played tailback. Jajuan is our top receiver, and London is our quarterback or tailback and needs to have a good game. We’re averaging seven turnovers a game, with a lot of fumbles somewhere between the center, quarterback and tailback. Floyd Hartford (6-4, 220 senior defensive end-tight end) is our defensive leader.”
Natoli noted that two tailbacks, Gilles and Rahsean White (6-0, 160 junior), are hurt this week, their statuses for Friday uncertain. Gilles has an arm injury and White has a hand injury, he said.
This will be the third home game at as many venues for Fowler, which earlier played at the Carrier Dome and Corcoran. “A field’s a field,” Natoli said. “We get to wear our home jerseys, play in beautiful stadiums and a neutral site is better than playing away.”
Senior tailback Jonathan Prior leads the Purple Tigers’ ground attack with 561 yards on 78 carries (7.19 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, and is also the leading scorer with 48 points on eight TDs, including a pass reception, two fumble returns, a kickoff return and a punt return). Senior quarterback Devon Darrow has completed 52-of-99 passes (.525) for 797 yards (15.33 yards per completion) and eight TDs. Senior wideout Qwuhail Barlow is the top receiver with 19 catches for 547 yards (28.79 yards per grab) and six TDs.
DIRECTIONS TO HENNINGER: Take Route 81 North to I-690 East. Get off I-690 East at Exit 14 (Teall Ave.) and turn left onto Teall Ave. for a half-mile. Turn right onto Robinson Street from Teall; the school is on the right.
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