October 10, 2009
Cortland beaten at own game
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland’s Shakief Rivers (2) gets rapped up by Jamesville-Dewitt’s Jerome Bryant (24) in the first quarter of Friday’s Class A football matchup. Visiting J-D was a 13-3 winner at wet Moisiechik Field.
The Cortland High football team went back in time to try to deal with Friday’s wet, sloppy conditions at Moiseichik Field. Visiting Jamesville-DeWitt, meanwhile, did its best to revisit past glories.
The Purple Tigers junked their spread offense to go with the more conservative ground-oriented approach they used last year, but the Red Rams beat them at their own game. J-D outgained the Homecoming hosts 285-75 on the ground en route to a 13-3 Section 3 Class A American Division win that enabled them to wrap up their first sectional playoff berth since 2006.
Senior tailback Jailaan Kinsey spearheaded the J-D offense, picking up 226 yards on 32 carries and scoring a touchdown. By comparison, CHS ran the ball 27 times as a team and had just 31 offensive snaps in all.
The winners had 301 yards of total offense to 132 for CHS, which at 1-4 league and 1-5 overall won’t be in the playoffs for the first time since that same 2006 campaign. The Red Rams stuck to the ground for all 22 of their second-half plays, a dozen of those belonging to Kinsey.
“We played better by putting in last year’s offense to give ourselves a chance with the weather,” Cortland coach Dave Darrow said. “We figured it would be muddy, so we’d have to run a bit better. We changed things up, ran the trap. Brian Strough did a nice job playing fullback for the first time (the junior having been a two-way lineman) and Alex Stacy also did a good job, ran hard and broke some tackles.”
An injured wrist kept junior tailback Stacy out of first-half offensive duties. Stacy had 29 yards on seven carries,while Stough picked up 30 yards on seven carries.
That was no match for Kinsey, the younger brother of former J-D standout Adonis Kinsey — who was a two-time all-state pick, also starred in basketball and played three years of football for the University of Massachusetts from 2000 to 2002.
“Kinsey runs hard,” said Darrow. “His brother was pretty good, too. He runs and slashes.”
“Give it all to my blockers.Without them I couldn’t have broken even one,” said Kinsey, who came in having gained 336 yards on 61 carries this season. “The wide receivers did a nice job of blocking the corners. We saw a weakness on the right side and kept running there to exploit it.
“Earlier this year I said that we didn’t have a kid we could give the ball to 25 times. I rescind that,” Red Rams coach Eric Ormond smiled, his team now 3-2 in league play and 3-3 overall. “Jailaan, a lot of times, hit holes and went five yards untouched; I’m proud of our senior offensive linemen as well as (senior fullbacks) Jerome Bryant and Tim Bright, who both did a nice job of sealing the gap.
“To me, the playoffs are insignificant. We just have to think about the next game. There are so many facets we need to improve on. We have to teach the kids how to win and play the game the right way. Some teams, even when they’re down, can finish first or second just by playing the right way. That’s were we need to get to. It takes physicality and discipline, two aspects we try to enhance and define.”
THE RED RAMS had plenty of both Friday night. Now, they head into the final week of the regular season tied for third in the league with Nottingham, and will visit Fulton this Friday while Nottingham visits second-place East Syracuse-Minoa.
J-D down deep in Cortland territory on their first two possessions, but a 33-yard jaunt around the right side by Kinsey to the Cortland 21-yard line on third-and-eight early in the second quarter kept what would be their first scoring drive alive. Junior quarterback David Sacco found classmate Demetrius Mitchell, a wide receiver, alone in the end zone for 13-yard scoring pass four plays later, the kick by junior Denis Petrovic making it 7-0.
That might have been the halftime score, but Cortland, after stopping J-D on downs at the Purple Tiger 30 with 45 seconds left before intermission, benefited right away from a 15-yard personal foul penalty on J-D before senior quarterback Shane McCaskill found fellow senior Jordan Prior, at wide receiver, down the middle for 38 yards to the J-D five. After a running play that went nowhere and an incomplete pass, senior Justin Burns came on to boot a 22-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
“It was a great situation; we just had to capitalize on it,” Darrow said of the long pass play. “”That would have helped.”
“I yelled at them at halftime,” Ormond said. They played real well, and we should have had more than a 7-3 lead.”
Cortland received the ball to start the second half, and after two Cortland punts sandwiched around one from J-D, Kinsey again took the ball around the right side, this time for 61 yards to the Cortland 10. Three plays later he went in from the six for the last points of the game with 4:42 left in the third after the failed conversion kick. Cortland mounted one more good comeback on its subsequent possession, but came up short on fourth down on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The teams exchanged turnovers late, senior tackle Cody Hartmann recovering a J-D fumble at the Cortland 48 with 2:53 left before McCaskill was intercepted by junior defensive back Ahkeen Williams three plays later at the J-D 40, Williams getting back to the Cortland 40 with the return.
“Cortland is physical and never quits,” Ormond said. “Even on the last play of the game, with their quarterback running around in their territory, all I could think of was a pass going over our heads. In a game like this, with the weather the way it was and only one turnover, I’m proud of how we took care of the ball.”
“I’M REAL HAPPY that we made the playoffs,” said Kinsey, now in his second varsity season. “Last year we only had two wins, but this year we’re confident going in.”
“We had a lot go wrong this year, with 10-plus injuries by now plus some other problems,” Darrow said, “but that’s the way football is. We’re not going to cry about it. We’ll just step it up and play the next two weeks, put some people where they’ll be playing next year, and try to start out next year coming off a couple of wins.”
Cortland finishes the regular season this Friday at Mexico in a 7 p.m. start, and then will face a Class A National non-playoff squad a week later in a crossover game to close things out. The Purple Tigers won’t play a ninth game, Darrow noting that when the decision on that was due to be given to Section 3 by each team, his club had too many injuries.
Prior was named the top offensive player by the CHS coaches, while Strauf won the defensive award, sophomore long snapper Kyle Teeter the special teams honors and junior guard-tight end Greg Congdon the Lunch Bucket Award for the top lineman.
Awards decided on by the coaching staff for the Nottingham game saw junior fullback Luke Bush win the offensive award, senior linebacker Caleb Wright take top defensive honors and senior Camerin Edgar earn the special teams laurels while senior Josh Nelson and Strauf shared the Lunch Bucket.
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