October 10, 2013
Homer opportunity knocks
Destiny is knocking on the door for Homer Central.
The question is will the Trojans answer.
For the first time since 1987, Homer has the chance to be sole league football champions as New York State’s seventh-ranked Trojans head to Marcellus with its perfect 4-0 Section 3 Class B West Division record and 5-0 overall mark.
The Mustangs are the only team within one game of Homer with their 3-1 league mark and 3-2 overall record after last week’s 49-21 loss to Chittenango. A Trojan win in the 7 p.m. Friday contest will give Homer a two-game lead over everyone heading into the final week. The Trojans are coming off a 42-2 victory at Solvay.
“The kids understand what’s on the line,” Marcellus coach Joe Fiacchi said as his team prepares for the showdown on Homecoming and Senior Night. “You never want to lose, but Chittenango has a winning program. We didn’t play well and they took advantage of our mistakes.
“Homer is a much more dangerous team now that their passing game is coming around,” he continued. “You know that they are going to run the ball at you, but with the passing game Homer becomes more two-dimensional and that makes them even tougher. We know that they are playing very well.”
“We shared the title in 2010, but it certainly has been a while since we won the league title outright,” Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “Chittenango played a tough, physical game against Marcellus and that’s what we will need to do.
“Marcellus throws a bit of everything at you on offense and plays good solid defense,” he added. “We have to be prepared for it all, but our guys have risen to every challenge so far and I expect we will again Friday.”
On offense, Marcellus uses the shotgun formation a lot with combinations from no backs in a spread look to two backs. One constant seems to be double tight ends along with a big offensive line for propel the run and pass game.
Those tight ends are seniors Mike Hastings (6-foot-5, 235 pounds) and Wyatt Stehle (6-3, 225). Senior Tom Wagner (6-4, 263) anchors the line at center with senior Bryan DeCook (6-2, 305) at right guard and senior Dan O’Connell (6-1, 220) at right tackle while sophomore Jack Brennan (6-0, 185)is the left guard and senior Stephen Hogan (6-5, 269) in the left tackle.
Senior quarterback Tom Keegan (6-0, 175) calls the signals with junior Ian McGloon (6-1, 170) at tailback. Keegan has completed 64-of-121 passing attempts for 1, 010 yards and nine touchdowns with one interception.. He has also run for 454 yards and six touchdowns on 70 attempts. McGloon has carried the ball 76 times for 622 yards and six touchdowns. The wide receivers are junior Will Coon (6-1, 165) and freshman Tom Fiacchi (5-11, 160). Coon leads the Mustangs with 22 receptions for 529 yards and five touchdowns. Hastings has 14 catches for 182 yards and two TDs while Stehle has 13 catches for 115 yards.
The best in the Class B West are certainly on display Friday as Keegan is the leading passer and Coon the leading receiver in yards.
Homer has the best running back in Alec Bush. The 5-8, 178-pound junior tailback has rushed for 779 yards and eight touchdowns on 90 carries, an 8.66 yards per carry clip. Junior Gage Root (5-11, 170), senior Chris Brown (6-0, 185) and senior Jake Casey (6-1, 165) are just some of the changes of pace the Trojan ground game offer. Root has rushed for 226 yards, Brown 185 and Casey 149.
“It will really be more of a case of matching personnel against personnel in this game,” Podsiedlik said. “They like to throw a lot of screen passes and flat passes along with running the option. There are a lot of scenarios to prepare for.”
Defensively, the Mustangs use a five-man front. Junior Nate David (6-1, 260) is the nose with seniors John Dunn (5-6, 205) and Truman Derrick (6-0, 168) at the tackles.. The defensive ends are sophomore Mike Keegan (6-1, 175) and Stehle. The linebackers are senior Eli Parrish (5-10, 180) and senior Brian Boise (5-6, 200). In the secondary, Tom Keegan and junior Aaron Cusick (5-11, 160) are the cornerbacks, Sophomore Ross Filtch (5-9, 160) is the strong safety and junior Drew Mosher (6-0, 160) is the free safety. Filtch also handles the PAT and field goal kicking duties.
“To win this game, we will have to move the ball on offense,” Fiacchi said. “We need to control the clock. We can’t turn the all over and give Homer extra scoring chances.
“Field position is so critical in big games,” he added. “We need to make Homer have long drives where mistakes can happen. They have proved they can score from anywhere, but they are especially dangerous if given a short field. We also have to be aware of Homer’s ability (Jayden Gavidia) to score on punts and kickoff return.”
“This is the biggest team we have face all season,” Podsiedlik said, “We will need to use our speed, quickness and intensity to control them. We need to continue to force turnovers and make any tackles we may have in the open field.
“We need to continue to have some balance of offense between the run and pass,” he continued. “I really believe special teams could be a key to determining the winner.”
TROJAN TIDBITS: Homer holds a 14-7 record against Marcellus. The Trojans have won the last two meetings, 26-19 victory in 2012 at Butts Field and 7-6 the year before. The Mustangs won four straight meetings between 2007-2010...Blue Collar Award winners were Gage Root (line) and Connor Simonetta (non-line)....Drew Cottrell is the game captain for the Marcellus game.
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