October 12, 2006


Trojans get back to .500

Field Hockey

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Bailey O’Donnell, left, of Homer Central pushes ball past a Cato-Meridian defender Wednesday night at Butts Field. Trojans posted 5-0 shutout.

Jenae Griffith scored a three-goal hat trick in the opening half as Homer Central girls climbed back to the .500 mark after a 5-0 OHSL West Division field hockey win over Cato-Meridian Wednesday at Butts Field.
Ashley Brown tallied twice, too, as the Trojans improved to 3-3-1 in division play and 6-6-1 overall.
“The girls had great passing and stick work,” Homer coach Kate Smith said. “Bailey O’Donnell did a great job cutting for passes, carrying to a space and looking up for a pass. Jenae and Ashley obviously had great stick work in the circle, rushing their own shots and seeing the corners of the goal.
“Strong and supportive defense was played by all. Rachel Nachtrieb, now playing the center halfback position, did a great job carrying the ball away from the circle.”
Brown opened the scoring 2:49 into the match with her first of two unassisted goals. She netted her 11th goal of the season with 5:25 left in the match for the only goal of the second half. The junior leads the team in scoring with 12 points.
Griffith began her three-goal run with 15:41 left in the first half. The junior found the goal again with 12:19 to play in the half and put her team on top 4-0 with 7:08 to go in the first half. Griffith now has six and five assists for 11 points.
Trojan goalkeeper Stefanie Lewis kept the visitors off the scoreboard the rest as the junior made three saves for the shutout. Jennifer Leach made nine saves for Cato-Meridian.
Homer will travel Friday to Weedsport for a 4:30 p.m. division clash. On Saturday, the field hockey team will have a bottle and can drive starting at noon at the high school.
THE CORTLAND HIGH game at Weedsport Wednesday was postponed due to poor playing conditions, with no makeup date set as of press time.




Homer can’t afford to look past host J-E

Staff Writer

With the number-two spot already secured in the Section 3 Football Conference Class B West Division standings heading into the final night of the regular season, Homer Central still cannot afford to be relaxed and looking ahead to a playoff game next week.
The Trojans, now ranked 17th in the latest NYS Class B poll, are coming off a 38-20 record-setting win by senior tailback Mark Brenchley and the entire Trojan ground game over Marcellus with a trip to Jordan-Elbridge Friday night. The Eagles enter the 7 p.m. contest at 1-4 in B-West play (1-5 overall), but have played better than their record indicates.
“We have been away for the B-West for a couple of years,” stated J-E head coach Mike Smart. “We dropped down to Class C for a couple of seasons to regroup and came back to Class B in 2005. We won the B-North title last year and were the only team in that division to make the playoffs.
“We have been very competitive with everyone in the first half of our games this year,” he adds. “The second half has been tough on us, we just have not played four quarters of football and you need to be that in a tough division like this. The players are happy that we have been competitive and we are looking forward to playing against Homer Friday night.”
“Jordan-Elbridge has played other teams tough this season,” Homer head coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “We need to ready to play. We have been very focused in practice this week. We studied the game films and have learned a number of their tendencies. The guys have been learning about J-E and asking questions to help us be prepared.
“Weather could play a factor in the game. There is a lot of talk about it being cold and windy with either rain or snow. That would be a factor to be considered on game night, but it will also be something that both teams will have to deal with.”
Jordan-Elbridge runs a Pro-I formation offensively. It leads itself to a power-running game with blast and trap plays, plus some option_opportunities.
Senior quarterback Jim Hayes (5-foot-9, 155 lbs.) calls the signals. Hayes has completed 24-of-76 passing attempts for 463 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Hayes has also rushed for 98 yards on one touchdown on 16 carries. Those numbers are very similar to Trojan senior QB Tristan Hartnett (6-2, 180) who has completed 21-of-53 attempts for 397 yards with four TDs and four interceptions. Hartnett has run for 67 yards on 51 carries and one touchdown.
The Eagles backfield includes senior fullback Jake Bandera (5-10, 185) and junior tailback Joe Poppe (5-6, 155). Poppe is the leading J-E rusher with 561 yards on 88 carries and three TDs. Poppe also has seven catches for 114 yards and one TD. Bandera has touched the ball 13 times for 96 yards (7.4 yards/carry) and one touchdown. Seniors R.J. Metz and Tom Guadagnolo are available to spell Poppe at tailback.
Senior Matt Wilsey (6-2, 170) is the top Eagle receiver with nine catches for 141 yard and two touchdowns. He is one wideout with senior Jason Coleman (5-9, 165) being the other wideout. Senior James Simmons (5-10, 160) is the tight end. He has six catches for 122 yards.
The offensive line has Pat Cooper (6-2, 200) at center, senior Kevin Munson and junior Dustin Duger at the guards with senior Lucas Overton and junior Cameron Hemler (6-1, 200) at the tackles.
“Jordan-Elbridge has good running attack,” Podseidlik said. “They will run the blast and sometimes a double blast out of a stacked-I with thee running backs. They also run a fullback-trap play as good as anyone. They sometimes do use the shotgun.”
Defensively, Jordan-Elbridge plays a base 4-4 formation. Senior and Gaudagnolo are the ends with senior Matt Weatherstone (5-10, 190) and sophomore Joe Ripa (6-3, 300) at the tackles. The outside linebackers are junior Richard Benesch and Overton with Bandera and Metz the inside linebackers. Hayes and Coleman are the cornerbacks with junior Brian Belcher at free safety.
Both coaches offer their keys to victory.
“Obviously, Mark Brenchley is a big key to their offense,” said Smart. “We need to contain him. You do not totally stop a running back like him, but you do want to contain him. That is our biggest key defensively.
“Offensively, we need to establish our running game against their 3-5-3 look. If we can move the ball, we use the clock and keep the ball out of their hands.”
“Our run game needs to take care of us, that is no secret,” said Podsiedlik. “The weather could be a factor. We need to protect the ball well. If it is cold and rainy, snaps, holding the ball and punting could get interesting.
“Defensively, we cannot give up the big play. We know what they usually run in certain situations, but Jordan-Elbridge always has four or five trick plays that they could go to. We need to be ready for those and not give up big yardage or touchdowns.”
With second-place secured in the division, Homer fans can look forward to a Butts Field quarterfinal round game next week. The semifinals will be held at neutral sites with the Class B finals in the Carrier Dome.
Trojan Tidbits: Mark Brenchley received A Pizza & More Most Outstanding Player Award honors. Talon Sprouse was the Practice Player of the Week for Solvay. Blue Collar Awards went to Mark Brenchley (non-line) and Jon Morrison (line). Brenchley has also been named the WTVH Channel 5 Player of the Week.Homer holds 7-3-1 advantage in the series against the Eagles.. The last meeting between the two teams was 2003 with the Trojans winning 29-0. Senior tailback Luke Siwula rushed for 118 yards, but no touchdowns, on 17 carries. Senior quarterback Will Rumsey threw for two TDs, ran for one TD and kicked a 25-yd. field goal while sophomore tailback Dustin Morris scored his first varsity TD on 16-yd. run in the fourth quarter.. Prior to that meeting, the Mustangs won 24-0 in 1998, the final game of the season.. For Trojan fans driving to Jordan-Elbridge, here are the direction, courtesy of the Homer Central School web site. Take Route 41 to Skaneateles. Turn left onto Route 20 and then turn right onto Jordan Road. Outside of Skaneateles at a “Y” in the road, bear to your left (Jordan Road becomes Hamilton Road). Continue on Hamilton Road to traffic light in Jordan. High school is just ahead on the left about one mile.



Banged-up CHS heads to healthy Fulton

Staff Writer

It almost isn’t fair.
When the Cortland High football team visits Fulton at 6 p.m. Friday in the Section 3 Class A American finale for both teams, it will be a match-up of two teams heading in opposite directions — both on the field and personnel-wise.
The Red Raiders, who were plagued with injuries entering the season, will be at their healthiest_all season, according to coach Mike Connors, with all but one player back.
Cortland, meanwhile, will be without two-way junior linemen Chris Fernandes (thigh injury) and Brett Miller (ankle) this week, as well as leading receiver Kaywon Pittman (two catches for 280 yards and one touchdown), who was suspended for the game by Purple Tigers head coach Jim Brown.
A trio of sophomores will be up from the CHS junior varsity for Friday’s contest and all three will start — offensive tackle Eric Confer, linebacker Garrett Wyatt and fullback John Morehouse, the latter as Jon Wood moves to guard in place_of Fernandes.
The Red Raiders, ranked 19th in the state among Class A squads, have won their last four games to improve to 3-1 in league play and 5-1 overall. They are locked into the league’s second seed for the upcoming sectionals, as the loss came to East Syracuse-Minoa — still unbeaten in league play. Ironically, even though it is the perennial league champion, Fulton may have its best-ever team — and best shot for sectional success – in a year in which it doesn’t win the league.
“In my opinion, they’re the top Class A team in the section, the best Fulton team we’ve seen and the best team we’ve faced this season,” said Brown, whose squad is 0-4 in league play, 0-6 overall and destined for a pair of season-ending crossover contests against other non-playoff teams. “They’re starting to get healthy and are on a roll; they beat up on Jamesville-DeWitt pretty good (last Friday).”
The Red Raiders did indeed have their way with the host Red Rams, rolling to a 48-13 victory. “We totally lambasted them,” Fulton coach Mike Connors said. “We could have done about anything we wanted to. Either they’re not as good as they’re made out to be, or we’re really coming along.”
“It’s more of the latter,” Brown said without hesitation when informed of that comment. “They’re another in a line of tough teams on our schedule — the toughest yet — that have a lot of seniors. Mike told me before the season that they’d be real strong, and had a shot at winning the league and sectionals. He also said that they had people banged up, but they’re back now.”
Heading up the list of Fulton upperclassmen is tailback Cameron Cotton (6-0, 185 pounds), who also plays safety on defense and who Brown noted “may be a Division I-level back.” He’s gained 850 yards on 110 carries this season 7.73 yards per carry) and has scored 17 touchdowns for 102 points, far and away the top figure in A American.
He is complemented by senior fullback Mitch Smith, who has lugged the ball 101 times for 556 yards (5.50) and six touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Mike Clark (5-10, 175) has completed 24-of-50 passes (480) for 360 yards, his top receiver being Smith, who’s come out of the backfield to snag eight passes for 119 yards.
“They have a big offensive line that we don’t match up with well,” Brown said. “They have a huge size advantage. Both of their lines are good-sized and physical.”
“We go with a cross between the veer option and the Wing-T on offense,” Connors said. “The key linemen are our tackles, Adam Kinney 6-4, 240 senior) and Greg Hartranft (6-1, 250 senior). We go out of either a 5-3 or 4-4 on defense; Cotton, at safety, is better on defense than he is on offense, and our middle linebacker, Andy Chapman (6-0, 235 senior) is really good.
Andy Aubin (6-2, 250 senior defensive end) is back after having his knee scoped, while Kinney and Ryan Barton (6-0, 280 junior lineman) are both good. Adam Masle (5-10, 175 senior split end defensive back) is with us for the first time since the opener, when he suffered a concussion and, once he was recovered from that, a knee sprain.”
Connors respects Cortland, which in the past has usually given his squad good games — such as last fall’s 8-2 Red Raider win at Moiseichik Field — but is more concerned about his own team’s performance.
“We need to play good solid offense and defense and we should be fine. Eliminating turnovers and penalties are our goals. Actually, I’ve been happy because we’re plus-12 in turnovers; now we need to stop making silly penalties. Cortland is scrappy and plays hard; weirder things have happened in sports than them coming up here and beating us.
“At this point we’re evaluating kids on quality of play and not necessarily wins and losses; we’re a second seed no matter what, but we’re getting better by the day. We want to elevate our level, and don’t want to go into the playoffs on a negative note.”
“We have to be able to run the ball effectively,” Brown said. “We can’t turn the ball over, and will look to pass when we can. We want to stay in it the best we can and get some confidence as we go along. We can’t give up big plays; they had a lot of long runs and passes against J-D (including a 52-yard TD run by Cotton, who ended up with 176 yards on 15 carries and two TDs.
“We hope to get a little bad weather; sometimes when a strong team and one that is struggling play, that can benefit a team like us that’s been struggling. A sloppy field would slow them down.”
“Rain could be a great equalizer,” Connors said. “But we’re bigger and more physical, so that aspect of it favors us.”
Senior halfback Brian Benford is still the Purple Tigers’ leading rusher with 269 yards on 55 carries (4.89) and two TDs. Senior quarterback Tim Fulton has completed 27-of-54 passes (.500) for 279 yards, one TD and eight interceptions, while junior A.J. Meldrim is 13-for-37 (.393) for 176 yards, a TD and five interceptions. After Pittman, the next-best receiver is Benford, with six catches for 67 yards (11.17), while sophomore Will Fickenscher has three grabs for 50 yards (16.67).