October 15, 2011
No 2nd for CHS
J-D prevails, 22-12
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Jonathan Prior (15) of Cortland High blocks out Austin Tousaw (44) of Jamesville-DeWitt as Qwuhail Barlow (1) looks to run outside in a driving rain Friday at Moiseichik Field. J-D was a 22-12 winner.
The Jamesville-DeWitt football team headed back north Friday night fresh off a 22-12 win over Cortland High on Senior Night at Moiseichik Field and looking forward to its first home playoff game since 1997.
The Purple Tigers, meanwhile, will head in the same direction on a lot longer trip this Friday to go against Indian River for their quarterfinal playoff contest. According to a report in the Watertown Times, the game will probably be played at Watertown High since the Warriors’ home field is unplayable.
The Red Rams (3-1 league, 5-2 overall) won the rain-soaked battle for second place in the Class A American Division over CHS (2-2, 3-4), while Indian River (3-1, 6-1) wrapped up the second spot in the Class A National by beating host Watertown 14-8 for its fifth straight victory. The Cyclones (2-2, 4-3) will thus head south this Friday to take on J-D.
Other quarterfinal games on Friday will see A American champion East Syracuse-Minoa (4-0, 7-0) host Carthage (1-3, 2-5) the A National’s fourth-place squad, while Fowler (1-3, 1-6), which finished fourth in the A American, visits A National winner Whitesboro (4-0, 7-0), the two-time defending sectional Class A champion.
The official brackets for all five classes will be announced by Section 3 at 3 p.m. Sunday, and after that can be found on the website www.twcs.tv.
“We didn’t cover the pass very well early, but got better,” Cortland coach Dave Darrow said in the wake of the loss.
“I felt pretty good getting back to 15-12 (from a 15-0 deficit), then they had that big run,” he added an 81-yard touchdown scamper by J-D’s Josiah Williams to icing the game. “We did some things well. It wasn’t the best weather for us, but we adapted. Now we take a bus ride and see what we can do. What a disappointment.”
All told, Cortland lost all four of its home games this season — two at SUNY Cortland and two at Moiseichik Field — while going 3-0 on the road.The Purple Tigers have seen Indian River once already this season, the Warriors coming south and scoring a 48-0 win at SUNY Cortland back on Sept. 16. Neither that, nor the sting of the loss to J-D with another home game on the line, will have an effect on his team this coming week, according to Darrow.
“They can’t remember things from the day before,” he said with the hint of a smile. “I don’t think any of it will matter. We have to get ready to play. We have a week to get ready and go. This was a great game; it’s getting to be a good rivalry. J-D executed well, ran well, and is well-coached. They wanted to win.”
THE RED RAMS LED 15-6 at intermission but the momentum was shifting to the hosts, who scored the final TD of the first half.
“We talked about two things at halftime,” J-D coach Eric Ormond said. “One was playing to win; we were in a similar situation against Cortland last season and wound up losing (36-26).
“The second was our response to negative stimuli. Devon Darrow, Jonathan Prior, Qwuhail Barlow and Dylan Stafford are great players, and that team doesn’t get held to under 20 points too often. We knew they’d get theirs, on a big play or long drive, and we couldn’t go into the tank if they did.”
Once Cortland had pulled to within 15-12 on an eight-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Devon Darrow to junior wide receiver Josh Gutchess, the Red Rams showed that they’d paid attention to their coach at halftime. Having already converted a third-and-six from their own 33 on the drive, via a 16-yard run by senior halfback Amani Jackson, the visitors faced a third-and 11 at their own 49.
Williams, a junior halfback, took a pitch from senior quarterback Eric Thompson heading left, then cut back in, headed right and rambled the 51 yards to the end zone to make it 22-12 with 7:51 left after Thompson’s conversion kick. Neither team managed a first down the rest of the way.
“I got good blocking from the line and wide receivers, especially (junior) Taumeras Howard,” said Williams, who finished with 87 yards on five carries. “I was running, saw some holes and cut that bad boy back up. It felt great; as I got close to the end zone I was thinking that we just blew the game open.
“We’d talked about 1997 being the last home playoff game and wanted to get one; we want to make some history for the program and are ready to play.”
A combination of the wet weather and two sharp defense hampered both teams offensively, J-D with a 261-206 advantage in total yardage. The Red Rams had 219 rushing yards to 99 for the hosts. Cortland had 107 yards in the air to the visitors’ 42 (with no pass attempts in the second half) as Devon Darrow completed 13-of 25 passes with two TDs and one interception.
J-D HAD SOME trouble hanging on to the ball, losing two of its six fumbles, mostly on snaps, in the contest. “When you fumble a snap you’re behind schedule and that makes it tough on the offense,” Ormond said. “But the kids made the plays we had to have to win.”
A bad snap by Cortland, over punter Darrow’s head on the hosts’ first possession after Stafford’s fumble recovery at the hosts’ 41-yard line, led to the first points of the game midway through the first quarter as Darrow intentionally kicked the ball through the end zone for a safety. J-D started the ensuing drive at the Purple Tiger 45 after the free kick went out of bounds there.
After three plays failed to net any yards, senior Jake LaRussa, back to punt on fourth down, took off with the ball and went 22 yards to the CHS 22. Five plays later Thompson went in from four yards out and added the conversion kick to make it 9-0 for the visitors with 3:07 left in the first quarter.
Cortland went four-and-out on its next possession, and Howard took the punt back 25 yards to the Purple Tiger 37. Five plays later sophomore back Rasheed Baker went in from three yards out, the conversion run coming up short, to make it 15-0 1:10 into the second.
Teeter’s fumble recovery, at the J-D 47, led to Cortland’s first TD as, eight plays later, Darrow connected with Stafford on a 20-yard TD pass with 7:06 left before halftime, the conversion pass coming up just short to leave the score 15-6.
The third quarter was scoreless but ended with Cortland on the Red Rams’ 26. Three plays into the fourth Darrow hit junior wide receiver Josh Gutchess with a swing pass that turned into an eight-yard scoring play, making it a 15-12 game after an incomplete conversion pass.
J-D then embarked on the six-play, 71-yard drive that culminated in Williams’ game-clinching scoring jaunt. The teams swapped four-and-outs the rest of the way.
“We played good defense;” Dave Darrow said. “The worked hard on it, and (defensive coordinator) Paul Thomas did a nice job. We had them penned in a few times, and they completed a couple of good throws (for first downs) in the first half.”
“Both teams were dead even, with the same thing on the line,” Ormond said. “As it always is when we play Cortland, it was a good, hard-fought game. We just got a few bounces.”
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