October 16, 2006


Trojans blanked by CHS


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central goalie Joe May traps a ball before Cortland High’s Doug Robbins (14) can attempt a shot on goal late in Saturday’s Butts Field match. Visiting CHS prevailed, 2-0.

Staff Writer

After losing three times and enduring one tie in its past five games, Cortland High boys were looking for some spark to get back on track heading into the final week of regular season.
The Purple Tigers got that spark from senior midfielder Chris Decker, who netted one goal and added one assist as Cortland defeated neighboring rival Homer Central 2-0 Saturday at chilly Butts Field.
The Purple Tigers improved to 9-6-1 overall after the non-league match while the Trojans fell 5-10.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of controlling the ball,” said Cortland coach Dan Law. “Getting the first goal was very important, especially in a game like this. It gives you a little more confidence and helped us settle into our style of play more. Overall, I was very pleased with our play
“Homer did do a good job. I told Dave (Shiffman) that his kids did do some nice things and were very creative with the ball,” he added, referring to the Homer coach.
Capitalizing on the wind-advantage, Cortland controlled first-half play and kept Homer pinned in its defensive end for much of the 40 minutes. The Purple Tigers had five shots in the first 20 minutes, but only one shot was on target and Trojan senior goalkeeper Joe May (nine saves) made that save.
With 19:22 left in the half, Cortland got the lead when Dan Leonard sent a nice crossing pass into the box that Decker headed into the goal for the 1-0 advantage.
“I saw Dan getting ready to cross the ball,” Decker said. “Coach told us to move in, so I set-up near the back post and waited. The ball came in and got my head on it. It is a prefect shot placed right in the corner. It was very important to get that goal early to help keep the intensity up. It hurts the other team’s morale if you can score early. You need to keep that intensity and stay fired up.”
Two minutes later, the Purple Tigers had a chance to increase the lead, but May robbed Theo Bishop on a shot from point-blank range. May slowed the shot down, but the ball continued to roll towards the goal before Shawn Cleary tried the ball away from the goal. The ball still stayed in the box, but Luka Starmer drilled the shot wide of the right post.
Homer suffered a blow at midfield with 13:06 left in the first half. Kyle Metzger went down near midfield. After a few minutes of medical attention, Metzger hobbled off the field, favoring an already tender ankle and never returned to the match. The only Trojan shot in the first half came one minute later, that soft effort easily picked off by goalkeeper Judd Arnold.
Second-half play started physically and Cortland defender Colin Jacob went off the field favoring his ankle.
The wind had also died down and Cortland kept up the pressure. One long Cortland run on the left side of the field culminated with a near breakaway by Joel White, but the senior pushed his shot wide of the near post. Two minutes later, a long direct kick from 45 yards out and stopped by May with a great leaping save.
The Purple Tigers got their insurance goal with 34:24 left. Decker worked the ball up the right side and sent a pass into the box. Starmer received the pass and headed towards the goal. He faked the first shot attempt and made May commit. Starmer then sent the ball towards the post and tucked the shot into the back of the net.
Over the next 18 minutes, Homer got its best offensive effort of the game. Paul Armideo was denied by goalkeeper Ryan Wiehl on a soft shot. Wiehl came up big again one minute later when Pat Cleary got a great look from close range. Cleary shot for the far post, but Wiehl made a great diving save to his right.
The best Trojan scoring chance came with 16 minutes left. Wiehl got pulled out of position, but Leonard dropped behind his keeper and made a great kick save on a Trojan shot. The ball was sent right back in and Leonard again cleared the ball away.
Much of the remaining time was spent between the 18-yard lines and Cortland came away with the 2-0 win.
“I thought that we did play well,” Shiffman said. “Cortland has a lot of tall kids and when you keep the ball in the air they are going to win a lot of those balls. When we kept the ball on the ground, we moved it around well with some good passing.
“When you evaluate what your kids are doing, win or lose, did we doing the things we have been working on? Yes! I am happy with that. Did we hustle? Yes! I was happy with that. On a whole, the kids did a lot of good things.”
Both Cortland and Homer will return to action Tuesday The Purple Tigers host Bishop Ludden at 4:30 p.m. while the Trojans entertain Skaneateles at 6:30 p.m.
HOMER JVs got two goals from Brett Stokoe to post a 2-0 shutout victory over rival Cortland High Saturday at Butts Field. The Trojans improved to 9-5-1 while Cortland fell to 4-10-2.
Stokoe netted his first goal six minutes into the match and a shot floated into the top of the goal. Stokoe scored again with 4:36 left in the match to give the Trojans some breathing room.
“We played a much better second half,” said Homer coach Chad Totman. “I guess it took us the first half to get warmed up. I really do have a great group of kids. Everything has been very positive this season. The guys come ready to play and work hard in practice.”
Cortland High JVs will host Bishop Ludden at Barry Elementary School Tuesday while Homer hosts Skaneateles. Both games start at 4:30 p.m.




Miles helps save day for Dragons

DANBURY, Conn. — Halftime was approaching and the SUNY Cortland football team was in all sorts of peril.
The undefeated Red Dragons had seen a 21-point lead whittled down to a mere touchdown by Saturday afternoon host Western Connecticut State. And to make matters worse, junior starting quarterback Alex Smith was sidelined after suffering a first quarter leg injury.
But sophomore back-up quarterback Ray Miles was not daunted by the task at hand, leading Cortland to an eventual 49-21 victory to keep the Red Dragons atop the New Jersey Athletic Conference standings.
Miles completed 10-of-15 passes for 142 yards in his emergency role at the Westside Athletic Complex, including a pair of touchdown completions to senior wide receiver Anthony Morat. Miles also ran for a touchdown as the Cortland improved to 4-0 in the conference and 6-0 overall — the best start for a Red Dragon team since 1991.
Signal caller Smith went down in the middle of the opening quarter, just when the Red Dragons were driving for their second touchdown of the game.
Third year starter Smith had already scrambled three yards for Cortland’s opening touchdown after Western Connecticut State opened the game with an on-side kick the Red Dragons recovered. Shortly after an interception by cornerback Jeff Beck, Smith had to be carried off the field after a run to the hosts’ 5-yard line. Miles entered the game then, and handed off on the next play for a five-yard touchdown run by tailback Matt Rickert and a 14-0 lead.
Cortland traveled 79 yards to score on its next possession, with Miles throwing a 32-yard end zone strike to Morat to put the Red Dragons ahead 21-0.
THAT IS WHEN Western Connecticut State (1-2 NJAC, 4-2 overall) came alive, scoring twice late in the second quarter. When freshman quarterback James Williams hooked up with stellar receiver Adamis Gonzalez for a 51-yard touchdown pass play on the first snap following a Red Dragon punt, the Colonials were within 21-14 with 2:09 left before halftime.
Just when momentum seemed to favor the hosts, Beck broke off a 61-yard kickoff return down the sideline to the Colonials’ 33-yard line. Miles then directed a four-play touchdown drive capped by his own 1-yard run with 59 seconds to go in the half.
And early in the third quarter, Miles and Morat were hooking up on a 34-yard touchdown pass play that gave the Red Dragons their second 21-point advantage at 35-14.
Western Connecticut kept things interesting, as a Williams to Kerry Perrotta 15-yard touchdown pass arrived late in the third quarter. But Cortland tucked the game away with inside linebacker Matt Montpetit took an interception — one of three thrown by Williams — 35 yards for a touchdown nine seconds into the fourth quarter.
Senior captain Montpetit had 10 tackles and forced a fumble in a performance that earned him NJAC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Junior safety Matt Berman also was in on 10 tackles, with linebacker Dave D’Aurelio with nine stops.
Senior safety Stef Sair had a record-setting interception late in the game, too. That was the 13th pass picked off during Sair’s career, a school record.
Sair’s theft also enabled the Red Dragons to tuck the victory away when back-up Andrew Giuliano scored from two yards out with 1:25 remaining. Matthew Mintz booted his seventh extra point of the day to complete the biggest Red Dragon point output since a season-opening 52-14 romp at Morrisville. For the season, place kicker Mintz is a perfect 25-of-25 in PAT boots.
CORTLAND HAD a 351-326 edge in total yards. Tailback Rickert rushed for 79 yards on 18 carries, while Morat was the leading Cortland receiver with four catches covering 127 yards.
Gonzalez was the best offensive weapon for Western Connecticut State, who was without team rushing leader Jeff Ward due to an injury. The talented wideout caught six passes for 92 yards, as Williams completed 20-of-32 throws for 214 yards.
The Red Dragons are back on the road Saturday, traveling to Montclair State in New Jersey.
Rowan 35, Buffalo State 7: Six players scored for Rowan as the visitors beat Buffalo State Sunday in a game both postponed and relocated to the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex after an unusually intense fall snowstorm.
The game originally was scheduled for Saturday at Buffalo State, but almost two feet of snow in the region changed those plans.
Rowan (4-1, 3-0 NJAC) scored three times on the ground and twice in the air, with a field goal at the halftime horn putting the team ahead 15-0.
Rob Richardson led Rowan’s rushing with 86 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Mike Orihel completed 11 of 22 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions.
Dan Lopez scored the only touchdown for Buffalo State (1-5, 0-4), on a one-yard run in the third quarter.




Trojan girls run to sixth

PHOENIX — Laura Niederhofer turned in a solid top-five run Saturday to lead Homer Central girls to a sixth-place team finish at the Phoenix Firebird Cross Country_Invitational.
The Trojan junior placed fourth with a time of 20:23 while the Trojans girls totaled 143 points.
Ryan Sullivan (17:36) ran to a 16th-place finish for the Homer boys, who placed 13th in team competition with 287 points.
DeRuyter and Marathon competed in the Varsity II race. Only the Olympian boys had a full team as they placed sixth with 166 points.
“Laura made a strong move up on the last loop to move into fourth position,” said Homer coach Jim Baldwin. “Caitlin McMahon was in noticeable pain throughout the race and it is clear that she is not race ready. Losing her will make going into the league meet and sectionals very difficult.”
Baldwin said McMahon’s status will be on a day-to-day basis. The Trojans were also without Heather Wilson and Caitlyn Baldassarre, who were taking their SAT exams.
“Ryan ran a great race on this very soggy and muddy course,” said Baldwin. “Jackson Randolph (19:58) broke the 20-minute barrier while running his best race of the year. Josh Bergmark (85, 23:54) demonstrated his guts and heart Saturday afternoon, losing his shoe in the mud on the first turn running the entire race in his sock.” 
Homer will return to action Wednesday as the Trojans return to Phoenix for the OHSL Freedom Division Championships.
IN VARSITY II, Mike Doane led the Marathon contingent with his 16th-place run in 18:28 with Peter Van Ingen also finishing in the top-25 after an 18:36 clocking.
DeRuyter freshman Everett Marks moved up from the modified team and led the Rockets with a time of 21:27 (52nd-place).
For the girls, DeRuyter freshman was the only DeRuyter girls in competition as she placed 11th in 21:19. Haleigh Doetschman (32nd) 23:32 and Mellissa Cross (41st) 24:58 competed for Marathon.