October 18, 2012
Purple Tigers to visit Oneida
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High quarterback Caden Giroux (1), protected by teammate Andrew Crosby (75) a week ago against Chittenango, will lead the Purple Tigers into this Friday’s Section 3 Class B playoff game at Oneida.
By TANEY BEAUMONT
The Oneida football team comes into Friday’s Section 3 Class B first-round sectional contest with visiting Cortland High having recorded two high-scoring wins since losing 6-0 at Homer Central three weekends ago.
Purple Tigers coach Dave Darrow is looking for his team to end the Indians’ winning and scoring streaks after they beat visiting South Jefferson 47-0 and host New Hartford 54-6 the past two weekends. CHS is coming off a close 14-13 loss to visiting Chittenango — the top Class B seed and defending champion — last Friday.
“They’re pretty athletic,” Darrow, whose 4-3 team is seeded fifth in the eight-team field, said of the fourth-seeded Indians, who are 5-2. “They have good tailbacks in Dylan Cafalone (5-11, 174-pound junior) and Kyle George (5-9, 150 junior) and a good receiver in Kyle Peck (6-2, 178 senior). The also have a young quarterback, Rory McCarthy (5-11, 165 sophomore), who plays pretty well. Tyler Havener (6-2, 250 junior) and David Carroll (6-0, 235 junior) are good linemen.”
“When they run a Jet sweep George gets the ball, or they use Cafalone on the counter. We have to get into their backfield. Cafalone is a good blocker. They’ve had two easy games in a row and are killing people, so they have to feel pretty good,” the CHS coach added.
Versatility is the key for Oneida. While the Indians go with either a spread formation or an option as their offensive looks and a 3-5 as the basic defensive set, head coach Bill Carinci noted that “We have more versatility than most high school teams in our offensive and defensive sets, based on what we have personnel-wise. We go from a wide variety of offense sets, six or seven different ones, and while we use the same base defense as Cortland, we use different odd and even fronts — we call them Orange, Blue and White — depending on down and distance.
“Our quarterbacks are McCarthy and Gregg Torrey (5-8, 139 senior). The three running backs we use in rotation, so no one can focus on one, are Cafalone, George and Zach Hall (5-9, 135 senior). We have six different receivers in Peck, Torrey, Justin Klossner (5-11, 180 senior), Drew Mallinder (6-1, 176 junior), Dylan Dunn (5-7, 163 junior) and Steve Patricia (6-2, 172 junior). And there are four tight ends — Matt Hood (6-4, 192 junior), Klossner, Matt Carinci (6-2, 217 senior; the coach’s nephew) and Kane Buss (5-11, 164 senior).”
In addition to the spread formation and option, the Indians can go under center with I and power formations, primarily in bad weather.
David Carroll (6-0, 235 junior) and Kyle Swetmon (5-11, 230 senior) are the keys to Oneida’s offensive line going out of the spread or power formations. Also available in varying combinations are Havener, the Inman twins — seniors Brandon (5-10, 160), and Bryan (5-10, 158) — Jessie Morrison (6-4, 295 senior) and junior Shawn Thurston (6-1, 186 junior).
Thurston, Mark Gillmeister (5-8, 169 junior) and Mallinder are the Indians’ down linemen in the 3-5, according to coach Carinci. The linebackers, also used in various combinations, are the Inman brothers, Cafalone and George. Klossner is the cornerback — McCarthy can also play the position — and Peck is the safety.
“They have good down linemen, and their linebackers go to the ball,” Darrow said. “They’re all about the blitz, getting multiple people to the point of attack. I guess it’s supposed to rain on Friday and they play on grass, which slows things down and, if it rains a lot, makes it hard to go from the shotgun.
“We have to be able to run the ball and score touchdowns this time (after coming up short twice deep inside the red zone — actually, inside the 10-yard line both times — against Chittenango). We spent 30 minutes working from the seven-yard line in on Monday. We’d jump offsides (which negated a TD) or do something stupid last Friday, and if we’d scored on one of those possession it could have been the ballgame.”
The Purple Tiger defense was led against Chittenango by senior safety Brian Hughes and senior cornerback Isaiah Prior, who shared the Defensive Award as each had an interception. Hughes’ was a pick-six, as he took it back 28 yards for a touchdown. The Offensive Award went to senior tailback Andrew Potter, who carried the ball 27 times for 111 yards. No Special Teams Award was given.
“Cortland has an outstanding defense,” Carinci said. “They’re very quick and very responsive to the ball. The key for us is to get a rhythm going on offense while eliminating mistakes and turnovers, which is pretty much the key for everybody.”
The Purple Tigers have surrendered just 74 points all season, including 31 against Cazenovia in a 31-13 loss. The defense was rock-solid in stifling the Bears’ powerful offense last Friday.
“I think the kids feel as though they lost a great opportunity,” said Darrow, whose team would have been Class B West tri-champions with Chittenango and Homer (but still the division’s third seed) had it beaten the Bears. “They played a good game, had good chances but didn’t come out on top.
“Why would anyone want to play us (in the postseason)?” Darrow said. “I could see this team winning three games in a row, against Oneida, Chittenango and Cazenovia or Homer in the Dome, and winning sectionals. We have to stop making mental mistakes, but you’ve always got a chance if you play good defense.”
The top-seeded Bears (7-0) host No. 8 Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (4-3) Friday night, the winner to take on the Cortland-Oneida winner in the semifinals next weekend at a neutral site. On the other side of the bracket No. 3 Homer (6-1) is home against No. 6 Camden (5-2) Friday while on Saturday No. 7 Westhill (3-4) travels to second-seeded Cazenovia (6-1), whose only loss is to Jamesville-DeWitt, at 7-0 the top seed in Class A.
“We’re very happy to be playing at home,” Carinci said. “A big advantage we feel we have is that we play on grass and Cortland is a turf team. But that may or not be an advantage; if it rains the field is definitely going to get a little slippery. If it doesn’t, Cortland has that very good, very quick defense.”
Oneida is led in rushing by Cafalone, who has picked up 776 yards on 113 carries (6.9 yards per carry) and scored 11 TDs. McCarthy has completed exactly half of his passes — 33-for-66 — for 514 yards (15.6), six TDs and three interceptions. Peck is his primary target, with 22 catches for 394 yards (17.9) and six TDs.
Potter leads the Purple Tiger ground game with 636 yards on 118 carries (5.4) and four TDs. Junior quarterback Caden Giroux has completed 36-of-92 passes (.391) for 566 yards (15.7), nine TDs and six interceptions. Junior running back Teddy Phillips has snagged 12 passes for 201 yards (16.8) and three TDs to pace Cortland’s receivers.
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