October 19, 2006


Lions go roaring into playoff final


JoeMcIntyre/staff photographer
Dryden High’s Kyle Clapper (left) slides to poke the ball away from Marathon’s Matt Frost (14) during Wednesday’s IAC soccer semifinal in Groton. Dryden was 2-0 winner.

Staff Writer

GROTON — After grabbing an early lead, it became a battle for survival as Dryden High boys rode a two-goal effort by Dylan Luce to a 2-0 win over Division III champion Marathon in a very physical Interscholastic Athletic Conference semifinal match at Groton Elementary School Wednesday.
The victory sends the Division I champion Purple Lions (16-0-1) into the IAC championship match Friday night at 8 p.m. on the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex turf. Dryden will face wild-card entry Lansing (14-3-1), a 3-0 winner over Division II champion Spencer-Van Etten in yesterday’s other semifinal.
“I was just hoping that we would come out with a win,” said Luce. “We had heard that they (Marathon) were confident that they would beat us, so we knew we had to come out strong and we did that.”
The junior forward finished off a two-on-one break just 3:02 into the match to give Dryden the early lead and lots of momentum. Senior midfielder Jordan Minnis started the scoring play with a long pass towards the box from near the right sideline. Trevor Totman took the pass and settled the ball before sliding it to Luce for the finisher.
“The biggest thing in the game today was getting that first goal,” Dryden coach Laszlo Engel said. “Once this team gets ahead, they don’t give up. We kept coming after Marathon and we got the second goal. When we got that two-goal lead, we because very stingy on defense.
“Marathon did not get many quality chances, but they did get one in that first half that I really thought they would score on,” he added. “Luckily for us, they did not score. We did not give up many quality opportunities and that was important.”
Marathon (14-2-1) had a couple of good runs, twice Jason Luce headed crosses by Marcus Diaz that were just off the mark. The first header was grabbed Dryden goalkeeper Spencer Hoyt (seven saves) with the second cleared by a Purple Lion defender.
Ten minutes after the first score, Dryden’s Luce took a nice feed from Kyle Clapper. Luce broke towards the goal with only Olympian goalkeeper Josh Kashuba (six saves) in his way. As Kashuba came out, Luce tucked a well placed shot just inside near post from within 10 yards and the lead was 2-0.
“One of our strengths is that we move the ball quickly,” Engel said. “We have three guys from our state-caliber track relay team and we use that speed to our advantage. We like to keep the ball moving quickly, especially on restarts.”
The rest of the first half saw both teams get some good scoring runs and some great counterattacks, but neither team would score.
While a couple of headers were again close to the target, the best Marathon scoring threat came with seven minutes left in the half. Marcus Diaz chipped a ball toward the goal with a couple of teammates breaking from the flanks. Hoyt bobbled the ball momentarily before gathering it in and clearing the ball.
The best Dryden chance came three minutes earlier when a through ball found Christian Jenne. The freshman charged towards the ball as Kashuba raced out from the goal. Jenne was a split-second quicker, but Kashuba smothered the ball as Jenne tried to gain control.
The second half began more physical with a lot of body contact. That style of play seemed to suit Marathon better and the Dryden players began losing their focus and composure, three Purple Tigers receiving yellow cards for un-sportsmanlike conduct.
While Marathon got the better scoring chances, Hoyt stood tall and kept the Olympians off the scoreboard. Kashuba was equally strong in the few Dryden attempts he faced during the final 40 minutes.
“Dryden scored on their best two chances in the first half,” Marathon coach Chip Stewart said. “They had a couple of others, but Josh stopped those.
“We had two headers and did not score on either of them. One was high and their (Dryden) goalie made a nice stop on the other. We had some of the better play between the 18s, but they did a great job in the box on us. You have to put the ball in the net and we did not do that.”
After the IAC championship game Friday, both Marathon and Dryden will head into Section 4 Tournament play.
The Purple Lions are the number two-seed in Class B and will host either Greene or Windsor October 27. The Olympians are the top-seed in Class C and will host either Groton or Sidney in the October 27 quarterfinals. Groton (6-10-1) is the number-nine seed in Class C and will travel to eight-seed Sidney Tuesday for a 3:30 p.m. match.
IAC GIRLS championship at SUNY Cortland Friday will feature Division III champion Lansing, a 3-0 winner over Division I champion Dryden Wednesday, facing wild-card Elmira Notre Dame, who beat Division II champ Candor 2-0 Tuesday, Game time at the stadium will be 6 p.m.
Lansing 3, Dryden 0: Rachel Palladino scored two goals and Preeti Panda netted one goal as the Bobcats rolled to victory. Lansing controlled play and held a 25-2 shot advantage.
Nikki Button made 15 saves for Dryden with M.C. Barrett recording two saves for the shutout.




Trojans begin ‘brand new season’

Staff Writer

It is a whole new season now.
The Homer Central football team has a 6-1 overall record and is still ranked 17th in the latest New York State  Class B poll. The Trojans are coming off a 39-26 win at Jordan-Elbridge in the regular season finale where by senior tailback Mark Brenchley posted another 300-yard rushing effort.
Friday night will be different though.
When third-seed Homer kicks off against sixth-seed South Jefferson (5-2) at 7 p.m. on George W. Butts Field, the mission is much simpler. Both teams are really 0-0. The winner moves on and the loser plays one more consolation game, because Section 3 says so.
“It really is a brand new season,” Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “We do play nine games in our season regardless, but we are working to play in the Carrier Dome. We take that first step Friday at South Jefferson.”
South Jefferson is coming off a 40-0 loss in the B-East title showdown with Cazenovia one week ago. It was also the first game that the Spartans did not have starting quarterback Jamieson Crast, who was injured the week before. Crast had completed 53-of-115 passing attempts from 720 yards before his injury and took a key element away from the Spartans attack.
“We have done a good job this season,” South Jefferson coach Tom LaDuke said. “We had a couple of bad plays against Holland Patent, but we still had a shot at a piece of the division title when we played Cazenovia. We have some injuries that have hurt us, but Cazenovia was so quick on defense that I am not sure if it would have mattered.
“We would like to give Homer a run for their money. The last time we played them, it was a disaster.”
That last meeting between the two teams was the Class B quarterfinals in 2004 with the Trojans winning 45-0.
The Spartans still run their Veer-Offense with junior tailback Jake Smith (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) the main ball carrier. Smith has rushed for 838 yards, only 12 yards coming against Caz, and he has scored 12 touchdowns. Sophomore Ryan Jackson (5-8, 160) will share time in the backfield with Smith.
The quarterback duties now fall to converted tight end Mike Ross (6-3, 190). After a tough debut, Ross has had another full week to learn the quarterback role.
The top receivers are senior Kyle Bossinger (5-9, 165) and sophomore Kevin Deon (5-8, 145). Bossinger had 23 receptions for 363 yards and seven TDs heading into the Cazenovia game while Deon had nine catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
“I am hoping that one more week of practice with help Mike,” LaDuke said. “We were really still adjusting to losing Jamieson last week.”
“I would expect that South Jefferson will pass the ball a little more this week,” Homer head coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “They still run that veer-offense and it has given us trouble in the past. There are blending more running and passing, but I expect them to run the ball 75 percent of the time. South Jeff will come after us on every down. They always have a big, strong team.”
Defensively, the Spartans played a Base 4-3 and count on the play of their three linebackers.




Cortland gridders play host to similar foe

Staff Writer

The Cortland High and Watertown football teams both have purple as their primary color and have mascots — CHS’s Tiger and Watertown’s Cyclone — that don’t naturally include that color.
The most important resemblances, though, are that both are young squads and both are winless in seven games this season. That means both will be ready for Friday’s 7 p.m. Class A crossover game at Moiseichik Field.
“They’re a young team, similar to us,” Purple Tigers coach Jim Brown said of his squad’s A National Division opponent. “They seem to be making the same mistakes we do in games, hurting themselves with penalties and turnovers. They played well against Nottingham (in a 33-13 home loss last Friday night).
“We’ve had good practices this week. Believe it or not, the kids are feeling encouraged about the way they played at Fulton,” he added of a 33-0 loss last Friday in which CHS trailed just 13-0 at halftime. “It gave them a little bit of bounce in their step. If ever there was a loss to be encouraged about, that was probably it. They’re not hanging their heads.”
“We’ve had a lot of injuries this season,” Watertown coach Kevin Wood said. “Four were season-ending, including one to our original starting quarterback and two linemen. I thought this would be one of our better offensive lines, but injuries ended that.”
The Cyclones have only 26 players compared to the 38 that started the season, suspensions and players quitting part of that equation.
“We had to change from a spread option offense after our starting quarterback went down and now use the Pro-I (and some Wing-T, according to Brown) with isolation, power stuff and some play action. It’s been tough to get consistency out of the quarterback position,” added Wood.
“We’ve been able to move the ball between the 20s offensively before defenses have toughened up in the red zone against us. Defensively, we go to our of a five-man front and have a hard time stopping people on third and fourth downs. Cortland looks like they prefer running the ball, and we want to stop them on first own and get them in passing situations. Still, our secondary is our biggest weakness.”