November 2 , 2007


Dragons trying to bounce back with Rowan in town


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland running back Dustin Bowser, who rushed for 100 yards in last week’s loss to TCNJ, is one of 22 seniors playing their final home regular season game Saturday when Rowan visits at 1 p.m.

Sports Editor

After last weekend’s football frustration, it will be interesting to see how SUNY Cortland responds.
Though a chance to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III playoffs was squandered, the Red Dragons can still entertain post-season ambitions by winning two tough tests remaining in the regular season schedule.
Coach Dan MacNeill’s squad — now 5-1 in conference play and 6-2 overall — will host Rowan in their final New Jersey Athletic Conference contest of the season on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
Though Rowan has three conference losses on its resume and stands 4-4 overall, the Profs have always been the team to beat in the NJAC. Rowan has finished first 16 times, including sharing the top spot with the Red Dragons the past two seasons and capturing the 2004 title outright.
Then comes the annual Cortaca Jug battle of brawn and emotions the following Saturday, when the Red Dragons visit Ithaca College for a noontime skirmish on Nov. 10.
Beating Rowan and Ithaca could provide post-season opportunities for the Red Dragons, which should keep them focused following last Saturday’s 30-0 loss to The College of New Jersey. That showdown of nationally ranked conference unbeatens snapped a five-game winning streak and bumped Cortland out of first place.
“We certainly got punched in the face, but they came out this week and practiced at the same tempo, with the same atmosphere,” said Coach MacNeill of his player’s response to the loss. “This is a credible group who can certainly keep their eyes on the horizon.”
This will be the regular season finale for 22 Red Dragon seniors, too, which makes the Rowan game a little more special.
Rowan is coming off a 28-22 loss at home to Montclair State, the third setback in its last four games. But the program has always been among the elite in the national, Jay Accorsi with a 51-16 overall record in this his sixth season as head coach.
“The veterans all know the history and stature of this team, and everyone we recruit knows Rowan has been a superior team. The league title has always gone through Rowan. They have a good history and we have had some great games with them,” said MacNeill.
Two of the last four meetings with Rowan have been overtime affairs, including last year’s 14-7 loss in New Jersey.
THE PROFS lost freshman starting quarterback Tim Hagerty to an injury in the third quarter of last week’s loss to Montclair State and he is out for the Cortland game. Hagerty had taken over for Dan Rankin earlier this season and performed well.
“Hagerty, he was a play-making fool,” admired Cortland’s MacNeill. “He’s not the thrower Rankin is, but he will get there. He was their second leading rusher.”
Rankin was the signal caller who stepped in two years ago in post-season play when starter Mike Orihel was injured and led the Profs to the NCAA Division III playoff semifinals before losing to eventual champion Mount Union. He has thrown for 2,206 yards and 18 touchdowns in his career at Rowan. He has also run for nine touchdowns.
In other words, Rankin is more than capable gong up against a banged up Cortland defense that had five freshmen on the field at one point against The College of New Jersey last week, when three long pass plays did some serious damage.
Red Dragon senior defensive end Brad Robison is out for the Rowan game, the team captain and Groton High grad still recovering from a concussion. Freshman Mike Attanasio stepped into that spot against TCNJ and will start this weekend.
Senior cornerback Jeff Beck is also doubtful for the game. A secondary that has lost starting safeties Ricky Case and Matt Berman to shoulder injuries will have senior Vinny Aiello back, though freshmen Colan Shue and Joe Lopez are expected to play a lot.
Two active linebackers, freshman Brian Haas and junior Kyle Pierce, lead the Red Dragons with 67 and 51 tackles respectively. Cortland has 23 quarterback sacks, five of those by junior defensive end Ben Nagle, and is bidding to reach 30 sacks for the sixth consecutive season.
THE CORTLAND OFFENSE will be looking to bounce back from last week’s shutout, the first by a Red Dragons team since the opening game of the 2000 season.
And the Rowan defense always causes trouble. Linebacker Andrew Yezzi has been in on a team high 60 stops, while strong safety Kelvin Bellamy has 52 tackles and four sacks for the Profs.
Cortland junior quarterback Ray Miles entered The College of New Jersey game as the top-ranked passer in the conference, but was picked off four times and threw for just 115 yards while being harassed by the Lions’ aggressive defense. “We needed to make some plays and we didn’t make them, and their defense took some things away from us,” said MacNeill of last week’s offensive woes.
Miles has thrown for 1,575 yards and 17 touchdowns. Senior Keith Greene, who did not make a catch against TCNJ, still leads the team with 25catches for 370 yards and five touchdowns.
Senior Dustin Bowser had his most productive game, rushing for 100 yards against TCNJ to hike his season total to 427 yards. Cortland will need to move the ball on the ground to take some of the focus off Miles and the passing attack — but will have to do it without leading rusher Andrew Giuliano. The junior still had numbness in his arm after suffering a ‘stinger’ last Saturday. The Cortland offense does get tight end Michael Zielinski back after an injury.
“We need to have our playmakers step up, and Ray (Miles) was on the ground way too much,” said MacNeill, placing that blame on both his quarterback and the offensive line.




Resurgent Groton champs

FENTON — Groton Central boys have come full circle in 2007.
The Indians started the cross country season well behind Elmira Heights Edison as a team, only to gain ground throughout the season. On Thursday, the Groton resurgence was capped with a championship performance in the Section 4 Class D meet as the Indians edge Delhi and the rival Spartans for the team title at Chenango Valley State Park.
With Mikhail Kern and Mike Competillo placing in the Top 10, the Indians totaled 66 points with Delhi (70), Elmira Heights (72) and Binghamton Seton Catholic Central (77) close behind. Marathon placed seventh with a total of 154 points with Moravia boys incomplete.
“This Groton boys’ team has gone from having Elmira Heights put five runners in from of our third and being beaten by them by a considerable margin to defeating them at a sectional championship,” said Groton coach Scott Weeks. “I have seen this team coming on for at least the last three weeks. 
“Kern, (Jacob) Hebdon and (Steven) Stout have run very consistently with some small improvement here and there,” Weeks continued. “The big difference has been Competillo, (Andrew) Robinson and (Robert) Stoughton. These guys have made improvements that have put us at a different level. In my view, however, no one was the hero on this team today. Without faltering, Everyone stepped up to do their job today, all on the same day. That doesn’t happen very often and our small margin win proves that we needed every effort that each of these guys made today. As a coach, I couldn’t have been more proud of them today.”
Kern placed third overall (second in team scoring) with a time of 17:22.2 and Competillo was 10th overall (eighth in team scoring) with a clocking of 18:19.6.
Rounding out the Indians solid day were Hebdon (12, 10) in 18:26.5, Robinson (22, 18) in 19:03 and Stout (32, 28) in 19:47.6 for the scoring total while Stoughton (33, 29) ran 19:53.3 and Gage Bush (53, 48) clocked 22:07.4. The pack time for the first five was 2:25.
Dan Young, a junior at Binghamton Seton Catholic, won the race to lead the five non-winning team qualifiers for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championship Norwood-Norfolk Central School on November 10 with a time of 16:56.3. Moravia junior Jason Phillips was the runner-up in 16:56.9.
Also qualifying for the trip to the State Meet were Spencer-Van Etten sophomore Geoffrey Hall (fourth, 17:22.9), Elmira Heights Edison senior Jon Schiefen (fifth, 17:29.1) and Laurens senior Tom Benner (sixth, 17:30.4).
The top Marathon Central runner was freshman Pieter Van Ingen, who placed 14th overall with a time of 18:39.4.
SARAH PALMER, a sophomore at Elmira Heights Edison is the Class D Girls’ Individual Champion, but Delhi nipped the Spartans, 60-65, for the team title. Moravia girls placed fourth with 82 points, two points behind Seton Catholic, while Marathon was seventh with 161 points. Palmer posted a winning time of 19:35.2.
Also qualifying for the State Meet, individually, were Bainbridge-Guilford senior Kati Holowacz (second, 19:54.3), Candor eighth-grader Aubrie Russell (third, 20:54.8), Harpursville senior Taylor Woodcock (sixth, 21:51.8) and Candor sophomore Taylor Szwec (seventh, 21:53.3).



CHS girls chase after soccer title

The Cortland High girls’ soccer team will meet Whitesboro for the Section 3 Class A championship at 6:30 p.m. today on the red (football) field at the SUNY Cortland athletic complex.
The game pits the second-seeded Purple Tigers (15-5) against a Whitesboro squad that is the fourth seed and comes in with a record of 13-5-2.
The McGraw girls’ squad, seeded fourth in Section 3 Class D, goes for its second title in a row and fourth in five years when it takes on No. 1 Lyme (19-1) at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Stadium Complex.
Marathon’s boys (15-3-2), also a fourth seed, will go for their third straight Section 4 Class C crown when they meet No. 2 Spencer-Van Etten (16-1-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta.
Admission will be charged for all Section 3 and 4 championship contests.
In other Section 3 championship games today, Marcellus and Lowville meet for Class B boys’ honors at 6 p.m., while the Class B girls’ title game pits Marcellus against Cazenovia at 8:15 p.m. The final game, at 8:45 p.m., is for the Class A boys’ championship, with East Syracuse-Minoa going against New Hartford.
Other Saturday contests at the Stadium Complex include the Class C girls’ game between Manlius-Pebble Hill and Waterville at 3:30 p.m.; Copenhagen and Poland meeting for the Class D boys’ laurels at 5:45 p.m.; Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool vying for the Class AA girls’ title at 6:45 p.m. and the finale, at 8 p.m., between Cooperstown and Faith Heritage for the Class C boys’ crown.
The Class AA boys’ title game between Baldwinsville and Fayetteville-Manlius will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at West Genesee High School.
All of the Section 4 boys’ championships will take place at the Hall of Fame fields in Oneonta. In addition to the C title game, Laurens and Cherry-Valley Springfield meet in the Class D contest at 10:30 a.m.; the Class B game matches Susquehanna Valley and Lansing at 1 p.m.; Vestal and Ithaca go at it in the Class AA game at 1:30 p.m. and, at 2 p.m., the Class A game features Elmira Free Academy and Owego.
The Section 4 Class AA girls’ championship was decided Thursday night, Corning beating Union-Endicott 2-1. In Saturday’s Section 4 title contests, Charlotte Valley and Edmeston meet at 10 a.m. at the Hall of Fame fields in Class D while, all at Union-Endicott, Class C matches Candor and Oxford at 1:30 p.m.; Chenango Forks and Lansing go at it in Class B at 4 p.m. and, at 6:30 p.m., Owego and Maine-Endwell face off in the Class A game.