December 26, 2006


Jets mere win away from playoffs


Associated Press/Wilfredo Lee
New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery gestures to the crowd after scoring fourth-quarter touchdown in Monday’s 13-10 win over the Miami Dolphins.

AP Sports Writer

MIAMI — With a couple of quick cuts and a burst of breakaway speed, Leon Washington moved the New York Jets closer to the playoffs.
Washington’s 64-yard gain on a screen pass set up the winning field goal with 10 seconds left, and the Jets overcame rainy weather, a sputtering offense and two late scores by the Miami Dolphins to win 13-10 on Monday night.
The Jets (9-6) will clinch an AFC wild-card playoff berth if they beat Oakland (2-13) in their final regular-season game Sunday.
“It’s nice to know that now things are finally in our control,” first-year coach Eric Mangini said.
Steady rain mired the Jets in a punting contest for three quarters, and all of the points came in the final 17:25. In the final period, New_York answered scores by the Dolphins with scoring drives of 80 and 68 yards.
“This is the type of game you want to win,” Jets linebacker Anthony Schlegel said. “This was a playoff-type game. We probably will find ourselves in this situation if we are in the playoffs — a tight game, on the road. This tells us we can pull these kind of games out.”
Miami kicked a tying field goal with 2:09 left, but on the Jets’ next play, Washington caught Pennington’s pass in the flat and broke into the secondary.
“Leon is faster than most people,” Pennington said.
“It’s obviously a play that is not meant to go that far,” Miami’s Jason Taylor said. “The defense let the team down.”
Washington’s dash set up a 30-yard field goal by Mike Nugent.
For the Dolphins (6-9), the defeat ensures the first losing season for Nick Saban in his 13 years as a college and NFL coach. Miami was eliminated from the playoff race a week ago.
The rain resulted in a succession of errant and dropped passes — and 18 punts. A mishandled snap spoiled a field goal try by New York. Dolphins cornerback Eddie Jackson left the game with a knee injury when he stumbled and fell on the slippery field without being hit.
“It was an awful game for a long time,” New York receiver Laveranues Coles said. “But we still picked up the win.”
When the Dolphins’ scoreless streak reached six quarters, Cleo Lemon replaced Joey Harrington at quarterback to start the second half. A third-year pro, Lemon threw his first NFL touchdown pass and finished 11-for-16 for 104 yards.
“We decided to go with Cleo to see if he would give us a little bit of a spark,” Saban said. “He did a decent job of moving the team a couple_of times.”
Miami’s Ronnie Brown, back in the lineup after missing three games with a hand injury, rushed for 110 yards on 18 carries. But the Jets scored on their final three possessions to pull out the win.
After Lemon hit Randy McMichael on a 7-yard touchdown pass to put the Dolphins ahead 7-3, New York regained the lead on Pennington’s 31-yard scoring pass to Jerricho Cotchery.
A funny bounce then produced the game’s only turnover — and the tying field goal for Miami.
A short punt by the Dolphins took a backward hop before deflecting off the arm of Jets blocker Brad Kassell, and Miami’s John Denney recovered at the Jets 42. Eight plays later, Olindo Mare kicked a 25-yard field goal.
Saban opted to kick rather than trying for a first down on fourth-and-1.
“Some guys wanted to go for it_and some guys wanted to kick it,” Lemon said. “When it’s all said and done, coach Saban’s got to make that decision.”
Notes: Jackson sustained a knee injury in the second quarter and was on crutches after the game. DB Andre Goodman aggravated a shoulder injury in the first quarter. DT Keith Traylor hurt his knee in the second half. ... New York CB Andre Dyson hurt his right leg in the third quarter. ... Coles was briefly knocked out of the game when Zach Thomas delivered a jarring hit. “I was woozy for a long time,” Coles said. “I look OK now, but looks can be deceiving.”


Tourney time for teams at Cortland

This two-day boys’ basketball extravaganza held at Cortland High’s Shafer Gymnasium is known as the Royal Motors Complex Holiday Tournament.
This season, the named could be changed to the Southern Tier Invitational.
That’s because Cortland High’s Purple Tigers will be hosting three teams out of the Section 4’s Southern Tier Athletic Conference when opening round play gets underway on Wednesday with junior varsity and varsity match-ups.
Ithaca (2-5) out of the STAC Metro Division, Maine-Endwell (1-5) out of the STAC Central Division and Chenango Forks (2-4) out of the STAC East Division are the teams involved in this year’s tournament.
Maine-Endwell and Chenango Forks meet at 5:30 p.m. to get Wednesday night’s varsity action underway. Cortland High, the OHSL Freedom Division squad out of Section 3, meets Ithaca in the 7:30 nightcap. Consolation and title games are Thursday night.
Coach Mick Lowie’s Purple Tigers come into the tournament with a 5-3 overall record and winners of three straight games. CHS has not taken to the court since last Tuesday’s 74-43 home floor romp past rival Homer Central.
Senior Joel White leads the Purple Tigers with a 19.1 scoring average, and set a school single game record with a 39-point outburst in that victory over Homer. Classmate and 6-foot-8 center Tom Wilk also averages double figures for CHS at 13.1 points per game.
Antwan Brooks is the leading scorer for Ithaca’s Little Red, averaging 15.1 point per game. Maine-Endwell has Joe Powell and Brad Kuzawinski scoring 13 points per contest heading into the tournament, while Chenango Forks’ Chris Statts has averaged 16 points per game.
The same opening round Wednesday match-ups will be in the junior varsity tournament. Maine-Endwell and Chenango Forks tipoff at 1 p.m., followed by CHS and Ithaca at 3 p.m.
CORTLAND HIGH girls will be at the Owego Tournament tomorrow night, facing Malone in a 5 p.m. first round contest.
Coach Dick Penoyer’s successful 7-1 squad will be looking to play their way into Thursday’s 7 p.m. title game.
CORTLAND HIGH wrestlers are headed to the Holland Patent Tournament on Thursday morning, a 10 a.m. start. The Purple Tigers are coming off a 64-4 dual meet victory at Southern Cayuga this past Saturday (see story on page 13).
THE CHS VOLLEYBALL team is part of the field at the Solvay Tournament, which gets underway at 9 a.m. Thursday. Marcellus, Mexico, Cato-Meridian and Onondaga join the hosts in the tournament, which will be collecting canned goods at the door for admission.
The Cortland-Homer Golden Eagles ice hockey squad get their annual tournament underway on Friday night at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.
Canandaigua and Cazenovia get things going at 6 p.m. in the opening round, with the Golden Eagles facing Suffern at 8 p.m.
The consolation contest is slated for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the 2 p.m. title game to follow.



Squirts pick up two wins

Hat tricks were featured attractions to a pair of victories by the Stafford Chevrolet, Economy Paving and Homer Logging Squirt Division travel team over the Holiday weekend.
Danny Turck and Nate Walker had three-goal hat tricks in an 8-1 victory at Skaneateles, with Turk also picking up an assist. Sydney Sherman scored twice, his first goals of the season, while Joel Potter and John Burnhans picked up a pair of assists apiece.
Colden Kimber responded to his first start in goal with 15 saves.
Walker had a second hat trick in a 3-2 home ice victory over Valley, with Potter picking up an assist. Kimber had another 15-save effort in goal.
Carl Zimmerman had four goals and an assist to lead a balanced scoring effort as the Homer Men & Boys/Goldwyn & Boyland Physical Therapy hockey team beat visiting Schenectady 9-1 in a Bantam Division contest.
Cassie Garrison, Jason Button and Jon Podoliak each picked up a goal and an assist in the win, with Tim Walsh and Connor Ferrito also netting goals. Vince Walker had two assists in the victory.
Goalie Dylan Riker had 28 saves as Barden Homes blanked host Fulton 6-0 this past Saturday in a Pee Wee Snowbelt contest. Matt Sovocool had two goals and an assist and Alex West tallied twice in the shutout victory. Alex Rosato and Drew Wojcinski also scored for Cortland.