Football Week 5 Recap
pblackwell, Sun, October 3rd, 2010
October is a month of decision in high school football in Central New York. It dawns in regular-season uncertainty and, by the time kids in costumes walk the streets in search of goodies, we've got our 10 sectional finalists set.
A lot will happen in between. In fact, a lot has already happened, as the fifth weekend of the season produced some major shifts in the league races, mostly caused by road wins.
There was Cortland going to ESM, dropping 54 points on the vulnerable Spartan defense, and taking first place in the Class A American division for the first time in a long while. Mexico, meanwhile, was unable to capitalize as 0-4 Jamesville-DeWitt beat them.
Move to the National division, and the impact was twofold, starting with Indian River getting a 47-28 win at New Hartford to stay unbeaten, and continuing Saturday night with Whitesboro going to Camden and shutting down the Blue Devils 28-7 to move into second place. Now all IR has to do is beat Camden to take the league title.
In Class B, two huge road wins defined the week, starting with Homer going to Westhill and knocking off the state no. 2-ranked Warriors 21-14 by putting together the complete game Gary Podsiedlik desired - oh yeah, and getting timely defense from the likes of Hunter Osborne, whose interception return for a touchdown and last-second defense on Nathan Nigolian made the difference.
Could there now be a dreaded three-way tie at the top with the Trojans, Warriors and Marcellus? That might leave Westhill in third due to the tie-breaker, which would be something new. Also new is Skaneateles back in the playoffs after a decade's absence, having punished Hannibal with Conor Herr throwing six TD passes. So who now thinks Tim Green was a bad hire?
B East was active, too, as Cazenovia solidified its hold on first place at Oneida - and, like IR in Class A, is the lone remaining unbeaten team, but not without a big scare.
For a while, it looked like the double-OT epic with VVS had taken a toll, as the Lakers trailed the Indians going into the fourth quarter. But big plays on defense, especially by Travis Mimms (pass deflection and interception for a touchdown, key fourth-down sack) allowed for a Caz comeback and an 18-8 win. Still without Tyler Mautner, VVS lost again at Chittenango, and has to beat Holland Patent to make sure of a playoff spot.
Want more big road wins? Go to Class D, where Dolgeville's dynamite defense told the story at Onondaga, to the tune of a 14-0 win. True, the Tigers were effective at containment, too, but the Blue Devils have allowed exactly one touchdown in five weeks. Can't beat them if you can't find the end zone.
Now OCS has to regroup at Weedsport - and so do the Warriors after Sandy Creek showed up (yes, another road team coming up big) and stunned them 33-12. Does this give hope to the likes of New York Mills and Cooperstown, too? Playoff alignment will be quite fascinating here.
More conventional happenings in the other classes, though. That meant four teams still unbeaten in AA as F-M blanked Auburn, CBA outscored Central Square and Baldwinsville used a 21-point turnaround late in the first half and actual passes from Casey Colligan to fend off Rome Free Academy's challenge.
Now there's that little matter of 5-0 F-M playing at 5-0 Corcoran this Friday. It's easily the biggest Hornets game since it last went to the sectional finals in 2005, and points may be precious despite the terrific running games both teams possess.
Great as F-M's defense is, the Cougars can shut you down, too, as it proved Saturday at Henninger by holding the Black Knights to negative yards much of the second half - while getting 20 unanswered points, too.
As to the last playoff berths, Liverpool took a huge step toward its bid by beating archrival CNS for the third straight time, while West Genesee and Henninger play next Friday to settle AA-2's last spot.
And in the process of getting ready for those big showdowns (F-M-Corcoran, then CBA-B'ville next week), don't forget that the Brothers have to go to Rome this Friday, and that the Cougars must finish at Utica Proctor, who sits at 4-1 after beating West Genny.
Nothing different in Class C, except the continual surprise of Cato-Meridian moving to 5-0 and seizing control of C West as Nick LaLone led the Blue Devils past Bishop Ludden.
Ilion continues to run away in the East, and one more week of hurdles remain before the General Brown-Watertown IHC (North) and Westmoreland-Canstota (South) donnybrooks that will determine those league championships.
Suspense awaits us in these last two weeks of the regular season, and as we've seen, going on the road might not be such a bad thing...