Ron Moshier - Sports

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Football realignment's good, bad, & ugly

This year’s reclassification of New York State’s football-playing high schools may have led to changes for the better for some area teams. For others? Not so much.

 

The good: With Ilion dropping down from Class B and Frankfort-Schuyler moving up from Class D, the Class C East schedule will renew some very old Mohawk Valley rivalries. Thanks to reclassification (by new enrollment cutoffs) and Section III realignment, Frankfort-Schuyler, Herkimer, Ilion, and Little Falls are together again, joining Adirondack, Cooperstown and Sauquoit Valley in a much more fan-friendly league.

 

The bad: Westmoreland, a perennial Class C North power whose Bulldogs had grown to love their long-distance rivalry with General Brown, now finds itself in the new Class C South with three former Class B teams – defending Section III champ Cazenovia, Clinton and Sherburne-Earlville – Canastota, and last year’s Class C East champ, Mount Markham.

 

The ugly: Class D West neighbors Hamilton and Morrisville-Eaton would be better off playing each other every week for the “Jug.” Their other league matchups aren’t that appealing. Including Watertown’s Immaculate Heart Central to the North and Weedsport to the West, we’re talking the outermost reaches of Section III. Bus trips to or from Beaver River and Sandy Creek are nothing to get excited about, either.

 

Unfortunately, this is what you get when league play must take a backseat to state playoffs. It’s a product of the system, like it or not. We’re always going to have to take the good with the bad, sometimes even the ugly, as long as we insist on crowning five (AA-A-B-C-D) state champions.

 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spartan gridders homeless

New Hartford’s high school football team will be hitting the road for all of its games this season.

 

With New Hartford’s Don Edick Field scheduled to be torn up and covered by artificial turf, the Spartans will play their “home” games at Thomas R. Proctor High School’s D’Alessandro Stadium, Rome Free Academy Stadium, and Sauquoit Valley High School.

 

New Hartford, a Section III Class A finalist a year ago, plays National Division rival Camden at Proctor on opening night, Sept. 5.

 

“Obviously, we’d like to play at home, but it’s not going to change our approach,” said New Hartford head coach Bob Jones. “I just feel bad for the seniors not being able to play at home in their final season. I don’t think it will bother the kids, though. It’ll be different, that’s all.”

 

One Spartan who will probably look forward to playing those home games at neutral sites (all have artificial turf) is junior tailback Joey Carcone. At RFA Stadium last year, he showed his big-play potential in a 22-15 win over Whitesboro in the Section III Class A semifinals.

 

 

 

 

Friday, August 22, 2008

Section III's Class C draws football crowd

Winning a Section III football title is never easy. Winning a Section III Class C football title will be tougher than ever this season.

A change in New York State’s classification cutoff numbers means the number of Class C football teams in Section III has grown from 19 to 27, and the number of “C” leagues has grown from three to four divisions.

Now that schools with enrollment between 276-440 are considered Class C, Cazenovia, Sherburne-Earlville, Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Ilion, Clinton, Jordan-Elbridge, and LaFayette/Fabius-Pompey have dropped from Class B to Class C, and Frankfort-Schuyler has moved up from Class D.

Two other schools – Oneida and Chittenango – have dropped from Class A to Class B.

The changes in classification cutoff numbers means Class AA includes schools with enrollment of 1,051 and up; Class A from 626-1,050; Class B from 441-625; Class C from 276-440; and Class D from 0-275.

After reclassification and realignment, here is how Section III’s 79 football-playing high schools will line up this season (which begins on Friday, Sept. 5):

CLASS AA-1

Christian Brothers Academy

Cicero-North Syracuse

Fayetteville-Manlius

Liverpool

Thomas R. Proctor

West Genesee

CLASS AA-2

Auburn

Baldwinsville

Central Square

Corcoran

Henninger

Rome Free Academy

CLASS A AMERICAN

Cortland

East Syracuse-Minoa

Fowler

Fulton

Jamesville-DeWitt

Mexico

Oswego

CLASS A NATIONAL

Camden

Carthage

New Hartford

Nottingham

Watertown

Whitesboro

CLASS B EAST

Chittenango*

Vernon-Verona-Sherrill

South Jefferson

Holland Patent

Oneida*

CLASS B WEST

Homer

Marcellus

Phoenix

Skaneateles

Solvay

Westhill

CLASS C EAST

Adirondack

Cooperstown

Frankfort-Schuyler*

Herkimer

Ilion*

Little Falls

Sauquoit Valley

CLASS C NORTH

Alexandria Bay

Altmar-Parish-Williamstown*

General Brown

Lowville

Pulaski

South Lewis

Thousand Islands

CLASS C SOUTH

Canastota

Cazenovia*

Clinton*

Mount Markham

Sherburne-Earlville*

Westmoreland

CLASS C WEST

Bishop Ludden

Cato-Meridian

Hannibal

Jordan-Elbridge*

LaFayette*

Port Byron

Tully

CLASS D EAST

Dolgeville

Mohawk

New York Mills

Notre Dame

Oriskany

Richfield Springs

Waterville

West Canada Valley

CLASS D WEST

Beaver River

Bishop Grimes

Hamilton

Morrisville-Eaton

Onondaga

Sandy Creek

Watertown IHC

Weedsport

* Changed class

Friday, August 8, 2008

Favre out of favor

Brett a Jet? Say it ain’t so!

 

From The Pack and Green Bay’s frozen tundra to Gang Green and Broadway goes Brett Favre, with no happy ending in sight.

 

Villain or victim (you make the call), Brett Favre will never be the same. More than likely, another legendary NFL quarterback is about to go out with a whimper, not a bang.

 

As good as he still could be with the right team (like the one he used to play for), Favre won’t be leading the New York Jets to any promised land. And unfortunately, another storied career will end on a sour note.

 

No, it didn’t have to end this way, but Brett Favre reminded all of us after the trade that “this is a business,” and the business side of the NFL just turned a legacy into a sad, sorry saga.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lomong deserves Olympic honor

Those who don’t know his story, should take the time to scour the internet and read anything they can find on U.S. Olympian Lopez Lomong.

 

Whether you’ve heard of him or not, something the distance runner who not long ago ran for Tully High School, near Syracuse, said in a recent New York Times story by Jere Longman should pique your interest:

 

“Before, I ran from danger and death. Now, I run for sport. It would be an honor to represent the country that saved me and showed me the way.”

 

Lomong, once a child prisoner in East Africa and a Sudanese refugee and now a proud American citizen, said that before the U.S. Olympic Trials. Now, he gets that chance to represent the United States. He has qualified in the 1,500-meter run, and his amazing story will most certainly be told again and again – most deservedly so – during these Olympic Games in Beijing.

 

Lomong, who won an NCAA track and field championship in the 1,500 when he was attending Northern Arizona, will also carry the American flag during the opening ceremonies. Whether he goes on to win a medal or not, Lopez Lomong’s story will be one of tremendous success, a story worth telling over and over again.

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

At the Mike Hart of the matter

One preseason game an NFL career does not make, but it’s a good bet former Onondaga Central School and University of Michigan star running back Mike Hart proved a few more disbelievers wrong in his pro football debut with the Indianapolis Colts.

 

The 5-foot-9, 206-pound Hart, considered too small by most and too slow by many, rushed for 53 yards on four carries and caught three passes for 28 yards in the Colts’ 30-16 loss to the Washington Redskins in the opener of the NFL’s exhibition season.

 

This Syracuse kid has been proving people wrong for years, since he was leading Onondaga’s Tigers to three straight state championships and rushing for 11,232 yards and scoring 204 touchdowns during a national record-setting high school career. At Michigan, he did it again, rushing for a school-record 5,040 yards and 41 touchdowns.

 

Now, as a rookie chosen in the sixth-round of the draft, Hart is in the NFL, ready, willing, and you’d better believe, able, to prove more people wrong.

 

Small by NFL standards? Slow by NFL standards? So what? If you could measure Mike Hart’s heart, you would find he does measure up. He’s a football player, period, and for his sake, let’s hope the Colts, or some other NFL team, realizes it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Notre Dame basketball looking good

The start of their high school basketball season is four months away, but if any Mohawk Valley team can dare to hoop dream, it’s Notre Dame’s Jugglers.

 

How they played in a 69-38 win over Rome Free Academy in the SUNYIT Summer League final was encouraging, to say the least. Even Notre Dame coach Mike Durr, who’s never easy to impress, has to feel good about the Jugglers and the 2008-2009 season.

 

“I think we’re going to have some fun this year,” Durr said after the win.

 

There is much to look forward to, including the return of senior guards Matt Petrone and Jerrell Hunter, and juniors Pat Moore and Mike Hill. Petrone, who played AAU basketball with the Albany City Rocks’ 17-and-under team this year, is a left-handed point guard who will be more of an offensive threat. Hill is a sharpshooter who can score from long range, Hunter can hurt you inside and out, and Moore, an AAU standout on the Albany City Rocks’ 16-and-under team, just might be the Mohawk Valley area’s best player now that Thomas R. Proctor’s Deandre Preaster has moved on.

 

The Jugglers also have been bolstered by the addition of senior Caden Romeo, a physical forward who can rebound as well as score from the perimeter.

 

“He’s good inside, real tough down low,” said Moore. “We need somebody like that.”

 

You can expect Notre Dame to be deeper than it was last year, too, with Luke Manolescu, Mike Grace and Dylan Davis in the frontcourt and Tom Giglio at guard, to name just a few. And you know that Durr will have each and every one of them playing hard, especially on the defensive end, or else.

 

Yes, it’s early, but when Mike Durr starts talking about having some “fun” this year, that can’t be good news for the rest of the Tri Valley League. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Nine innings two too many?

Their regular-season games were seven innings long. So were the games they played in last week’s Oneida County tournament.

 

Now, with the District V title and a berth in next week’s state championships at stake, American Legion baseball games from here on out are nine innings.

 

This is good baseball, to be sure. It’s not the major leagues, though. And too often, too many pitchers are throwing too many pitches because of those two extra innings. Arms can suffer, so can the game itself.

 

When you get to the postseason and you’re playing best-of-three series or double-elimination tournaments, few teams have enough pitching. Going from seven to nine innings makes it a different game, to be sure.

 

Do nine innings make it a better game? That’s debatable.