Ron Moshier - Sports

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ron Moshier: New Hartford-Camden final should be a wild one!

Sharpen your pencils, stat keepers. Bring along a calculator, just in case.


Yes, next Friday night’s Section III Class A football final at the Carrier Dome should be a wildy-entertaining, high-scoring affair between National Division rivals New Hartford (7-2) and Camden (6-3). Both won with ease in the semifinals, New Hartford 35-13 over Fulton and Camden 42-14 over Whitesboro.


Now, it’s off to the Carrier Dome. No wind to worry about. No snow. No slop to slow them down. Just two high-octane, spread, shot-gun formation offenses led by two very different quarterbacks who are sure to light it up. Camden’s D.J. Forbragd can do it with his feet. He ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns in the semifinal win over Whitesboro. New Hartford’s Mike Doyle can do it with his arm. He was a near-perfect, 15-of-18 for 235 yards and four touchdowns in the semifinal win over Fulton.


New Hartford’s defense will be hard-pressed to contain Forbragd. Camden’s defense, which got a school-record 22 tackles from linebacker Chris O’Leary in the win over Whitesboro, will have to pressure Doyle and hope tailback Joey Carcone doesn’t run wild.


New Hartford beat Camden 41-31 in the teams’ season opener. The winner of their Carrier Dome rematch might have to score 50.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ron Moshier: Proctor's frozen football final cut short

In retrospect, Thomas R. Proctor High School football coach Jerry Fiorini said Tuesday night’s Section III crossover game against Auburn “should have been canceled.” It wasn’t, and his Raiders ended their season with a 39-0 loss that was stopped at halftime because of the extreme cold, high winds, and snow at Syracuse’s Nottingham High School.


Fiorini said both teams agreed at halftime that the game, an admittedly “meaningless” crossover between two teams that did not qualify for Section III’s playoffs, should be stopped.


“We had three guys really in bad shape, almost going into hypothermia,” Fiorini said. “It was brutal. It was a blizzard, the worst conditions we’ve ever played in. We couldn’t even hold onto the ball and you couldn’t see the field. (Auburn) had guys who were hurting pretty good, too. It was awful.”








Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ron Moshier: "A" National football flexes muscle

Whitesboro football coach Tom Schoen’s called it a “murder’s row.” In other words, “There’s not an easy game in our division.”


That’s for sure. Yes, that division, Section III football’s Class A National, flexed its considerable muscle again in Friday night’s quarterfinals. Three of the National Division’s four playoff teams – Camden, Whitesboro and New Hartford – won handily, two of them on the road.


New Hartford won at top-seeded, state-ranked, and previously-unbeaten East Syracuse-Minoa 28-6. Whitesboro, whose Warriors had allowed 28 and 35 points and had lost their last two regular-season games, traveled to Cortland and shut out the state-ranked Purple Tigers 21-0. And Camden rolled to a 42-6 victory over Jamesville-DeWitt. The only Class A National Division team eliminated from title contention by an American Division team was defending section champion Carthage, whose Comets were upset 14-6 by a Fulton team they had beaten 37-6 in a nonleague, regular-season game.


Now, a New Hartford team that’s 6-2 and riding a five-game winning streak plays Fulton (4-4) in a Class A semifinal game at a neutral site sure to be geographically closer to the Utica area, most likely Rome’s RFA Stadium. Camden’s Blue Devils (5-3), who also have won five straight, will have to beat Whitesboro (4-4) for the second time in three weeks – Camden won 35-21 in the teams’ regular-season finale. That rematch also will most likely be played on this side of Section III.


With all due respect to Fulton’s Red Raiders, you can bet one of the three remaining “murder’s row” members of the National Division – Camden, New Hartford, or Whitesboro – will walk away with a Section III Class A title.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ron Moshier: Westmoreland domeward bound?

Who’s the Mohawk Valley area’s best bet to reach the Carrier Dome’s Section III football finals? By the looks, it’s Westmoreland.


The Bulldogs (7-0), who won the Class C South and earned a home playoff game when they upset Cazenovia – the Class B section champ the last two years – 23-20 in their regular-season finale, host Cato-Meridian (6-1) in the Class C quarterfinals, then would face Herkimer (5-2) or Lowville (6-1) in the semifinals. In Week 5, Westmoreland was a 26-6 nonleague winner at Herkimer.


The top half of the Class C playoff bracket is loaded, with defending section and state champion Bishop Ludden (7-0) hosting Adirondack (5-2) and Cazenovia (6-1) facing Thousand Islands (5-2) in the quarterfinals.


The Utica-Rome/Mohawk Valley side of Section III should get a title shot in Class A, too, with National Division rivals Camden, Whitesboro and New Hartford all capable of a Carrier Dome landing. And, as usual, don’t count out Dolgeville in Class D. The Blue Devils could very well meet defending champion Onondaga in the semifinals, a rematch of last year’s finalists, and a win there would send Dolgeville back to the Carrier Dome.


The best bet in Class D might be a defensive-minded championship game featuring two unbeaten teams – Watertown’s Immaculate Heart Central and Dolgeville – currently ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in the state, respectively. Of course, Section III’s Class D champ then would most likely have to face top-ranked Walton of Section IV, whose regular season ended with last week’s 72-0 demolition of Harpursville.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ron Moshier: New Hartford, Adirondack upset-minded

Looking for a first-round upset or two in this weekend’s Section III high school football playoffs? Look no further than New Hartford and Adirondack, two area teams on a roll entering quarterfinal matchups against two unbeaten and state-ranked teams from the Syracuse area.


Since suffering back-to-back, one-point losses to defending section champion Carthage and archrival Whitesboro and getting off to a 1-2 start, New Hartford (5-2) has won four straight and plays a Class A quarterfinal game against top-seeded East Syracuse-Minoa (7-0). On their way to last year’s Section III final, New Hartford’s Spartans hit the road and knocked off East Syracuse-Minoa in the first round, and don’t be surprised if it happens again Friday night. Weather permitting, this could be a high-scoring affair, and New Hartford has enough playmakers to pull it off, led by quarterback Mike Doyle, running backs Joey Carcone, John Boyle and Eric Verbickas, and ends Dan Safford and Anthony Acevedo.


In Class C, Adirondack (5-2) meets defending Section III and state champion Bishop Ludden (7-0) in the playoffs for the third straight time. The Wildcats have been beaten by a whisker each of the last two years. But they’ve been in must-win mode ever since starting this season 0-2, and nobody’s been able to stop Adirondack’s all-time rushing leader, senior tailback Scott Dunlap, during a five-game winning streak. After two narrow misses against Bishop Ludden, the underdog ‘Cats have a real shot at knocking off the state’s top-ranked Class C team.



Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ron Moshier: Sneaking peek at Section III football playoffs

Section III’s football playoffs kick off with quarterfinal games next weekend, and the pairings, dates and starting times won’t be announced until later Sunday afternoon.


With a helping hand from several area coaches, here’s a class-by-class, sneak peek – albeit far from official -- at who should be in the playoffs, and the probable first-round matchups in every class except Class C (good luck figuring that one out before Sunday’s meeting of Section III’s football minds):


CLASS AA: Corcoran (3-4) at West Genesee (6-1), Rome Free Academy (5-2) at Christian Brothers Academy (6-1), Liverpool (4-3) at Baldwinsville (5-2), Cicero-North Syracuse (4-3) at Henninger (6-1).


CLASS A: Jamesville-DeWitt (2-5) at Camden (4-3), New Hartford (5-2) at East Syracuse-Minoa (7-0), Whitesboro (3-4) at Cortland (6-1), Fulton (3-4) at Carthage (5-2).


CLASS B: Solvay (2-5) at Oneida (6-1), South Jefferson (3-4) at Westhill (5-2), Homer (3-4) at Holland Patent (4-3), Chittenango (4-3) at Marcellus (6-1).


CLASS C: Bishop Ludden (7-0), Westmoreland (7-0), Cazenovia (6-1), Lowville (6-1), Cato-Meridian (6-1), Herkimer (5-2), Thousand Islands (5-2), Adirondack (5-2).


CLASS D: Sandy Creek (4-3) at Dolgeville (7-0), Mohawk (4-3) at Watertown IHC (7-0), Weedsport (6-1) at Notre Dame (6-1), Oriskany (5-2) at Onondaga (5-2).


Teams that did not qualify for the playoffs will play Week 8 crossovers. Those pairings, dates, and times also will be determined by the Section III football committee on Sunday.


The Section III semifinals will be played at neutral sites the following week.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ron Moshier: Week 7's marquee football matchups

Section III’s high school football playoffs kick off next weekend – quarterfinal pairings will be determined on Sunday -- but there are still some league championships yet to be decided, and Saturday’s Dolgeville-at-Notre Dame, Class D East rematch isn’t the only regular-season finale matching two unbeaten and state-ranked teams.


The Class C South title will be on the line when coach Tim Gates and his state-ranked No. 20 Westmoreland Bulldogs (4-0, 6-0) host No. 3 Cazenovia (4-0, 6-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday.


The Lakers, coached by Rome native Tom Neidl, were Section III’s Class B champions last season. Their closest call at the Class C level this year was last week’s 27-6 win at Clinton.


Westmoreland, entering this year’s state rankings for the first time this week, is led by leading rusher Justin Becker, sophomore quarterback Dan Smith, leading receiver T.J. Losowski and two-way lineman Neal Baron.


Here’s a look at some of the other Week 7 matchups in the area:


Rome Free Academy (3-1, 5-1) already has secured a 30th consecutive playoff berth – the only school to do so since football playoffs began in 1979 – but RFA can grab a share of the Class AA-2 title Friday when it hosts Henninger (4-0, 5-1) at 7:30. RFA junior Kyle Kimball has rushed for 942 yards and nine touchdowns, but Henninger has won five straight since opening the season with a loss to state-ranked Christian Brothers Academy. Thomas R. Proctor High School’s Raiders (0-4, 0-6), meanwhile, will try to end a 10-game losing streak Friday night when they host CBA’s 16th-ranked Brothers (3-1, 5-1) at D’Alessandro Stadium.


Defending section champ Carthage, Whitesboro and Camden are all 3-1 in Class A National Division play, and Whitesboro (3-3) travels to Camden (3-3) Friday night with a share of first place and a home playoff game at stake. Led by quarterback D.J. Forbragd, Camden has won three straight since a 27-13 loss to state-ranked No. 9 Canandaigua (6-0). Quarterback Junior Woodard has rushed for 673 yards for the Warriors, who will try to rebound from last week’s 28-21 home loss to Carthage. New Hartford (3-2, 4-2) has clinched a playoff spot, and the Spartans meet Mexico in a nonleague game Friday at Sauquoit Valley.


State-ranked No. 3 Oneida (4-0, 6-0) already has clinched the Class B East title. Holland Patent (2-1, 3-3) has won two straight and hosts Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (0-3, 1-5) on Saturday.


Herkimer (4-1, 4-2) and Frankfort-Schuyler (4-1, 5-1) share the Class C East lead, and the Magicians host Sauquoit Valley (0-5, 0-6) on Friday while the Maroon Knights travel to Adirondack on Saturday to face the streaking Wildcats (3-2, 4-2), who need a fifth straight win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Adirondack’s Scott Dunlap has rushed for 988 yards, and Frankfort is led by running back Jordan Lints (670 yards rushing) and quarterback Ron Gatto (44-for-77, 690 yards, 7 TDs). Two other playoff contenders also meet Saturday in Cooperstown, where the Redskins (3-2, 4-2) host Little Falls (3-2, 4-2).


South Lewis (3-2, 4-2) hosts Class C North rival Lowville (4-1, 5-1) on Friday night. Falcons running back Dylan Peebles has rushed for 749 yards, and Red Raiders quarterback Joshua Jones is 57-for-92 – he’s been intercepted just once – for 844 yards and 12 touchdowns.


Class D East co-leaders Dolgeville and Notre Dame are in the playoffs, no matter what happens Saturday. The league’s other two playoff berths are up for grabs, with Oriskany (4-2), Mohawk (3-3) and Waterville (3-3) the top contenders. Oriskany plays at Waterville on Friday night, and Mohawk travels to New York Mills (2-4) on Saturday.


Morrisville-Eaton (3-3) needs an upset win over state-ranked No. 3 Immaculate Heart Central (6-0) of Watertown on Friday night to qualify from the Class D West.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ron Moshier: Dolgeville-ND football showdown deserves better

For the third straight high school football season, Dolgeville and Notre Dame will play for Section III’s Class D East title on the final day of the regular season. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, this Week 7 matchup of two unbeaten and state-ranked teams won’t be seen by as many as it should be, and rain or shine, it won’t be played on the best of fields.


Because the lighting at Notre Dame High School’s Brother Vic Stadium is far less than adequate – the Jugglers haven’t played a night-time football game there since Week 3 because officials considered it too dangerous – the Dolgeville-Notre Dame game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday.


Trouble is, even in the daylight, the field’s playing surface isn’t very good. Besides, there are several other key matchups in the area at the same time Saturday (Cazenovia at Westmoreland in another battle of unbeatens and Frankfort-Schuyler at Adirondack to name just two).


Dolgeville’s Blue Devils and Notre Dame’s Jugglers deserve better. It’s a prime time matchup of two very quick and talented teams that would be best played (for the good of the game) on an artificial surface, ideally on Saturday night (for the good of the fans). If only Saturday’s game could be moved to the evening, and played some place else – like Thomas R. Proctor High School’s D’Alessandro Stadium, for instance.


It would be the only game in town, it would draw hundreds of more fans than a 2 p.m. kickoff will, and it would be a better game.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ron Moshier: Week 7 heaven for high school football fans

Yes, the stars are aligned quite nicely for the final weekend of the Section III high school football regular season.


For starters, Week 7 will feature first-place showdowns in Camden and Rome on Friday night. Camden (3-1, 3-3) hosts Whitesboro (3-1, 3-3) in the Class A National Division, and Henninger (4-0, 5-1) plays Rome Free Academy (3-1, 5-1) in a Class AA-2 regular-season finale at RFA Stadium.


Choosing between those two games is tough enough. Saturday’s an even tougher call.


You could go to Notre Dame High School, where the Jugglers (6-0) and Dolgeville (6-0) will play for the Class D East title in a matchup of state-ranked teams at Brother Vic Stadium.


You could go to Westmoreland (4-0, 6-0), where the Bulldogs host state-ranked No. 3 Cazenovia (4-0, 6-0) in a game that will decide who wins the Class C South title.


Or you could head north to Boonville, where Adirondack’s streaking Wildcats (3-2, 4-2) – needing a fifth straight win and a little help to make the playoffs – host Class C East co-leader Frankfort-Schuyler (4-1, 5-1).


All three of those Saturday games kick off at 2 p.m., so if you’re not able to be in more than one place at a time (we should be so lucky), pick one and enjoy. You can’t go wrong.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ron Moshier: Bulldogs have some bite

They haven’t gotten much respect yet, but Westmoreland’s Bulldogs are a high school football team on a mission.


A 5-0 start, including last week’s impressive 28-7 win at Herkimer, hasn’t been enough to get them ranked in the state’s Class C poll, but the Bulldogs are for real, and you can bet state-ranked No. 3 Cazenovia will take them seriously when the two meet for the Class C South title on the final day of Section III’s regular season.


For starters, Westmoreland’s sophomore quarterback, Dan Smith, has come a long way in a short time. And he’s got some playmakers, guys like Justin Becker, Kyle Eisnor, Sean Bearse and T.J. Losowski, to work with. Lineman Neil Baron is the one to watch up front.


Barring a Week 6 upset, Cazenovia and Westmoreland will be a pair of unbeaten teams vying for a league title on Oct. 18, and head coach Tim Gates and his Bulldogs better not be taken too lightly.





Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ron Moshier: C East football heats up

Take a look at Section III’s Class C East Division football standings lately? Even if you have, they’re worth a closer look.


With two playoff berths at stake and only two weeks remaining in the regular season, Cooperstown, Herkimer and Frankfort-Schuyler are all 3-1 in the division, Adirondack is 3-2 and riding a three-game winning streak, and Little Falls remains in contention at 2-2.


Who earns Class C East’s two playoff berths will depend a lot on what Frankfort-Schuyler’s Maroon Knights (3-1, 4-1), last year’s Class D Central champions (now in Class C after state-wide reclassification) do these next two weekends. Frankfort hosts Cooperstown (3-1, 4-1) this Friday, Oct. 10, then ends the regular season with a Saturday trip to Boonville to face Adirondack’s Wildcats (3-2, 3-2) on Oct. 18. Cooperstown ends its regular season hosting Little Falls.


Of the five Class C East playoff contenders, Herkimer has the easiest stretch run, the Magicians finishing up with archrival Ilion (1-4, 1-4) and Sauquoit Valley (0-4, 0-5).


More than a few believe Adirondack is the best of the bunch. Over the last three weeks, the Wildcats have defeated Ilion 41-6, Sauquoit Valley 51-14, and previously unbeaten Cooperstown 28-14. But they lost their season opener at Little Falls 18-14 and then lost at Herkimer, 25-18, so the Wildcats will need a win over Frankfort in their regular-season finale and some help to make Section III playoffs.


Stay tuned. The Class C East homestretch run should go right down to the wire.