Ron Moshier - Sports

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Moshier: Semifinal football scheduling no treat

For the average fan, high school sports writer, or both, this should have been the best Section III football weekend of the season.


It would have been if the average fan or sports writer had anything to say about it.


It’s up to Section III’s football committee, though, to determine where and when this weekend’s 10 semifinal games in five classes were to be played. And their choices left much for the average fan and sports writer (and to some extent, the players and the schools and the communities involved) to be desired.


Using only five sites to play five Friday night doubleheaders, with games kicking off at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., may have saved the section some money. But it’s hardly fan-friendly – 5 p.m. games at a neutral site on a work day are tough to make – and for the print media, covering 8 p.m. games the way they deserve to be covered becomes next to impossible because of deadline concerns.


If the average fan and print media coverage of high school football were taken more into consideration, Section III wouldn’t have scheduled all 10 semifinal games on a Friday night. Money, no doubt, is an issue, but there are many fans out there who would choose a Saturday afternoon over a Friday night, and some who would pay to go to both Friday’s and Saturday’s games. Play those games over two days, like we’ve done for years, and you might even see an increase at the gate.


Another reason given for no Saturday afternoon semifinal games this year was because Saturday is Halloween, but just last year we played Friday playoff games on Halloween night – without incident.


What the average fan was forced to do this year, unfortunately, was skip out of work early if at all possible or miss a 5 p.m. kickoff, choose one great matchup over another, and hope a quote from the kid who scores the game-winning touchdown in Friday night’s late game makes their edition of the local newspaper.


Unfortunately, for the average fan and a high school sports writer trying to do his or her job, that’s more of a trick than a treat.



Friday, October 16, 2009

Moshier: More C-D playoff teams, more ugliness?

Brace yourselves, high school football fans.

That vast, not-so-great divide between Section III's haves and the have-nots is almost certain to get even uglier this weekend. Subtracting a week of the regular season and adding another round of the playoffs for Section III's smallest, Class C and Class D schools (now 16 of the 22 teams in each class qualify) could be a recipe for disaster.

A six-game regular season is bad enough. Now, don't be surprised if Week 7's first-round playoff games include some downright woeful mismatches. Unfortunately, it's the price Section III will have to pay for giving more teams a playoff chance, no matter how slim that playoff chance might be.

For instance (with their names withheld to protect the innocent): What we end up with this weekend is a 1-5 "playoff" team that has been outscored 210-24 (97-0 the last two weeks) playing a 6-0 team ranked No. 5 in the state. That can't be good for either team.

Sure, expanding the Class C and Class D playoff picture from eight to 16 teams gives twice as many a chance to win a Section III title. But how many of the Not-so-Elite 8 really stand a chance to win a championship? And doesn't a seventh week of regular-season games, in essence, give those teams a chance to play their way into the playoff picture, not limp into the tournament without a hope or a prayer?

Let's hope no star players from the Elite 8 are injured this week, in a game that is decided in the first quarter or half. Oh, and let's hope the section puts all 10 of our Class B teams in one league, not split them into two five-team divisions. Four games to decide a league title? That's not nearly enough.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Moshier: Section III Football Power Rankings

Section III Football

Power Rankings – Week 6



1.   Baldwinsville (5-0): Bees trailed Cicero-North Syracuse 7-6 at the half, but they held the Northstars to 99 total yards and got 223 yards and two touchdowns from star running back Malik Burks in a 21-7 win.


2.   Liverpool (4-1): Shutting out winless Central Square 21-0 is no big deal; winning at Christian Brothers Academy this week would be.


3.   Auburn (4-1): Since opening the season with a 48-21 loss to CBA, the Maroons have averaged 49 points per game during a four-game winning streak. They’ve still got to win at Corcoran, though, to break first-place tie in Class AA-2.


4.   Cicero-North Syracuse (3-2): Northstars, who had won three straight before last week’s loss at Baldwinsville, try to rebound against visiting Rome Free Academy.


5.   CBA (3-2): Escaping with a 40-36 win over RFA ended a rare two-game skid for the Brothers, sure to be tested again this week when they meet Liverpool at the Carrier Dome.



1.   New Hartford (5-0): The Spartans, who had played 12 straight games on artificial turf, were forced to battle the elements and rely on their defense for a change last week. On natural grass, in the rain and wind, they survived a 14-6 scare at Indian River. They will be playing on the Central Square turf this week – a good thing considering they’re up against state-ranked Fulton in a matchup of unbeatens that could very well be a preview of the Section III final at the Carrier Dome.


 2.  Fulton (5-0): Class A American Division leaders ready to square off against New Hartford. The Spartans ended Fulton’s season last year, rolling to a 35-13 victory in the Section III semifinals.


3.   Whitesboro (5-0): Warriors hosting Watertown on Senior Night, and next Friday they should roll into New Hartford a perfect 6-0. Get there early!


 4.  Indian River (3-2): Former Section X powerhouse has lost to two 5-0 teams, including a one-point, last-minute loss at Whitesboro and last week’s 14-6 loss to New Hartford.


5.   East Syracuse-Minoa (4-1): Should finish regular season with wins over Fowler and Nottingham.




1.   Westhill (5-0): Struggled a bit while disposing of winless Skaneateles 20-7, and now the Warriors face a nonleague test against Oneida in a rematch of last year’s Section III final won by the Indians 20-0.


2.   Marcellus (3-2): Mustangs destined to finish regular season on a five-game winning streak.


3.   Oneida (4-1): Indians may not return to the state championship game but they are doing just fine, thank you, without Ryan Kramer & Co. Beating Westhill this week too much to ask?


4.   South Jefferson (3-2): Spartans had no problem with winless Phoenix, but they’d better be ready for VVS offense and QB Tyler Mautner, WR Tyler Curtis, and RB Colin Way.


 5.  Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (4-1): Red Devils rebounded from that loss to Chittenango in a big way. Can they win at South Jefferson this week?



1.   General Brown (5-0): Beating previously unbeaten Class D Watertown IHC wasn’t easy. Beating up on Alexandria Bay will be.


2.   Bishop Ludden (5-0): There was no slip-up at Hannibal; Gaelic Knights rolled, 54-18.


3.   Cazenovia (5-0): Lakers have outscored teams 228-28 and can wrap up perfect Class C South season with a win at Mount Markham. The Mustangs are 3-2, with three wins by shutout.


4.   Cooperstown (5-0): The Redskins got their revenge, holding off Frankfort-Schuyler 29-26 (Frankfort upset 4-0 Cooperstown last year). Winning Class C East outright, though, will take a win over Herkimer.


 5.  Holland Patent (4-1): It was a struggle, but Golden Knights avoided back-to-back losses by a foot. Dan Mower kicked field goals as time expired in the first half and the fourth quarter of a 21-18 win at Ilion.



1.   Westmoreland (5-0): Another game, another shutout, another blowout. The Bulldogs haven’t allowed a single point since Week 2 and have outscored the opposition 260-18.


2.   Watertown IHC (4-1): Even in defeat, the Cavaliers earn some more respect. Losing a nonleague game to state-ranked Class C power General Brown 24-8 (it was 8-8 at halftime) is nothing to be ashamed of.


3.   Dolgeville (4-1): Playmakers Zach Goyette, Michael Barnes, Chris Robotham and Alex Snyder led Blue Devils to a 49-7 romp at New York Mills.


4.   Weedsport (5-0): Hard to tell just how good the state-ranked Warriors are.


5.   Notre Dame (4-1): Jugglers try to end their regular season with a fifth straight victory.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Moshier: Favre has his day (night), for now

Yes, Brett Favre looked like his old (I mean much younger) self. Yes, the Hall of Fame gunslinger who never seems to know whether he’s coming or going was on target and throwing darts Monday night, for all of us to see.


As impressive as Favre was, though, and as much as he stole the show, most impressive were the Minnesota Vikings as a team. Clearly, Favre made the right choice this time. Not only does he have Adrian Peterson to hand off to and lean on, he’s got an offensive line that treated him as if he were royalty.


With Green Bay’s defense loading up the line of scrimmage, Peterson had an off night, but Favre – unlike the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, who was knocked around like a piƱata and sacked eight times -- had all night to throw the football.


Yes, this was Brett Favre’s night, and this week it will be Peterson running all over the hapless Rams. After that, we’ll see just how complete this Minnesota team is, and just how much Favre has left in the tank when the Vikings host Baltimore in Week 6 and then travel to Pittsburgh and Green Bay.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Moshier: Section III Football Power Rankings-Week 5

Section III Football

Power Rankings – Week 5



1.   Baldwinsville (4-0): Bees celebrated their 100th year of high school football with a 27-14 home win over previously unbeaten and state-ranked Liverpool last week, and they may soon be celebrating their first section title in 20 years.


2.   Liverpool (3-1): Not to worry, Warriors will bounce back in a big way against winless Central Square.


3.   Auburn (3-1): Running back Ismail Brooks already has rushed for over 1,000 yards and has scored 19 touchdowns, 17 in the last three games.


4.   Cicero-North Syracuse (3-1): Pulling out last week’s 23-16 victory over CBA with just 10 seconds remaining means the Northstars have a three-game winning streak. The bad news? They pay Baldwinsville a Week 5 visit.


5.   CBA (2-2): The Brothers have suffered back-to-back Class AA-1 losses to Baldwinsville and CBA, and they are in dire need of a Week 5 home win over Rome Free Academy.



1.   New Hartford (4-0): State-ranked No. 4 Spartans, next to unstoppable with Joe Carcone and Anthony Acevedo running wild, unleashed another weapon when junior QB Vinny Servadio completed 12 of 15 passes for 232 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-8 romp over Watertown.


2.   Fulton (4-0): Red Raiders rolled over Cortland 57-13, and will roll over Fowler before facing New Hartford in a nonleague matchup of state-ranked powers next week.


3.   Whitesboro (4-0): Sharing the load has helped the Warriors average 432 yards rushing in their last three wins.


4.   Indian River (3-1): After three straight impressive wins since that one-point, last-minute loss at Whitesboro, the North Country’s Warriors must like their Week 5 upset chances against unbeaten New Hartford.


5.   East Syracuse-Minoa (3-1): After suffering rare league loss to American Division rival Fulton, the Spartans rebounded with a 21-18 nonleague win over Carthage.



1.   Westhill (4-0): All-state end Dan Ross caught two more touchdown passes and the Warriors beat Homer 28-14.


2.   Marcellus (2-2): The Mustangs ended a two-game skid and QB Will Fiacchi threw for 519 yards and three touchdowns in a last-minute, 41-37 win over South Jefferson.


3.   South Jefferson (2-2): Spartans will lick their wounds, then take their Week 4 frustrations out on winless Phoenix.


4.   Chittenango (2-2): Hard to overlook the Bears, who lost their first two games to Marcellus and Westhill but last week roared back with a 21-point fourth quarter and a 30-19 win over previously-unbeaten Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.


5.   Oneida (3-1): Indians saw how Chittenango’s ball-control offense hamstrung VVS. Now, they get their chance to declaw the Bears.



1.   General Brown (4-0): The Lions aced what was expected to be their first real test, scoring on eight straight possessions and steamrolling to a 53-12 romp over previously-unbeaten Adirondack.


2.   Bishop Ludden (4-0): Gaelic Knights really did take it easy on winless Jordan-Elbridge, scoring all 48 of their points (including 35 in the second quarter) in the first half of a 48-0 victory.


3.   Cazenovia (4-0): Lakers have outscored teams 183-28 and now face winless Clinton.


4.   Cooperstown (4-0): Redskins fell behind previously-unbeaten Holland Patent 14-0 on the road, then used their running game and fourth-quarter turnovers to rally for an impressive 21-14 win.


 5.  Holland Patent (3-1): Golden Knights try to bounce back from home loss with a Class C East win at Ilion.



1.   Westmoreland (4-0): The ugliness continues as state-ranked No. 1 Bulldogs score 33 points in the first quarter, 47 points in the first half, and blank Morrisville-Eaton 54-0. Westmoreland has now outscored the opposition 210-18. Ouch!


2.   Watertown IHC (4-0): After outscoring their first three opponents 112-13, the Cavaliers had to work to turn back North Division rival Sandy Creek 14-7.


3.   Waterville (4-0): Losing senior co-captain Garth Curtis, their standout fullback and linebacker, to a broken leg doesn’t help. And QB Donnie March may miss a second straight game with an ankle injury.


4.   Dolgeville (3-1): OK, the Blue Devils lost to Notre Dame 12-7, but they have been much more impressive ever since, including a 41-0 romp over Little Falls.


5.   Notre Dame (3-1): Class D East leaders have won three straight, but the Jugglers had to come from behind to edge winless Little Falls 21-20 last week.