Jack Andrejko, Josh Foley, Brandon Nguyen, Ian Denny, Julien Brownlow, Curtis Merrick, Griffin Merkling
R.J. Romeo, Luke Valenti, Chris Catalano, Colin Kelly, Will Mackenzie, Jason Boule
Here is a top 10 for the Web site for the Inside High School Sports show for the week of September 18…
1. Of all the stories that emerged from the first full weekend of Section III football, none was better than the Oswego Buccaneers. More than 2,400 days had passed since Oswego had won any game – since October 2014. And it didn’t look like it would happen last Friday, either, when the Bucs trailed Phoenix 30-0 in the third quarter. But Logan Mathews scored three touchdowns and Dylan Dunsmoor added another, and with four successful two-point conversions, the last of them by Mathews with 3:27 to play, Oswego somehow pulled out a miraculous 32-30 victory and ended its long, painful victory drought, all orchestrated by second-year head coach Jason Primrose, who again is guiding the Bucs through the Independent division this fall as it begins a long climb back to relevance.
2. Among the Class AA football schools, the first full week of league action brought back Utica Proctor, who didn’t play at all in the spring due to COVID protocols, but returned and managed to defeat Corcoran 20-14. In the other games, Cicero-North Syracuse handled Nottingham, Baldwinsville dropped 59 points on Rome Free Academy (who also didn’t play in the spring) and Liverpool rolled past Henninger, so immediately the three northern-suburban teams went to the forefront. This Friday it’s the 2-0 Bees against the Warriors at LHS Stadium as the Northstars take on the Raiders at Bragman Stadium. Those games will immediately establish who are the early favorites in the Class AA race, with C-NS and B’ville slated to meet one another a week later.
3. Auburn’s 2-0 start, which included a 49-0 win over Fulton, put the Maroons at no. 7 in the first state Class A rankings of the season. Fayetteville-Manlius also got state-ranked after routing Carthage 54-14. Auburn this week goes to Whitesboro, who saw a double-digit lead get away in its opener, a 34-18 loss to CBA. A far bigger story, though, is what happens when Indian River and West Genesee take the field. The Warriors saw its first two games postponed when COVID-19 cases caused a quarantine. Now Indian River gets to start, but against an F-M side quite confident after what it did against Carthage. West Genesee, sidelined for a week after it couldn’t play Indian River, takes a Thursday trip to Carthage as CBA goes to Central Square and East Syracuse Minoa, who is 1-1, tackles Fulton.
4. Who was more impressive among Class B football teams in the first week? Was it Homer, who piled up 61 points on Chittenango? Or New Hartford, who despite heavy graduation losses merely dropped 65 points on South Jefferson? Oneida was pretty good, too, blanking Cortland 29-0 ahead of a game against Marcellus. Meanwhile, the Class C teams included Skaneateles, installed at no. 2 in the state rankings, blanking Clinton 50-0 as Cazenovia unleashed quite a passing attack during a 31-7 win over Solvay and Bishop Ludden demolished Utica-Notre Dame 68-10. Don’t underestimate Holland Patent, either, as the Golden Knights got a big 34-29 over reigning sectional champion Lowville, Little Falls beat Canastota and General Brown handled Mount Markham 43-20.
5. New to Class D football, Adirondack merely smashed Onondaga 47-8, proving that the Wildcats could hang with other top contenders like Sandy Creek, who fought past Herkimer 20-18, and Dolgeville, who outclassed the combined Westmoreland/Oriskany side 32-6. And going to eight-man football, the dominance of Weedsport might be over as the Warriors started 0-2, including a 46-20 defeat to West Canada. Among those fighting for the mantle is Sauquoit Valley, who moved down from 11-man football a couple of weeks ago and used a late scoring surge to defeat Bishop Grimes 42-24. Also Morrisville-Eaton put up 64 points against Thousand Islands and New York Mills had an impressive effort topping South Lewis 36-8.
6. Now we’re into the heart of the girls soccer regular season. Among the small schools, reigning state Class D champion Poland is off to a 5-0 start but should be wary of the likes of Bishop Ludden and Cincinnatus, both of whom began 4-0. Sauquoit Valley could be emerging as the Class C favorites after impressive wins in its first five games, chased by 4-0 Beaver River and Watertown IHC. Clinton has proven impressive early in Class B with wins over Cazenovia and Marcellus. Jamesville-DeWitt might be back as a Class A power but New Hartford has shut out its first five opponents, and among the Class AA sides it’s Cicero-North Syracuse who has won all four of its games so far, possibly emerging with reigning champion Fayetteville-Manlius as the early favorites.
7. They have already released boys soccer state rankings and two Section III teams are at the top of their respective classes – Skaneateles, in Class B, who further cemented its place on top Tuesday with a 3-0 shutout of Westhill where Tylar Moss scored all the goals in the first half, and Cincinnatus, who is atop the Class D ranks. Class AA powers Fayetteville-Manlius and Baldwinsville played to a 0-0 draw in their first encounter last Saturday, with the Bees then edging West Genesee in overtime. Moving to Class A, CBA might be 3-1-2, but it shut out reigning sectional champion Jamesville-DeWitt 3-0 last weekend and this weekend will challenge East Syracuse Minoa, who got a big 2-1 win over Fowler. Cooperstown and Sauquoit Valley are both 4-0 among the Class C sides.
8. The cross country season began with a host of local teams at the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Invitational on the same course where the Section III championships will take place in November. Fayetteville-Manlius swept both of the Varsity 1 races led by Hannah Kaercher on the girls side as West Genesee’s Peter McMahon won the boys race. Cicero-North Syracuse was victorious in Varsity Race 2 on both sides with Kate Putman the girls champion, and Liverpool won both of the Varsity 3 races as Ryan Hagan took the boys title. F-M, in particular, will join a host of other local sides making their way to Chenango Valley this Saturday for a race on the course where, come November, the state championships will get contested a week after the sectional meet.
9. A big showdown in high school field hockey early this week saw Baldwinsville, already 5-0 on the season, knock off Cicero-North Syracuse 2-1 as Sydney Huhtala scored both goals and the Bees’ defense held off 14 penalty corners from the Northstars, who did not lose a single game in 2020. In girls swimming, Jamesville-DeWitt got off to quite a good start, knocking off area rival CBA and then defeating Mexico with superior depth despite the two wins by the Tigers’ Alexa von Holtz. In girls volleyball, Marcellus and Skaneateles are both off to quick starts, the Mustangs having defeated Westhill and the Lakers having swept Solvay as Fayetteville-Manlius won the Gold division of its own tournament and Cazenovia prevailed in the Silver division.
10. As of now, plans are still to have state championships in November, but they’ll look a little different than in years past. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has issued a set of protocols about what happens if athletes test positive for COVID-19, with various county health departments needing to get involved and possible replacements for sectional champions if time and circumstances warrant. Perhaps more pertinent to hosts of these events, there will not be the usual circuit of banquets and other ceremonies associated with some of the events, only the competition. Just having it, though, is a step up from what happened before as four entire seasons (two spring, one fall, one winter) of state championships did not happen in 2020 and 2021.
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