Here are the top-10 topics for the October 26 edition of the Inside High School Sports show…
1. Four sets of Section III football playoffs get underway this weekend. The Class AA side has 7-0 Utica Proctor, fresh off shutting out C-NS 32-0, hosting CBA Saturday after a trio of Friday games where Liverpool, off its first defeat of the season to Corning, faces West Genesee in a rematch of the 2017 semifinal won by the Wildcats, Baldwinsville takes on Corcoran and C-NS gets Henninger. In Class D, an up-for-grabs sectional title (every team has lost at least twice) starts with top seed Dolgeville against Sandy Creek and Beaver River against Thousand Islands on Saturday, with Friday games featuring Waterville at home against Sauquoit Valley and Frankfort-Schuyler, who lost two in a row after a 5-0 start, facing Onondaga.
2. After Oneida‘s 13-6 win over New Hartford in a clash of 6-0 teams, the Indians start the sectional Class B football playoffs against Homer, not the easiest of first-round games. And 7-0 Solvay must start with Cazenovia, with all of its daunting history of recent post-season success. There’s also New Hartford against South Jefferson and Marcellus hosting Central Valley Academy. The Class C sectional playoffs have two clear favorites in 7-0 Cato-Meridian and Lowville, but the Red Raiders must start with a dangerous wild card in 5-2 Skaneateles as the Blue Devils take on Mount Markham. Canastota, sitting at 6-1, faces General Brown, who won four in a row after an 0-3 start, and Clinton, after a big turnaround, meets Herkimer Saturday.
3. There’s still a week of regular season left in Class A football, where the drama involves Carthage and Auburn meeting each other, the result determining where the Comets, Maroons and Indian River line up for the sectional semifinals, joined by Whitesboro if the Warriors are able to win at home against Central Square. There’s also another week of regular-season action in eight-man football, with Weedsport and South Lewis remaining undefeated after the Falcons continued to roll through opponents, handling APW 54-12 last week as Cody Spann threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. West Canada has a 4-1 record, the best one outside of the 5-0 put up by both the Warriors and Falcons.
4. The Section III girls soccer playoffs are underway this week, at least most of it. Central Square snared the top seed in Class A from 10-time defending champ J-D, which means the Red Rams could face a tough semifinal with no. 3 seed New Hartford if the seeds hold. Then there’s Class B, where it’s Central Valley Academy, Clinton and Holland Patent all placed within the top half of the sectional bracket, with the Thunder as the top seed. No. 2 seed Marcellus and no. 3 seed Westhill could renew their long-time rivalry in the semifinals with two playoff wins apiece. Just six teams qualified in Class AA, where F-M and Baldwinsville, with the top two seed, have byes straight into the semifinals, which are not until early next week.
5. Poland, who has spent the last couple of weeks parked atop the state Class D rankings, takes a perfect 16-0 record into the girls soccer sectional Class D playoffs. The top-seeded Tornadoes have to worry about Fabius-Pompey, Copenhagen and McGraw, who occupy the rest of the top four seeds. Moving to Class C, only one team, Waterville, has a first-round bye, so the rest of the 15-team field has to go through first-round games this week and must win twice to get to the semifinals. It’s Little Falls, no. 2 in the state Class C rankings, sitting as the no. 2 seed here and perhaps favored, even with a field that’s rather deep and talented as Dolgeville has the no. 3 seed, Onondaga the no. 4 seed and Cooperstown the no. 5 seed.
6. When the Section III boys soccer playoffs start this week, it’s 15-0-1 Baldwinsville as the top seed in Class AA and F-M the no. 2 seed, both expected to win two games to set up a Nov. 4 championship showdown. It’s more wide-open in Class A, with PSLA-Fowler a talented top seed but the likes of Whitesboro, ESM and even no. 9 seed CBA convinced they can win it all, too. Then there’s Class B, where it’s surprising General Brown holding the top seed, but all eyes are on a possible quarterfinal where defending state champion Westhill could meet Cazenovia, and those were the sectional finalists each of the last two years. Also, rivals Marcellus and Skaneateles could meet in the quarterfinals as Clinton possesses the no. 2 seed.
7. It was South Lewis, holding a 14-2 record, that climbed to the top seed for the boys soccer sectional Class C playoffs, and a favorable bracket without any superpower teams in the top half while, on the bottom half, you’ve got no. 2 seed Bishop Grimes and no. 3 seed Bishop Ludden perhaps on a semifinal collision course. Moving to Class D, there’s Old Forge holding the top seed after an undefeated regular season, but the likes of defending champion Cincinnatus and Manlius-Pebble Hill populating the top half of the bracket with the Eskimos. Belleville-Henderson, state-ranked all season, could be the favorite as the no. 2 seed with a perfect 16-0 mark, with Poland a dangerous no. 3 seed.
8. Four different Section III field hockey playoffs start this week. In Class A, F-M is the top seed, with C-NS and RFA meeting each other in the semifinals as Baldwinsville and Auburn meet to see who gets the Hornets. There’s five teams in Class B, and while ESM has the top seed, Holland Patent is the no. 2 seed and defending champions, meeting Cortland in the semifinals. Camden is looking to defend the Class C title, awaiting a semifinal against Cazenovia or Mount Markham, with Clinton a very good no. 2 seed who will play VVS or Clinton in the semifinals. Finally, there’s Weedsport trying again to win Class D, where it will meet Port Byron or Sauquoit Valley as Morrisville-Eaton meets Little Falls in the other semifinal.
9. Last week’s sectional girls tennis tournaments had the top four singles and doubles teams in four divisions advance to this week’s state qualifier at Drumlins, where the top three singles and doubles finishers advance to next weekend’s state tournament. In cross country, F-M swept the SCAC Metro championship race, with J-D’s boys and Central Square’s girls won the Empire division race. Beaver River’s boys and South Lewis’ girls were victorious in the Frontier League races. In girls gymnastics, last weekend’s sectional tournament featured 13 girls that advanced to the state meet in late February, with New Hartford claiming the team championship and the Spartans’ Miranda Smith an impressive all-around champion.
10. And there was a sad note late last week with the passing of the great Bob Southworth at age 83. “Southy” was a baseball institution in Syracuse for half a century, coaching at every level from youth to high school, and was best known for his long 50-year tenure coaching the national pastime at Corcoran and keeping the program alive by merging it with other city high school programs, winning 709 games before finally retiring after the 2015 season. Aside from that, Southworth served for a long time as Section III baseball chairman, all the while promoting old-school values and discipline and proving adverse to technology – he never had a cell phone or social media account. His towering presence will be missed.