Top Ten 10/7

Here are our top 10 topics for the October 5 edition of the Inside High School Sports show...
1. Just past the midway point of the football regular season, the Class AA divisions will largely be shaped by two games on Friday night. the AA-1 front-runner, 4-0 Liverpool, visits Corcoran, with the Warriors’ ferocious defense challenged by potent Cougars offense. In AA-2, the only two 2-0 teams in the league, Utica Proctor and Baldwinsville, clash at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, though both still have games left against C-NS. In Class A, big wins last week by Indian River and Carthage lead to a showdown between the 2018 sectional finalists up north this week, and the other two league games, involving Whitesboro against Auburn and ESM against Central Square, are just as important to the league race.

2. The biggest game in Class B football so far this season takes place Friday night, 4-0 Solvay visiting 4-0 Marcellus, the two of them having separated from everyone in the B West division except 3-1 South Jefferson. In B East, Oneida and New Hartford are both 4-0, while Cazenovia, reviving from an 0-2 start, won a bizarre game over VVS last week where it scored just two safeties – and won 4-0! Among Class D teams, Frankfort-Schuyler remains the standard everyone is chasing, the Maroon Knights at 4-0 and in the top five of the state Class D rankings, with Dolgeville and Beaver River both sitting at 3-1, the Blue Devils heading into a big game Friday night at Onondaga as F-S takes on Sauquoit Valley.

3. Two more important games kick off October in Class C football. No one has been able to contain state no. 2-ranked Skaneateles, but Cato-Meridian is also 4-0 and the Blue Devils will host the Lakers Friday night, Cato’s defense trying to contain James Musso, Nick Wamp and company. Then there’s 3-1 Canastota against 3-1 Clinton, the Warriors having a revival this season but facing a big test against the far more established Raiders. In eight-man football, Weedsport made another loud statement last Friday by bashing Bishop Grimes 72-34 as West Canada scored 66 points against Tupper Lake and Morrisville-Eaton hung 74 points on New York Mills. South Lewis is also 2-0 after routing Cooperstown.

4. Maybe Class A girls soccer is not a done deal for J-D, who last Tuesday was stunned in overtime 3-2 by Central Square after the Red Rams climbed to the top of the state Class A rankings. In Class AA, four wins in six games last week gives F-M all kinds of momentum going into its Oct. 7 rematch with Baldwinsville, who avenged its lone defeat of the season when it topped New Hartford 2-1 last weekend. Clinton and Holland Patent are both unbeaten and both in the state Class B top five, with Westhill and Marcellus close behind as they both knocked off previously unbeaten Chittenango. Poland climbed to the top of the state Class D rankings last week as Little Falls sat at no. 2 among Class C sides.

5. So much of the definition of the Class AA boys soccer regular season will hinge on Tuesday night’s game at Swan Pond between unbeaten, state no. 5-ranked Baldwinsville and no. 12-ranked F-M, whose only loss this season was 3-0 to the Bees early in September. To show the volatility of Class B, Westhill was ranked no. 1 and then Marcellus knocked them off, while Marcellus was no. 3 in the state last week but then lost to Skaneateles and Bishop Grimes. It’s tight among the top Class A teams, too, with PSLA-Fowler’s lone blemishes a loss and draw with ESM, who faces J-D this week. Among the Class C sides, 9-0 Waterville sits no. 5 in the state and Bishop Ludden at no. 11, with Belleville-Henderson no.5  in Class D.

6. This week brings us the Section III golf championships for the fall season. In Tuesday at Rogues Roost, small-school sides tee off with no clear favorite among the likes of CBA, Westhill and Skanetaeles, each of them having beat each other during the regular season. Then it’s the SCAC teams going on Wednesday at Radisson, with the Class AA race possibly between F-M and Baldwinsville, who split their regular-season matches, though C-NS Blue and defending champ West Genesee could challenge and it was the Hornets who earned the regular-season title. The Class A tournament should be close and competitive, too, with J-D undefeated for most of the season before taking a defeat to Auburn late last week.

7. It’s a busy time in cross country, where F-M, again no. 1 in the state in Class A, swept all SCAC Metro rivals, including Liverpool, who turned around and had Jenna Schulz finish second in the AAA (large-school) division in the mammoth McQuaid Invitational at Rochester. The bigger story out of the McQuaid was that Tully’s Brooke Lauber beat out Camden’s Elizabeth Lucason in the Varsity A division with the third-fastest time of the entire day. Meanwhile, at the E.J. Herrmann Invitational at Proctor Park in Utica, C-NS, led by Kate Putman, won the Large School division with eight of the top 21 finishers, while South Lewis, with a 1-2-3 sweep headed by Hannah Ielfield, won the Small School division

8. In boys cross country, there was also a large parade of local teams that went to last Saturday’s McQuaid Invitational in Rochester, with Beaver River’s Colton Kempney winning the Varsity A race and the state Class D no. 1-ranked Beavers finishing ahead of Skaneateles, who had zoomed up to no. 2 in the state Class C poll after it Baldwinsville Invitational victory a week earlier. F-M still is perched atop Class A after it dominated all of its SCAC foes. Baldwinsville did best among large-school teams at McQuaid, a few points ahead of Liverpool. This week will feature cooler weather and very different running conditions, with the local competitions including the Tully Invitational and Whitesboro Invitational.

9. Baldwinsville’s girls volleyball team hosted last weekend’s Fall Swing Tournament, but was only able to reach the semifinals in the Gold Division before Burnt Hills beat them, avenging a loss to the Bees in the Spartans’ tournament earlier in the month. Burnt Hills won that division as F-M claimed the Silver division and Westhill, the reigining state Class B champions who did not lose a set in league matches in September, defeating J-D in three sets for the Bronze division title. In field hockey, it’s F-M still unbeaten in the SCAC, while teams from Clinton and Holland Patent also dominated their opponents in September, the Warriors and Golden Knights both favorites in their respective classes.

10. There was a lot of girls swimming tournaments last weekend, including the Watertown Invitational, where the host Cyclones did just enough to fend off Mexico despite two wins by the Tigers’ Carolyn Zedack, while F-M, again dominating its SCAC foes, added to its strong resume by beating five other teams in the Empire Invitational in Rochester. Last week’s best meet saw CBA, with its core of individual stars, defeat J-D – something the Brothers had not done in more than a decade. This is also the final week of the regular season in girls tennis across Central New York, just in time as weather is expected to turn colder and wetter, just before the big end-of-season tournament that takes place indoors.

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