Sep 06, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Another autumn of high school football is underway in Central New York, and Syracuse’s city teams had a productive time over the course of Labor Day weekend.
It started Friday, with a pair of strong road trips. Defending Section III Class AA champion Henninger went to Cicero-North Syracuse and beat the Northstars 27-10, while Corcoran, a favorite for the AA title in many circles, added to the hype by crushing Central Square 53-0.
Two days later, in the Kickoff Classic at the Carrier Dome, Fowler used a dramatic touchdown in the final 90 seconds to stun Jamesville-DeWitt 6-3, while Nottnigham fell to Fulton 40-20.
Henninger seemed to have a big dilemma going nto 2009. Stars like Kihary Blue, Chris Gainey and Shaquille Leggett were gone from 2008, and head coach Dave Kline had to install a new starting backfield.
However, the Black Knights’ defense remained sound, proving it by holding CNS to a field goal after Blake Monday’s 81-yard return of the game’s opening kickoff. It would not allow another point until the fourth quarter.
By that point, Henninger was in control. Shawn Bryant, the Black Knights’ new quarterback, earned his first touchdown pass in the second quarter, going 55 yards to Shaqueal Rowser, and added a two-point pass after Reggie Robinson’s four-yard TD run later in the period.
Up 14-3 at the break, Henninger got away when Bryant threw two more TD passes – 16 yards to Rowser, then 59 yards to Richard Neal. Those big plays offset the series of mistakes and mental errors typical of so many opening games.
This sets up Henninger for a key early test in its home opener Saturday at 1 p.m. at Sunnycrest Park against Christian Brothers Academy, who ripped Auburn 48-21 in its opener, but may have lost star wide receiver/defensive back Bryant Moore for the season with a knee injury.
Corcoran didn’t seem to make too many mistakes at Central Square. Instead, the Cougars, welcoming several members of an unbeaten 2008 JV squad up to the varsity ranks, toyed with the Red Hawks from the start, piling up 591 yards of offense, including 482 rushing yards.
Twice, Chao Porch scored in the first half, on runs of one and 10 yards, and Anthony Heard added a four-yard scoring run as Corcoran steadily built a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Cougars then erupted for 26 points in the third quarter, as Jerry Adams earned a pair of TD’s, Heard scored again and Tyquan Mahon went 53 yards for the longest scoring play of the night.
Corcoran also has its home opener this weekend, Friday at 6 p.m., against Rome Free Academy, who took a 40-30 loss to Utica Proctor to start its season.
The highlight of Friday’s city action is a crosstown battle between Fowler and Nottingham on the Bulldogs’ home turf at 6:30. They head there in vastly different moods after Sunday’s events at the Carrier Dome.
Fowler found itself shut down by Jamesville-DeWitt most of the afternoon, giving up five turnovers. Yet all the Red Rams could manage was Denis Petrovic’s 22-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Thanks to a resilient defense that never allowed J-D to put things away, Fowler still had a chance as regulation time wound down.
With the ball on its own 33-yard line with 1:28 to play and out of time-outs, Fowler quarterback Kelvin Amparo threw to midfield, where a wide-open London Odister caught the ball, then turned and sprinted to the end zone, outrunning the Red Rams’ defense for the game’s only touchdown.
Fowler then forced two incompletions on third and fourth down in J-D’s ensuing possession, which allowed Amparo to run out the clock.
Earlier in the day, Nottingham found itself overwhelmed by Fulton’s fierce ground attack, falling behind 26-0 in the second quarter.
Finally, Bulldog quarterback Jawan Simmons put his team on the board seconds before halftime, throwing a 26-yard TD pass to Jamar Adams to make it 26-6.
Fulton never lost control, though, and Nottingham’s last pair of TD’s came in the fourth quarter against the Red Raiders’ reserves.