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.