Oct 11, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
That part where we were just recapping what took place in Section III football the previous week is over.
Now it’s time to analyze where we are, everywhere, looking ahead to the final regular-season weekend and how the Section III playoffs will look.
We’ll go division-by-division, starting with the lower classes and moving up to the large schools…
D East – Dolgeville erased the suspense about the top spot a while ago, and now is just a victory over Mohawk from regular-season perfection, something no other Class D team in the section can claim.
Needless to say, with four shutouts the defense carries the Blue Devils most of the way. Beaver River’s win at Mohawk secured the second automatic playoff berth, but a team under .500 could reach the post-season, too.
D Central – New York Mills nearly squandered momentum on Saturday, needing a late TD pass from Jimmy Fellone to Fred Russ to survive West Canada 28-27 and get to 5-1 on the season.
Cooperstown has that same mark, but the Marauders’ head-to-head win over the Redskins in September means that Mills is likely to get first place and a first-round game at home. Oriskany, by whacking Morrisville-Eaton, may sneak into a berth, too.
D West – Just four teams, but they’re all quite good. Onondaga pulled out that huge win at Weedsport, 19-14, and is a win from the regular-season title.
The Warriors, in fact, have slid all the way to third place after Sandy Creek’s late charge. It would take something crazy to keep Weedsport out of the playoffs, but keep an eye on the Comets. They’re playing as good as anyone now.
C East – It’s been Ilion from the moment they kicked off. Six wins in six weeks for the Golden Bombers as it has outscored foes a combined 255-55, and all led by the unstoppable Jon Treen, whose latest show included five touchdowns against Utica-Notre Dame.
ND’s loss means the second playoff berth hinges on the last regular-season game between the Jugglers and 4-2 Herkimer, who just dropped 55 on Adirondack. Neither of them appear to have any playoff staying power, though – at least compared with Ilion.
C South – All the credit in the world to Westmoreland for weathering the loss of quarterback Dan Smith and winning its next three anyway. They’re in the playoffs, and so is Canastota after an unbeaten run through the league where Zack Zupan has dominated on both sides of the ball.
So what to expect when, on Friday night, the Bulldogs travel to meet the Raiders? Very, very sore bodies. These are two immensely physical teams with superb defenses, and both are deceptively good at throwing the ball, too, as Zack Green has ably replaced Smith.
C North – General Brown and Watertown IHC have done it in vastly different ways. The Lions have simply mashed everyone except Westmoreland, while the Cavaliers have leaned more on air-tight defense. Oh yeah, and a good strong leg from baseball star Anthony Magovney, whose long field goal beat Pulaski on Friday.
GB and IHC get together this Friday in Watertown to settle the league title, and of course the Lions are favorites. Both will be tough to eliminate, though, in the second season, as GB seeks back-to-back sectional titles.
C West – It took a while for the league pecking order to shake out. But shake out it did, with the senior-heavy Cato-Meridian proving to be the best when it beat Bishop Ludden a couple of weeks ago. The question – can the Blue Devils produce enough points to make the established powers worry?
Ludden gets a lot of credit for shaking off that 56-0 Cazenovia opener and going 4-1 since, with Chris Davis making a lot of the big plays. Here the odd team out is APW, who could beat Jordan-Elbridge and finish 5-2 – but miss the playoffs.
B East – Ho-hum, another unbeaten regular season for Cazenovia. Okay, so it was anything but dull those two weeks that VVS took them to overtime and Oneida led in the fourth quarter, but when pressed, the Lakers came through, and is the most sound all-around team in the class.
How will the rest shape up? It largely depends on the annual Oneida-VVS grudge match on Saturday, which is much more attractive now that Tyler Mautner is healthy again. Chittenango is left to square off with Holland Patent for the fourth and final berth.
B West – Early indications are that Westhill, despite the loss at Homer, might still claim the three-way tie-breaker for first place – and that the Trojans might end up third with a road game. That doesn’t sound fair, but the Trojans did squander that fourth-quarter lead to Marcellus, whose defense continues to dazzle.
In truth, any of the Warriors, Mustangs or Trojans could make a deep playoff run. Skaneateles is set up to bother someone, too, with Conor Herr and the spread – although Oneida sure showed a template on how to stop them on Friday.
A National – The two bands of Warriors from Indian River and Whitesboro have provided separation in this league. IR won head-to-head 14-13 on Sept. 16, has clinched first place and, at 6-0, has simply outscored everybody in its path with its triple rushing threat of Darius Bryant, Cornelius Dukes and Shawn Mitchell.
Nothing else is settled, though, and all four remaining teams – Camden, Watertown, New Hartford and Carthage – could get into the playoffs. In the last weekend, the Cyclones-Blue Devils winner is likely to get in, while the Comets have to try and cool down IR (good luck with that) and the Spartans, well, they’ve got that little neighborhood gathering with Whitesboro. Don’t mention 60-30, though.
A American – Maybe it is the weaker of the two divisions, as the opening weeks displayed (only ESM beat Camden). But it’s provided some nice stories, including that of Cortland, who has put together a four-game win streak and clinched first place by holding off Mexico 30-22 Saturday night.
As it’s lined up, ESM is bound for second place again, while J-D, with two straight wins, made sure its season would continue. The rise of both Mexico and Cortland obscures, to some degree, how far Fulton has fallen – though, given Mike Conners’ off-field family situation, really isn’t that important, is it?
AA-2 – It sure felt like the playoffs when F-M and Corcoran got together. In the end, the Hornets’ balance and defensive ferocity (witness the hit Brent Strickland put on Shakem Buckmon) put the Hornets on top, 21-13, and now it can relax and wait for…two straight games with Liverpool?
And the Cougars can’t relax because a home playoff game is on the line this Friday at Utica Protor, who hasn’t lost at home in 2010. When West Genesee survived its wild 35-33 affair with Henninger, the Wildcats were playoff-bound – and the Black Knights will be spectators, which is a rarity.
AA-1 – We’ve saved the biggest one for last. We could talk about how Liverpool recovered from 0-3 to get into the playoffs and how Rome Free Academy is back in the show, blah blah blah…
You know you want to hear about next Friday’s gathering at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. Something about CBA and Baldwinsville. And they’re both unbeaten. And it’s a rematch of last year’s sectional final. In other words, a regular-season game can’t possibly get bigger, right?
It might all hinge on how CBA’s fast, ferocious defense stands up to Tyler Rouse and the mountains better known as the B’ville offensive line. Either way, how do these teams NOT get too keyed up? Whatever happens, the real season commences after they leave the turf on Friday…