Jul 15, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Summer is in full gear – but just a month from now, thoughts will turn to autumn, and to the latest edition of high school football in Central New York.
It will do so with plenty of alterations from 2013, and each of the local sides, from Class AA to C, has faced some sort of change in the off-season.
For West Genesee, who got eliminated from the Section III Class AA sectional tournament in the opening round by Liverpool in 2013, life moves on without Nasean Howard, the star tailback who signed with Syracuse University and is listed as a strong safety for the Orange.
As it does every two years, the two Class AA divisions realign. WG is still part of the AA-1 division, as is defending sectional champion CBA, Central Square and Corcoran, but Liverpool and Rome Free Academy join the league, as does Nottingham, back up after some time spent in Class A.
This gives the Wildcats two marquee match-ups to close the 2014 regular season, as it faces CBA Oct. 10 at Alibrandi Stadium (a game televised by Time Warner Cable Sports) and gets a chance at payback against Liverpool on Oct. 17. The lone non-league game is also a big one, with WG taking on Baldwinsville Sept. 12 at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.
Among the local sides in the Class B West division, Westhill underwent the biggest off-season upheaval, which began with some tragedy late in March with the passing of senior quarterback Reed Derrenbacker.
Also, with the departure of Gary Griffo, the Warriors needed a new head coach – and after an extended process, Jamie Casullo got the nod. Casullo, a Cicero-North Syracuse graduate, previously served seven years as an assistant coach at the University at Albany.
Casullo comes from a coaching family – his brother serves in the same capacity at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and his father, Bob, was an assistant at SU.
For his coaching debut, Casullo will be on a big stage – the Carrier Dome. As part of the annual Kickoff Classic, Westhill will face Fonda-Fultonville (Section V) on Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. before heading into Class B West play.
Solvay and Marcellus will square off for the Tom Anthony Memorial Cup in their Sept. 5 opener. The other big story in Class B West is the return of Skaneateles, who spent three years in the Class C ranks, claiming a sectional title in 2012 along the way.
The Lakers renew its rivalry with Marcellus Sept. 12 and, six days later, play Westhill in front of the Time Warner Cable Sports cameras before a Sept. 26 clash with Solvay. The Mustangs look to improve upon its 2013 run to the sectional semifinals, where it lost to eventual sectional champion Cazenovia.
Jordan-Elbridge, like Westhill, opens in the Dome as part of the Kickoff Classic, facing Thousand Islands Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. The Eagles, in its second season under the direction of head coach Tim Hawkins, look to improve on last fall’s 4-4 mark.
Hawkins came to J-E after serving as an assist to Mike Rogers at Bishop Ludden. After going 3-5 last fall, the Gaelic Knights open Sept. 5 against Utica-Notre Dame and face J-E three weeks later. Ludden and J-E are still part of Class C West, joined by newcomer Tully, along with Canastota, Port Byron/Union Springs and Syracuse’s Institute of Technology Central.