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Phil Blackwell

Stories by Phil

Liverpool swim teams earn Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame honor

Warriors won 113 straight meets, 15 straight sectional titles

Jim Funicello was already a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame. Now, the Liverpool boys swim team he coached to unprecedented heights in parts of three decades gets to join him in that pantheon.

Field hockey Lakers roll through F-M Tournament

Cazenovia shuts out C-NS, F-M as most of lineup returns

Just on the most technical of terms, the Cazenovia field hockey team's 2014 season began on Labor Day weekend. In truth, though, the work had started more than nine months ago, on the old (now removed) Astroturf at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium, where the Lakers' dreams of a third state Class C championship in four years got dashed in a double-overtime defeat to Pierson/Bridgehampton.

J-D girls soccer holds off F-M, 2-1

Ostrander, long-time boys JV soccer coach, takes over for Hornets

Brent Ostrander finally gets his chance to coach high school soccer at the varsity level – on the girls side. For nearly a quarter-century, Ostrander had led the Fayetteville-Manlius junior varsity boys soccer team, molding the players that the varsity team, under Jeff Hammond, would later take to a string of league and Section III titles.

C-NS football roams toward relevance again

String of road games awaits hungry Northstars

Step one of the quest to revive the Cicero-North Syracuse football program involved making the team more competitive has been taken . Now, in 2014, it wants a lot more.

ESM football poised for another Class A title push

Spartans return plenty on offense, break in new QB

A big reason why the East Syracuse-Minoa football team has kept itself among the top Section III Class A programs in the last decade is its ability to absorb the inevitable departure of star players and find new ones to shine in their place.

Football Warriors to depend on many new faces

Liverpool replaces 32 seniors, return top back Jaydakis Scott

At some point, all of the pieces will fit together and the Liverpool football program will reach a Section III Class AA final, ending a drought that dates back to its championship season of 1998 – but will that time come this fall?

Red Rams need work to stay in Class A hunt

J-D football starts life after Baker, Crossett graduate

No longer is the Jamesville-DeWitt football program concerned about reaching the top of the Section III Class A ranks. It now confronts a different challenge – staying there.

F-M football tackles hosts of challenges

Wittig keys Hornets after massive roster turnover

Sequels are inevitably compared to what took place the first time around. Damien Rhodes’ debut season as Fayetteville-Manlius football coach was close to ideal. It included a perfect 7-0 regular season and a high-octane offense that averaged more than 46 points per game. Hornets fans dreamed of a Section III Class A title.

B’ville football wants another championship push

Skipworth, Burchill, Penfield lead Bees into 2014 season

Not far down the road, the sports teams at Baker High School will have the all-weather Field Turf at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, a big change that the Baldwinsville athletic program has wanted for decades. Yet it’s doubtful that, whatever surface they play on, the football Bees will change that much.

WG football moves ahead as ‘quiet’ contender

Wildcats showcase enhanced passing attack without Naesean Howard

Having Naesean Howard around gave the West Genesee football program a higher profile in recent years, and his performance rated a spot on this fall’s Syracuse University squad. But now that Howard is gone, the Wildcats, out to improve on a 3-5 mark in 2013 that included a first-round Section III Class AA playoff ouster by Liverpool, look forward to showing a few more dimensions on the offensive side of the ball.

Football Mustangs outlook hinges on new line, better defense

Marcellus has lots of skill, even battle for QB spot

With the Class B West football landscape changing around them thanks to a fair amount of arrivals and departures, the Marcellus Mustangs stand out for its relative stability.

J-E football poised to make serious title run

Eagles have experience, depth to challenge in C West

Perhaps the time has finally arrived for Jordan-Elbridge football. A combination of veteran leadership on the field, vast improvement in all phases of the game and changes within the Class C West division give the Eagles an opportunity to end its long quest and turn into a league and Section III title contender.

Casullo leads Westhill football into new era

New coach leads Warriors after off-season turmoil

When the Westhill football team’s 2013 season abruptly ended with a 37-0 defeat to Oneida in the first round of the Section III Class B playoffs, no one could have foreseen the sweeping chain of events that would guarantee to make 2014 very different.

Football Lakers look to shine in Class B return

Skaneateles renews rivalries with Marcellus, Westhill, Solvay

To put it mildly, the three seasons that the Skaneateles football team spent in the Section III Class C ranks were eventful. One season was perfect – but ended in accusations of recruiting and Section III throwing them out of the playoffs. The next season was just as good and produced a first sectional title in 20 years. And the third involved a rash of untimely injuries that led to a quick post-season exit.

Ludden depending on youth, versatile players

Gaelic Knights have sophomores, freshmen in key roles

As they do each fall, the Bishop Ludden football team has to play the numbers game in 2014 and hope that the guys that take the field for next Friday night’s season opener against Utica-Notre Dame are still going in mid-October, if not beyond.

Bearcats know early games key 2014 season

Solvay hosts Marcellus, Westhill in first two weeks

Ending a long and frustrating losing streak was nice for the Solvay football team. Taking those small steps and turning them into giant leaps back toward prominence would be much nicer.

Cazenovia football looks for another title run

Lakers need to replace Hopsicker, Vogl, Westfall, Nourse

Perhaps more than any other high school football program in Central New York, the Cazenovia Lakers have weathered the sport’s changes, its constant arrivals and departures, and have remained a powerful force. And in 2014, the Lakers’ resilience will get tested once more.

Youthful Bears to lean on athleticism in 2014

Position battles everywhere; Chittenango opens with three straight on road

When a football team goes 4-4, as the Chittenango Bears did in 2013, the general consensus is that a lot of improvement is needed, but not a complete overhaul. Yet the Bears, who missed out on a Section III Class B playoff berth despite that break-even mark, might face that sober reality because, of the 32 players on the varsity roster, just three were regulars on the field a season ago.

Solvay announces fall sports schedule

Football Bearcats host rivals Marcellus, Westhill in first two weeks

Solvay High School’s 2014 fall sports schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Bishop Ludden releases fall sports schedule

Gaelic Knights football opens against Utica-Notre Dame

Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School’s 2014 fall sports schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Bishop Grimes releases fall sports schedule

Football Cobras to open Sept. 7 at Dome against NY Mills

Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School’s 2014 fall sports schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Chittenango HS announces fall sports schedule

Bears football opens with three straight road games

Chittenango High School’s 2014 fall sports schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

C-NS announces fall sports schedule

New turf field debuts Oct. 3 with football game against Henninger

Everyone in the Cicero-North Syracuse athletic program is eagerly awaiting the debut of its new Field Turf at Bragman Stadium, which will take place in the middle of the fall season, marked by an Oct. 3 home football game against Henninger. Here is the 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Liverpool announces fall sports schedule

Football Warriors play four of last five games at home

Liverpool High School’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

F-M announces fall sports schedule

Football Hornets open against C-NS Sept. 6 at Carrier Dome

Fayetteville-Manlius High School’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

J-D announces fall sports schedule

Girls soccer Red Rams go after sixth straight sectional title

Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

ESM releases fall sports schedule

Spartans football to play Vestal at Carrier Dome Sept. 5

East Syracuse-Minoa High School’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

CBA releases fall sports schedule

Defending AA football champs open with Henninger Sept. 5

Christian Brothers Academy’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Baldwinsville announces fall sports schedule

Girls volleyball Bees to defend state Class AA title

Among the many stories going into the Baldwinsville fall sports season is seeing whether the girls volleyball team can earn another state Class AA championship after taking the title for the second time a year ago in Glens Falls. Here is the fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Skaneateles HS announces fall sports schedule

Football returns to Class B, will face Marcellus Sept. 12

Among the many stories going into the Skaneateles High School fall sports season is the football team’s return to the Class B ranks after three years in Class C, and the renewal of rivalries with the likes of Marcellus, Westhill and Solvay. Here is the varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

West Genesee announces fall sports schedule

Football Wildcats to start Sept. 5 against Central Square

West Genesee High School’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Marcellus HS announces fall sports schedule

Girls, boys soccer moves up to Class A, OHSL Freedom division

Marcellus High School’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Jordan-Elbridge releases fall sports schedule

Eagles football to open in Carrier Dome Sept. 7

Jordan-Elbridge High School’s 2014 fall sports schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Westhill HS releases fall sports schedule

Football Warriors to open at Carrier Dome Sept. 6

Westhill High School’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Cazenovia HS announces fall sports schedule

Football Lakers open at home Sept. 6 against Camden

Cazenovia High School’s 2014 fall sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Gilroy takes second at NYS Amateur Championships

F-M freshman makes impact in statewide competition

For Kyle Gilroy, it quickly became apparent that winning the boys junior division of the New York State Boys and Girls Amateur Championship was out of the question.

Nizmais third at NYS Amateur Championship

B'ville golf star contends for top honors in Rochester

Just before the high school boys golf season gets underway, Baldwinsville’s Christian Nizamis culminated a summer of amateur competition with a strong third-place finish in the junior division of this week’s New York State Boys and Girls Amateur Championship.

Tease photo

North Syracuse side goes 4-1 in Babe Ruth regionals

Semifinal defeat thwarts bid at reaching 13-15 World Series

For a long while, it looked like North Syracuse’s 15-and-under All-Star baseball team would make a successful run through last week’s13-15 Babe Ruth Middle Atlantic Regional Tournament in Niskayuna, near Albany.

Tease photo

B’ville Little League softball team reaches milestones

"Fire Bees" claim District 8, NY State Senior championships

Little was expected of Baldwinsville Little League’s 14-16 softball team in mid-July when it entered the post-season phase of its spring and summer season – which only made the ultimate result that much more sweet.

Hoops Festival draws large pool of local talent

ESM's McDuffie part of Central boys' second-place effort

With help from East Syracuse-Minoa’s Jah-meer McDuffie, the Central boys basketball team finished second at the Aug. 1-3 Summer Hoops Festival in Johnson City, near Binghamton. But the Central girls side, despite the presence of seven local basketball stars, four of them from 2014 state Class A finalist Jamesville-DeWitt, only managed a single victory in four tries.

Local stars compete in Summer Hoops Festival

Roland, Rauch help Central team finish second

When the Empire State Games faded into history, members of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York did not want to leave a void in statewide summer competition. Thus, the Summer Hoops Festival was born, and from Aug. 1-3 many of the top basketball players in the state, representing nine different regional teams, made their way to Johnson City, near Binghamton, to vie for BACNY bragging rights.

Evans, Sullivan help Central team finish second

C-NS, Liverpool hoops stars part of Summer Hoops Festival

Normally rivals, Cicero-North Syracuse’s Connor Evans and Liverpool’s Tyler Sullivan were working together during the first weekend in August, helping the Central Region team to a second-place finish in the Summer Hoops Festival at Johnson City, near Binghamton.

Felibert's fast finish leads to Credit Union Classic title

Venezuelan posts 65 for three-shot win at Drumlins

In five years and more than 40 attempts, Veronica Silibert had never tasted victory on the Symetra Tour. But all of that changed in the Credit Union Classic at Drumlins Country Club's East Course, where Silibert moved into contention right from the start and then saved her best golf for the closing stretch to earn a three-stroke victory, $15,000 and better odds to reach the LPGA Tour in 2015.

Race for Credit Union Classic title remains tight

Two tied, four others one back heading into final round

Little about the 19th annual Symetra Tour Credit Union Classic remains resolved with 18 holes to play. A tight leaderboard only got tighter during Saturday's second round at Drumlins Country Club's East course, leaving American Rachel Rohanna and Venezuelan Veronica Filibert tied for the lead and four others just one shot back.,

Aussie rookie races to Symetra lead at Drumlins

Davies-Graham, with 65, leads Stoelting by one shot

Having played just four times on the Symetra Tour in 2014, Australian native Ellen Davies-Graham came into the Credit Union Classic lagging far back in 130th place on the money list. That could change quickly, though, especially after Davies-Graham posted a six-under-par 65 on Drumlins Country Club's East course in Friday's opening round to seize a one-shot lead over Jackie Stoelting.

Crain, Hunt win titles at Fay-Man Day of Races

It only figured that heavy rains fell just hours before they set off on Sunday for the third annual Fay-Man Day of Races, held at Fayetteville-Manlius High School.

Cannizzaro brothers reunite after lacrosse transfer

Connor joins Sean at Denver, leaving Maryland behind

At least for one year, Sean and Connor Cannizzaro, two of the greatest players in Cazenovia lacrosse history, will get to play on the same field again.

Symetra Tour returns to Drumlins this weekend

Credit Union Classic draws top women's golfers looking for LPGA cards

Nearly two decades old, the Symetra Tour’s Credit Union Classic has turned into a late-summer fixture on the Central New York golf calendar. And once again, the future stars of women’s golf are heading to Drumlins Country Club’s East course this weekend, battling for $100,000 in prize money and improving their odds of being one of the 10 players that, at season’s end, will earn an LPGA Tour card.

Leveille leads U.S. national lacrosse team

Skaneateles resident competes in FIL World Championships

Back in 2010, when the United States National Team went to Manchester, England and won the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship, Kevin Leveille was just an alternate, soaking in the scene, but not an integral figure.

Pepper Tournament returns to West Genesee

Girls, boys tournaments celebrates game of lacrosse

Amid the usual crowded lineup of lacrosse tournaments that dot the summer landscape, there’s West Genesee’s annual two-day festival that honors the game and its spirit.

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