September 3, 2012
A simple question, but one not asked too much at the college or pro levels....go for one, or two?
So was West Genesee's dilemma Sunday in the Carrier Dome against Clarence in the Kickoff Classic. Down 19 at one point in the third quarter, the Wildcats roared back and were within a single point, 34-33, after Howard notched his fourth touchdown with 1:21 left.
Lots of Wildcat fans expected the reigning Class AA sectional champs to go for two, just like they had done in the final seconds to beat Baldwinsville in the 39-38, fifth-down game last September. Howard had 255 yards by this points, so why not run him once more?
But Joe Corley decided on an extra-point kick this time, and Brett Colvin rammed it off the right post, allowing Clarence to hang on and win. Let the second-guessing commence.
Then again, it's easy to make a decision when it isn't your decision to make. And it's something faced mostly by high school coaches now. Since the colleges went to overtime in the late 1990s, few coaches dare risk a tie late in regulation. True, the NFL brought in the two-point try in 1994, but that place is even more risk-averse because, after all, jobs and a bit of money are on the line.
This is part of what makes high-school football, because such risks are almost welcome. Which was why it was unusual to see West Genny opt for one, although, of course, it's never a guarantee either way, which is why there isn't a right or wrong answer to the whole thing.
That game, terrific as it was, brought a crashing climax to the long opening football weekend. It was part of a Dome slate where Tully fended off Syracuse ITC, Auburn put up 50 points on Riverside and Marcellus got run over by 47 first-half points from Maine-Endwell, who might have as good a chance at state honors in Class B this fall as it did winning it all in Class A in 2011.
It also included, on Saturday, Henninger's wild, back-and-forth win over Liverpool and impressive starts from the likes of Cazenovia, who hammered VVS, and two defending sectional champs as Herkimer roared past Holland Patent 53-13 and Westmoreland handled Bishop Grimes 55-19.
Yes, some other fall sports started, too, soccer in particular. There was the Marcellus girls starting another title run with a tournament win in Oswego, West Genesee's girls beating Westhill and Skaneateles and strong starts by the Liverpool and C-NS boys.
Also, both of Baldwinsville's soccer teams started, and it's worth noting that the boys Bees, winners of five sectional titles in a row, are facing a lot of roster turnover, including finding a successor to super-goalie Alex Bono, who's already starting at SU. The boys Bees went 1-1 in the Clarence Tournament, but in that same venue B'ville's girls, who have Emma Firenze back, won both games.
A hint of field hockey, too, with Weedsport surviving a marathon with Port Byron to win the Cayuga County Tournament. They've been playing a lot of tennis and golf, too, starting with Baldwinsville's win in the Syracuse Tournament - and promptly falling to F-M, who beat the Bees and Oswego.
And to think, most of the teams in field hockey, soccer, volleyball and cross country haven't really fired up yet. That will change soon enough.