September 8, 2012
All right, initial impressions are over, introductions have been made.
The second Friday night of Section III football in 2012 was spent making the cliched big improvement from first to second week. However, it was also a chance for us to see which teams, other than the powerhouses everybody knows about, are getting our attention.
It's easy to tell who that is in Class AA. They wear maroon, whether it's on Syracuse's South Side or further west, with the team called the Maroons.
Okay, folks, who had Auburn at 2-0? Not you, Dave Moskov, anyone else? Well, not only is Auburn unbeaten, they're potent, to the tune of 94 points in two weeks, including 44 against Central Square as Julian Mizro scored three times.
Corcoran's 2-0 mark is hard-earned, but legitimate. After the Cougars' comeback at Utica Proctor, it came back home and fought off Rome Free Academy 18-13 and seems to have found a reliable back in Jared Seawright.
As a whole, city football is smiling as Corcoran gets set to face Henninger, an admirable 1-1 after nearly winning at Baldwinsville. You also had Fowler beating Oswego and, most impressively, Nottingham announcing its status as a Class A contender by going to ESM and using all kinds of big plays to beat the defending Class A champs 35-15. Remember the names Derrick Gore and Marty Clanton, They are terrific, dynamic runners for the hungry Bulldogs.
ESM now has two threats to its crown in the American division, as J-D scored its most impressive win in years by holding off Cazenovia 22-20. The Red Rams meet the Spartans next Friday, eager to avenge years of beatdowns at ESM's expense.
Is the National division already shaping up as a two-team fight? Whitesboro and Watertown think so, and both are 2-0 as the Warriors shut down Carthage 22-6 and the Cyclones dropped 57 on Fulton, giving Watertown 103 points in two games.
J-D needed that win more than Cazenovia did. The Lakers would much rather win next week, the long-awaited rematch with Oneida. But Caz getting revenge for that bitter Class B semifinal defeat in 2011 might prove difficult as the Indians are 2-0 and stomped all over Camden with 48 first-half points. Chittenango's romp at South Jefferson further illustrated the West division notion that everyone, Homer included, is chasing the Bears for the scraps.
And so much for Skaneateles having a letdown from last fall's dramas. The Lakers' dismantling of Jordan-Elbridge signals that the Lakers might be just as potent, equally capable of pounding away with Max Weiss or having Conor Herr air it out. Note too, in Class C, the strong 2-0 starts offered by defending champ Herkimer and Sherburne-Earlville, while Canastota got a key C South division win at Mount Markham.
Tully probably took a lot of satisfaction from beating one of its most famous alums, Solomon Bliss, and his Onondaga charges 27-6, while in other rivalry news Liverpool kept the Star Wars Cup from C-NS, mostly because Jeff Edwards ran wild for 251 yards, and Westhill edged Marcellus 13-12 when the Mustangs went for two in the final minute and didn't convert.
Just as with West Genesee against Clarence in the Kickoff Classic, the Mustangs' defeat proves that there's no guarantee of anything, whether going for one or two when your team is down by a point. Something to remember when you're publicly flailing a coach for his decision-making skills.
The night's best stories, though, were in other places. Like in Solvay, where the Bearcats lost to Cortland, but the school dedicated the turf at 'The Pit' as Al Merola Field, the only appropriate and fitting tribute for a coach and man who was Solvay football for more than 30 years.
And there was Phoenix, where the emotional Firebirds played its first home game, against Weedsport, since the death of Ridge Barden nearly 11 months ago. Whatever team you root for in Section III, everyone wants to see the Firebirds rise again, and whenever they do get that first win, the smiles and satisfaction might prove greater than a state championship, all for RIdge.