Oct 09, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
No, it wasn’t a league game, and it would not have any bearing on where the Canastota football team might end up when the Section III Class C playoffs get underway.
Yet the Raiders’ 28-14 victory last Friday night at Chittenango carried as much satisfaction as any post-season tilt — to the effect that the players celebrated by dumping a bucket of water on head coach Eric Van Slyke, a move usually reserved for championships.
Much of that had to do with geographic proximity. The villages of Canastota and Chittenango neighbor each other, the school separated by just a small distance on Route 5.
To that end, they try to get together in as many sports as possible, despite the fact that Canastota is Class C and Chittenango is Class A.
When a space on the football schedule opened up in 2007, the Raiders and Bears eagerly seized on it and scheduled a game with each other, bringing a huge crowd to Chittenango’s modern Field Turf facility to see what would transpire.
Hungry to topple its neighbors and large-school rival, Canastota bolted to a 14-0 lead before the first quarter was done.
John Coonrod finished off one drive with a two-yard plunge into the end zone, and Eric Cerio doubled the margin by going 18 yards for a touchdown of his own.
Chittenango began to answer in the second period. Quarterback Jon Stevens, fresh off setting a school record with six TD passes in a double-overtime win over Jamesville-DeWitt one week earlier, resumed his aerial show by going 35 yards to Andy Moth for the Bears’ first points of the night, and it remained 14-7 at the break.
Again, in the third quarter, both teams went to their specialty — Canastota to the ground game, Chittenango to the aerial attack.
Cerio, who would rush for 101 yards on this night, went 10 yards for his second TD to make it 21-7, only to see the Bears deliver a quick answer when Stevens went deep and found Moth again, this time going 68 yards for the touchdown.
Gradually, the Bears wore down in the face of Canastota’s relentless defensive pressure. James Coonrod caused, by far, the most disruption, earning 13 tackles, including a sack, and also getting a crucial fumble recovery.
Led by Coonrod, the Raiders shut down Chittenango in the fourth quarter and set up a clinching scoring drive, quarterback Kody Parkhurst going the final four yards for the TD.
Canastota, likely assured of a Section III Class C playoff berth, closes the regular season Saturday at 7 p.m., when 0-6 Tully visits Schimdt-Borgognoni Field for the Raiders’ Homecoming game.
Chittenango must finish its regular season Friday at 7 p.m. at Mexico (4-2), who is assured of a Section III Class A playoff berth.
To get its own bid, the Bears must win here, then hope Fowler loses to Cortland. This is because the Falcons, tied for fourth with the Bears and Purple Tigers in the Class A American division, beat Chittenango 18-13 in their head-to-head meeting Sept. 7, while Chittenango beat Cortland 15-8 in the Aug. 31 opener and would hold that tie-breaker as a result.