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Section 3 football: Purple Tigers meet all goals

Cortland High football coach Pete Reif was pleased with his team’s performance against visiting Johnson City in a pre-season scrimmage Saturday.

“We told the kids before it started that we wanted to clearly be the better-conditioned and tougher team, and we were,” Reif said. “We also wanted to come out of it healthy, and we did. No one got banged up. So we met all three of our goals.

“I was pleased with the overall effort. Offensively, I thought we adjusted fairly well to a different front than we’re used to blocking. Johnson City goes with a 4-4 defense and our offensive has been spending more time going against our defense, which runs a 3-5,” he added. “The offensive line and backs were able to pick it up fairly quickly. The kids were anxious to be able to hit somebody else after two weeks of practice, and played with a lot of emotion.”

Reif noted that he and his staff wanted to determine who would contribute where, so playing time was spread out fairly well.

And what was the format of the scrimmage?

“Starting at the defense’s 40-yard line, we ran 10 plays on offense and then went on defense for 10 plays, beginning with the first teams and then with the second and third teams, the varsity on on end and the junior varsity on the other,” said Reif, whose team opens the regular season Friday by hosting rival Homer Central on Moiseichik Field in a 7 p.m. non-league start. “Everybody got two rotations, then we went to some game situation plays starting at the defense’s 20, with a 15-minute running clock for each team’s offense, for the last 15 or 20 minutes.

“My defensive coordinators, Dustin Bush and Max Benz, are the JV coaches so we had to alternate things to have them available when our first-team defense was on the field.”

Reif noted that Cortland’s first-team offense scored four touchdowns to Johnson City’s one, while the visitors’ second/third team offense scored one TD and kept the Purple Tiger seconds and thirds scoreless.

Saturday marked the second year in a row that Cortland has faced Johnson City in a two-team event. Reif, who took over as head coach last season, was an assistant during years when the Purple Tigers took part in multi-team scrimmages.

“I like going against one team better,” he said. “There’s no waiting around like there is with multiple teams. The players don’t get cold and there’s no wasted time. We did the same thing last year at Johnson City and it worked out well for both of us.”

Reif noted that both he and Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik, whose team was involved in a multi-team scrimmage at Ithaca High Saturday, planned to put their scrimmage videos on the Hudl website by Saturday night. Each Cortland coach would look at Homer’s video individually, he said, before the CHS staff came together Sunday to discuss what they’d seen.

As for this week leading up to Friday’s game, Reif said that “From Monday through Wednesday we’ll practice from 2 until around 6:30 p.m. On Thursday we’ll end at around 5:30 p.m. because at 6 p.m. we have the traditional team dinner that parents put on before each home game.”

CHS has returned to the Section 3 Class A American Division this season after a year in Class B.