September 18, 2014
Hungry Bearcats next Trojans test
There will be a contrast in the two teams taking George Butts Field for Friday night’s high school football game.
The host Trojans from Homer Central are off to a 2-0 on the season while averaging 63.5 points per game coming into the Section 3 Class B West Division clash on Youth Football Night.
Their opponent, the Solvay Bearcats, are a frustrated 0-2 after tough losses to Marcellus (38-28) and Westhill (19-14).
“We’ve had two tough games to start this season,” Solvay coach Matt Shutts said. “We have just four seniors who are two-way starters. The rest of the guys are really inexperienced. Other than those seniors, most of our starters are juniors or sophomores.
“We were in position to win both games, but we made some mistakes that young teams make and it cost us in those games,” he added.
“Solvay is hungry to win a football game,” Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “They actually led both their games in the second half. They would like nothing more than to get that first win of the season against Homer.
“They have a big line,” he continued. “They will try to wear us down with that size. They do have a good quarterback and some good running backs behind that big line.”
That Bearcat offensive line is not only big, but they are good skill wise. Sophomore center Brett Pidkaminy is the little guy at 5-foot-7, 195 pounds but the other guys are going to be tougher to move.
The left side has sophomore Joe Hook (6-1, 320) at guard and junior Joe Miczan (5-10, 283) at tackle while the offense follows the lead of the right side. Junior Jacob Hook (6-5, 360) is the guard and senior John Dippold (6-0, 240) is the tackle. The final member of the offensive line is 6-2, 185-pound senior tight end Sam Okhman.
The veer, two-back, offense is run by senior quarterback Brandon Franklin (5-7,165) with senior Jeff Honsinger (5-9, 185) and junior Garrett Lewis (5-5, 140) the two running backs. Honsinger is the third best running back in the B West right now with 234 yards on 33 carries. Franklin has rushed the ball 25 times for 133 yards while completing 3-of-7 passing attempts for 128 yards. The Bearcat starting receivers are juniors Brandon Bamba (5-6, 155) and Michael Yaizzo (5-8, 145).
“One thing we will need to do is contain Franklin,” Podsiedlik said. “He’s not big, but he can hide behind that big line and is a threat to run or pass. They also use Colin Lucio at quarterback and will move Franklin into a tailback spot. Lucio is more of a passing quarterback.”
Lucio has completed just one of seven passing attempts.
Defensively, Solvay uses a 4-3 look with some 4-2 as a change of pace. Dippold, Hook and Okhman form that front line with sophomore Michael Cimino (6-2, 220). The linebackers are Franklin, Honsinger and senior Nick Perry (5-8, 170). The secondary has Yaizzo and junior Dustin Harris at cornerback with Lee and sophomore Jacob Dippold at the safeties.
Homer has two running backs in the top five of the league stats.
Senior tailback Alec Bush leads the league in yards gained (373) and touchdowns (7) on just 24 carries. Classmate Gage Root is fifth with 133 yards on eight carries for three touchdowns from the fullback position. The Trojans have junior Ryan Wainwright with 97 yards on 13 carries, junior Beck Lundeen (5 carries-92 yards, 3 touchdowns) along with handful of other guys who have carried the pigskin in the two blowouts.
Unfortunately, Homer will be without Wainwright who dislocated his knee in a non-football related activity and is still undergoing evaluation.
“Ryan has not only been stepping up on offense, but he is been a key in our secondary so he will be missed,” Podsiedlik said. “He gives up some good depth and that does hurt us with him being out.”
While the running game has amassed (908 yards, senior quarterback Drew Cottrell is been solid. Cottrell has run the ball four times for 51 yards in key situations while completing 7-for-9 passing attempts for 142 yards and one touchdown. Senior Jake Hayes has three receptions for 61 yards while senior Jayden Gavidia has caught two passes for 55 yards. One catch was for 45 yards and a touchdown against Cortland.
While the offense has been solid through two games, the Homer defensive unit has allowed just two touchdowns all season, both of those coming in the fourth quarter. Root has been a key component of that from his down lineman position, the entire defense has been stepping it up.
As for the keys to the game, Shutts was very straight-forward on what Solvay needs to do.
“Homer is physical and they come right at you on offense and defense,” Shutts said. “We know we need to find a way to slow them down. That will be a very hard task with a young team.”
“While Solvay will try to wear us down, we need to do the same thing against them,” Podsiedlik countered. “We will run right at them. We need to be patient. If we are, I think we can wear them down.”
Podsiedlik know that his kickoff game still needs some work. There are still too many kickoffs just missing the correct placement or going out of bounds.
“We are certainly hustling when the ball is in play, but we need to be more consistent,” Podsiedlik said. “We have kicked off 20 times so far and we just need to get better at our directional kicking game. We’ve been working hard on that this week.”
TROJAN TIDBITS: The Blue Collar Players of the week are Anthony Basile (line) and Dean Riley (non-line). The Game Captain will be Matt Suits…The Trojans hold a 15-5-1 record in the series against Solvay…It is Youth Football Night and as part of the activities prior to the game was the annual clinic the Trojan varsity players do for the Homer Youth Football kids. The clinic was held Tuesday and was successful as usual. The future Trojans will form part of the tunnel for the varsity players to run through during Friday’s pre-game introductions.
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