Dylan Yacavone was slated to be out two weeks with a leg injury, but the senior quarterback had the determination to be on George Butts Field when his Homer teammates hosted Cortland High Friday night for the 41st meeting for the Home-Cort Jug and the Trojans’ Homecoming contest.
Yacavone did start and he scored one touchdown while throwing a pair of touchdown passes as Homer won for the eighth straight time in the series with a 48-0 shutout of the Purple Tigers. Homer improves to 3-2 in Section 3 B West Division and overall play. Cortland falls to 1-4 in the division and overall. Homer leads the Home-Cort Jug series 25-15-1 all-time.
“First of all I need to thank Dr. (Dave) Boyland for helping me get back with all my PT (physical therapy) work,” Yacavone said. “He did a great job. It (the leg) feels great and stronger than ever.
“Our O-line played fantastic tonight,” he continued. “They opened holes for the running backs which, in turn, helped our passing game. Connor Matthews is an absolute animal. He catches everything within 10 yards of him.”
Yacavone completed six of nine passing attempts for 126 yards and two touchdowns before Zach Apker came on in the fourth quarter and completed his one pass to Colin Perks for 23 yards and his first varsity touchdown toss. Yacavone also ran for one touchdown.
Matthews caught two passes for 46 yards and one touchdown. Colin Perks had two catches for 43 yards and he caught Apker’s scoring toss. Logan Peck made two catches for 31 yards and a touchdown with Matt McUmber having one reception for 29 yards.
On the ground, Homer rushed for 278 yards and four touchdowns with Andrew Van Patten leading the charge with 168 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. Logan Peck netted 87 yards on nine carries.
“A solid team win,” Home coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “The kids were focused. The communication with the kids who are really getting it to the kids who aren’t quite there yet was insanely good tonight. The guys were talking to each other in the game and in practice better. We were sound on both sides of the ball.”
The tone was set on the opening kickoff when Cortland muffed the ball and Apker pounced on it for Homer at the Cortland 30-yard line. Eight plays later, Van Patten ran four yards for the touchdown. The extra point kick by Matthews was good and the Trojans led 7-0 with 7:34 left in the first quarter.
Cortland got a drive going on its first real possession. Junior quarterback Collin Williams used his legs and arm to get the Purple Tigers to the Homer 23-yard line, but a fumble and 15 yard loss back to the Trojan 38 stopped Cortland this time. In all, Cortland put the ball on the ground 11 times in the game and lost the ball four times. Williams completed 10 of 20 passes for 109 yards and one interception by Matthews in the fourth quarter on the Purple Tigers’ final drive. Jaden Fitch was the leading receiver for Cortland with seven catches for 91 yards. Cortland gained just 25 yards on the ground.
“We just couldn’t do anything right tonight,” Cortland head coach Pete Reif said. “We had no luck and had three two-way starters go down in the first half. Some of it was undisciplined play and we’ve got to fix that or it will happen every week.”
Those injuries included starting center and defensive end Tyler Gavitt on the second play of the game. Fullback-defensive end Kaleb Thorhauer and wide receiver-safety Michael Guido were the other two injured players.
“A lot of the balls on the turf because of snaps were because of the injury to our center,” Reif said. We had to bring in another center and reshuffle the offensive line on a team that does not have a lot of depth.”
Homer would lead 7-0 after the first quarter, but got in the scoring column on the first play of the second quarter when Yacavone rolled to his left and kept on going for a 14 yard touchdown run and a 13-0 lead after the extra point kick was blocked.
The Trojans scored 27 points in the second quarter for a 34-0 halftime advantage. Yacavone tossed a 16-yard scoring pass to Logan Peck and, after Nick Lines recovered a Cortland fumble at midfield, Yacavone found Matthews on the sideline in the end zone, Matthew pulled down the pass leaping, but keeping his feet inbounds for the 28-0 cushion with 2:14 left in the half. After a fumble recovery by Derek Fickett, Van Patten scored on a one yard plunge for the 34-0 cushion.
Homer fumbled the ball to start the second half with Austin Burdick recovering the pigskin. The Trojan defense held and Van Patten broke loose on a 76-yard run to give the Trojans a 41-0 lead with 3:50 left in the third quarter.
The final Trojan touchdown came with 6:53 to go. Apker found Perks behind the defense for the 23 yard pitch and catch.
Cortland was driving on its final possession. After a 33-yard Williams to Fitch pass reached the Homer 27, Matthews picked off Williams on the next play at the Homer five yard line with 37 seconds remaining. Yacavone took a knee and the game was over.
Homer will return to B West Division action next Friday with South Jefferson. Kickoff is 7 p.m. on George Butts Field. Cortland has played four of its first five games on the road. The Purple Tigers return to Moiseichik Field to host Syracuse Tech Central at 6:30 p.m.