On a rainy, cool Moiseichik Field, the Cortland High varsity football team closed out the 2019 season.
Tyler Pelton carried the ball 21 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns to lead Camden to a 27-14 victory over the Purple Tigers in a Section 3 crossover game. Both teams finish the season with 2-6 records.
Cortland opened with a solid nine play drive before a fumble inside the Camden five-yard line was recovered by the Blue Devils at their own one. Camden responded with its own nine play drive. A 35 yard run by Michael Clark got the Blue Devils to the Cortland 43 and out of trouble. Six plays later, Pelton raced 13 yards for a 7-0 Blue Devil lead with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
“We did move the ball right away down the field,” Cortland coach Pete Reif said. “The kids were fired up and ready to play, then something bad happened. When something bad happens, things begin to fall apart. We just had trouble overcoming that.”
The Purple Tigers went three plays and punted on their next possession, but got the ball right back when Marcus Hines intercepted a Eric Mitchell pass at the Cortland 26-yard line.
Cortland was unable to mount a drive and, after another punt, Camden marched 48 yards in seven plays. Pelton capped the drive with an 18 yard dash to the end zone and the Blue Devils led 14-0 with 8:21 left in the second quarter.
Cortland moved the ball into Camden territory, but the drive stalled at the Blue Devils 38-yard line. After the two teams traded penalities and a one yard loss, Camden went up 20-0 with 4:20 left in the first half. The Blue Devils used a little trickery with an option pass from Mason Gerber to Kyle Kirk. The 63 yard toss and catch put Camden up by three scores with 4:20 left in the half.
Cortland was on the move until a third-down fumble stopped the drive at the 9-yard-line with a fumble, Camden recovered the ball and ran out the clock for a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Blue Devils fumbled the ball on their first possession of the second half and Brycen Palmer recovered for the Purple Tigers, but they couldn’t do anything. Both teams would punt the ball away before Cortland finally put a scoring drive together.
Purple Tiger quarterback Collin Williams was injured on a third-down run for a first down and left the game. Three plays later, Michael Guido handed the ball off to Hines who dashed 43 yards. Cortland trailed 20-6 after the failed 2-point conversion run with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
“We lost a couple of starters last week and couple more this week,” Reif said. “We lost one starter in the first quarter and Collin in the third quarter. We started the game with 19 healthy guys and finished with 17. The guys continued to play hard ’til the end.”
As the game moved into the fourth quarter, Camden used an eight play drive to build a 27-6 advantage. Clark powered into the end zone from four yards out with 7:28 remaining in the game.
Cortland put an eight play scoring drive together despite fumbling the ball twice and recovering it to keep the drive alive. Hines capped the drive with a 10 yard run and he ran the 2-point conversion with 2:45 remaining as Cortland trailed 27-14.
Hines made his second interception of the game to give the ball back to the Purple Tigers with 2:05 remaining. Cortland drove to the Camden 27 as time ran out.
Clark added 72 yards on five carries as the team gained 248 yards on the ground to go with 92 yards in the air.
Cortland rushed for 229 yards on 49 carries with Hines leading the way with 18 carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Williams completed four-of-eight passing attempts for 31 yards before his injury. Adam Minnard (14 yards), Kalen Thorhauer (10), Jaden Fitch (8) and Chris MacDuffie (1) were the recipients.
Cortland has just five seniors, so there are 20 potential returnees for the 2020 season.
“2020 actually starts tomorrow with individual meetings with the underclassmen,” Reif said. “We have a lot of guys coming back. If they are willing to put in the work, they can be good next year. We can’t just wait to show up next fall and think we are ready, that’s not good enough, that’s just not going to work.We play a lot of good teams with good traditions.We want to become that. If we put in the work, we will be fine. If the kids believe in that, things will change.”
Cortland modified football has undefeated season
The Cortland modified football team defeated Oswego 51-20 Tuesday night to finish the season unbeaten with a 7-0 record. 46 players competed on the 7/8/9 modified football team. These young Tigers played against a league consisting of teams from Oswego, Westhill, Mexico, Phoenix and Skaneateles.
“I’m proud of our kids and their accomplishments on the field this season,” Cortland modified coach Tom Murphy said. “We had our share of adversity and grew tremendously as a team since Sept. 3rd. We were fortunate to have a lot of good players and leaders on this team who responded well to the rigor and demands we placed on them. We were also fortunate to have a committed staff who gave a lot of their time to serve our players and this football program.”