CORTLAND — The Cortland Purple Tigers defense thrived in the cold, windy, rainy weather Wednesday night by forcing a jaw-dropping 11 turnovers en route to a 36-6 victory over the Dryden Lions at Cortland High.
Collin Williams passed for 98 yards and threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. Chris MacDuffee ran for 96 yards and a touchdown. Noah Armstrong had a 44-yard touchdown catch and a 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Owen Humphrey had the lone Dryden touchdown and also had an interception on defense.
The only downside to forcing 11 turnovers was the Purple Tigers’ inability to convert all of those turnovers into points, and some resulted in turnovers of their own.
They committed four turnovers, including two turnovers on downs, one on the game’s opening drive, and two turnovers on possessions generated by turnovers they forced.
But 24 of the Purple Tigers’ points did come off turnovers, including a fumble recovery in the end zone by Riley Sabin for the final touchdown of the game after Jaden Fitch sacked Lions quarterback Brady Rose for a 20-yard loss.
Fitch also had a 49-yard touchdown reception midway through the second quarter to put the Purple Tigers up 12-0 and intercepted a potential touchdown pass down the left sideline to bring an end to the Lions’ last drive of the first half.
“I think the weather helped us a little bit in this situation,” Cortland coach Peter Reif said. “A slick ball affects ball security, and it’s tough to hold on to the football. I was happy that our offense, for the most part, was not able to make many of those kinds of mistakes.”
While Dryden already had two games under their belts before this one, Cortland only has had a few practices and a scrimmage against Jamesville-DeWitt last Friday.
On top of that, they have a number of players who are new to varsity — or simply new to football altogether.
“We haven’t played an actual game in a year and a half, but this has been a crash course of a season thus far,” Reif said. “We’ve had 10 practices before that scrimmage and we didn’t even have a full week of practice before we had to play this game. We’re learning on the fly. I was a little nervous for the first live, full game. We didn’t know how well our players would perform, especially when we’re counting on guys who are a little new to football, but they performed great tonight.”
The Purple Tigers (1-0) host Westhill for their next game at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Lions (0-3) are off until April 9 when they visit Waverly, also at 6 p.m.
Groton 5, Moravia 0
Mattison Lucey led the Indians with two goals and Madison Schooley, Sophia Bell and Sharla Lockwood each had a goal as part of the shutout.
Elisa Allen made six saves in net for the clean sheet.
Groton’s next game is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight against Dryden, weather permitting.
Cincinnatus 1, DeRuyter 0
Janisa Temple’s goal in the 73rd minute off an assist from Kyla Sustad proved to be the difference as the Lions picked up the road victory.
Both goalies played well, with Mia Stirone making three saves for the shutout for Cincy and Kelsey Brown making nine saves, some worthy of the highlight reel.
The Lions outshot the Rockets 11-3 and drew six corner kicks to DeRuyter’s one.
Cincy’s next game is at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Madison. DeRuyter’s next game is at 2 p.m. Saturday when they visit Otselic Valley.