Archive for September, 2007

Norwich football notes

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
Patrick Newell

We must take into consideration the level of competition, but statistically speaking, no football team in Chenango County has allowed more yards than Norwich. At 293 yards per game, the Tornado are giving up 19 yards more per game than Sherburne-Earlville. So what is the secret to a 2-0 start for Norwich? How about the significant improvement of a running game that is chewing up large amounts of clock and total yards. The 325 yards per game average Norwich is chalking up through two games is far and away the best in the area. Last season Norwich averaged 208 yards rushing per game, and it had five games where it was under the 200-yard mark. Looking at Norwich’s offensive history in the John Pluta era, a telling statistic in the success or failure of the offense is not the running game, but actually the number of passes attempted. For instance, last year Norwich attempted 20 total passes in its four wins. In the five losses: Thirty-seven attempts. This season, through two victories, senior quarterback Nate Foote has just four total pass attempts. He is 3-for-4, by the way, for 70 yards and a touchdown. That is cold-hard efficiency in the passing game. One other fact worth noting: Senior running back Chris Mattingly is moving toward some elite company. He entered the season with 1,294 career rushing yards, and he’s off to the best start of his three-year varsity career with back-to-back 100-yard days. With 329 yards through two games, he is on pace to easily surpass 2,000 career rushing yards.

First timer

Sunday, September 9th, 2007
Tyler Murphy

The blur of motion and color as the crowds pace by with the sounds of screaming kids, laughter and song. I never have been one for local events but I do enjoy the grassroot feeling of Colorscape. This last year with the Evening Sun in particular has opened my community palette.

When I was growing up in Oxford I remember very few trips to such things. My parents always seemed too busy putting food on the table to bother with such leisure and my siblings and I never knew what we were missing.
In retrospect I’d advise similarly obligated parents to find the time.

In the 13 years since it’s creation this will mark only the second Colorscape I have ever been too. I have also been to one Blues Festival (loved it) and the County Fair a half dozen times. I have yet to participate in a Gus Macker Tournament but did go to my first this last year.

These are just a few of the multitude of first time experiences I’ve had the blessing of encountering.

Although a part of me does feel ashamed and ignorant for not knowing more about these things, most people act like I’m a nut when I profess my lack of community knowledge. That reaction really hasn’t done much to help me alter that apparent failing. I’m not exactly sure how they would expect me to learn.

I engaged them now because I appreciate their design of stimulating the local economy, creating a formality with our neighbors, the exchange of ideas and the social interactions.

Community and family are so very important and these days they appear more threatened than ever. I’m thankful for events such as Colorscape and feel personally relieved when they are a great success.

So sit yourself down and find the time to venture into a new experience if you haven’t already.

Live at Colorscape

Saturday, September 8th, 2007
Michael McGuire

It’s hot here at Colorscape, but everything else – the music, art, food and folks – is still cool.

Sorry. That was a cheesy line, but there’s a lot going on here and it’s hard to concentrate, so I’m giving you the best I got.

But no amount of handmade crafts, crazy Irish folk singers or flavored coffee – what’s currently occupying most of my attention – will keep The Evening Sun will from providing live updates and web logs from Chenango County’s biggest festival.

Not sure if the weather will hold up, but no one here seems to be worried about it.

Trojans football here to stay

Thursday, September 6th, 2007
Patrick Newell

I must admit, I wondered aloud more than one time when and if Greene’s football team would turn the corner. That was three years ago when, the Trojans had five combined wins over two seasons under head coach Tim Paske. Paske moved into the top coaching spot at the school on the heels of longtime coach Lynne Simmons. Simmons took the program from the defunct Tri-Valley League, and eased it back into 11-man football. His first full year in division play the Trojans were respectable. They subsequently produced a number of winning seasons and a pair of playoff appearances. He seemed to leave the program in good stead when he left after a 4-5 season, and newcomer, Paske, had plenty of holdovers on which to build his program. Aside from a scintillating debut win over Oxford in 2003, there was little to rave about in a 3-6 season. The Greene offense was near or at the bottom of the local standings, and the defense was also near the bottom in points allowed and yardage allowed. The following year yielded one less win, but signs of life were appearing. The offense had less lows and more consistency. Plus, junior quarterback Kurt Spear emerged as a bona fide slinger with the capability of moving the Trojans offense. Greene nearly made the playoffs the following season, and five of its six wins were shutouts — a great indicator that the defense had become the equal of a burgeoning offense. Statistically, the Trojans were near the top in most categories. Was that a fluke? Spear graduated, so a quarterback who had never seen more than mop-up duty (Corey Breck) replaced a four-year starter. Moreover, Spear’s leadership on the field was the “immeasurable” statistic in need of replaced. I was impressed with the Trojans to start 2006, but a loss to Sidney — a year in and year out nemesis — made me wonder if they were truly ready to take that next step. Then came a stunning win over Unatego. Stunning in that it came so easily. After giving up an early score, it was all Greene. The Trojans rode out the regular season with just one defeat, and pushed top seed Lansing in the Class C playoffs. Yes, the Trojans were in the playoffs just two years after finishing 2-7, and sporting three straight losing seasons overall. Paske has echoed the mantra of “building on the foundation” established by players now graduated. What layer did Greene toss on the foundation last week? How about the program’s first win over Sidney in the Paske era. “This is big for us,” Paske said. “Sidney may be down a little bit, but still they have been a successful program, and our defense played extremely well.” Against a team that had averaged over 30 points a game the past two seasons, Greene allowed no offensive touchdowns (Sidney scored on a long punt return), and 67 total yards — all on the ground. I would say the Trojans’ results the past two seasons — plus one game in 2007 — have quieted any further wondering aloud about Greene football. This is a program that has perched itself in the upper tier of Class C football, and I believe the Trojans are there to stay for quite a while.

–– Patrick Newell

Courts look good, but…

Thursday, September 6th, 2007
Patrick Newell

Last Friday I had the opportunity to look at Norwich’s new football field. The workmen were busily rolling in the rubber pellets and sand to provide a base at the bottom of the grass-like turf. I suppose, like any carpet, there needs to be a rubberized cushioning, and if you ever are close enough to watch on-the-field action, you’ll see a splashing effect when ball-carriers hit the turf. The past couple of years when I have watched games up close and personal on these types of fields, I wondered what exactly was spraying around when players hit the ground. Now I know. My placement so close to the football field was a result of my witnessing the Norwich girls’ tennis team’s opening match against Susquehanna Valley. A good friend of mine has a daughter who plays, so I joined him courtside. I marveled at the courts spit-shine look. They were resurfaced and relined, and a 100 percent improvement over the shoddy and potentially dangerous base that was last year’s courts. Last year – and at least the previous year – there were areas that were simply unplayable if any moisture hit the courts. I looked at the seven courts, and noticed something awry. Two of the courts on the south side looked like the “before” picture in those before/after photos. Those two were untouched in the refurbishing process. I said, “huh?” Did the money run out after five courts were done? Could it be an oversight that will be corrected once the season is over? I asked Norwich head coach John Stewart about it, and he said they are done and no further work on the courts is planned. Again, I said, “huh?” Those two courts are blatant eyesores to an otherwise stellar job performed on the other five. The most egregious mistake is that the seven courts are all needed for matches. Seven matches are played in STAC varsity tennis, so two of those matches will get the short straw when they play on this mine field. The five pristine courts have the look of a tennis show place, and I could easily see Norwich hosting larger scale tennis events, but that notion is now a pipedream with two courts that are not only aesthetically displeasing, but barely usable.
Update: As told to me by Norwich coach John Stewart earlier this week, not paving all seven of the courts was an oversight from the beginning, and the plan is to have that eventually rectified. In the meantime, Norwich plays its home matches on the five completed courts, exhibition matches are held on the two subpar courts, and the first two matches completed the new courts open the door for the two final matches to commence. Depending on the length of matches, it adds perhaps an hour or hour and a half to each Norwich home match.

Summertime blues

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007
Michael McGuire

The summer is over, and I can’t help but feeling like I didn’t enjoy it enough.

Things I used to do daily from June to September – ride bike, camp, swim, and stay out later than usual – I don’t have time to do them anymore, it seems.

These days, it’s extra hours at work, weeknight commitments, and weekend obligations. Between the work, weddings and events, the majority of the summer is spoken for before it even begins. That makes it hard to enjoy it like we used to – care free.

Most of you are probably saying, “Well, welcome to life as an adult, Sonny.” If so, you’re right. It’s time to grow up.

But I’m not sure what’s worse; feeling bad for wasting a summer or accepting that you did because you’re getting old, and that makes it OK.