Sports Editor’s Playbook, Monday, Oct. 11

Patrick Newell

I can only reiterate Editor Genung’s comments about a slow news day. It’s even slower on the sports front with Columbus Day giving local sports teams the day off. So, I will recap some tidbits from last weekend, and toss in a few editorial comments:

– How about Sherburne-Earlville senior running back, Greg DuVall? DuVall’s ball-carrying skills impressed me, and I wonder what kind of numbers he would have racked up had he become a full-time running back for S-E last year. From what I saw last Friday, he was explosive, he shed tacklers – or ran over them – and lunged, dove, and spun his way for every extra yard. His three-yard two-point conversion run when the game was well in hand is a prime example of 100 percent effort. He was hit short of the goal line, low and hard, by Little Falls’ Tim Morgan. It was a nice form tackle that slowed DuVall, but didn’t stop him from diving and extending the ball over the goal line. And DuVall has good size and excellent speed. He’s easily 35 to 40 pounds heavier than his wrestling weight (135 pounds) last year at the New York State meet, and I imagine he’ll be a force on the mat this winter, too.

– I sat through another Buffalo loss on Sunday afternoon. I felt a tinge of optimism when I sat down in the second quarter and the Bills were leading 13-3. From that point on, Jacksonville held a 33-13 advantage. Today, Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson and his personnel team are resolved to select a top-flight quarterback in the 2011 draft. What about the 2010 draft? I am no personnel expert, but I could have offered some low-priced advice to draft a quarterback this past spring.

– “Sabers top NHS” was one of the local sports headlines in Monday’s sports section. It was another setback for the Tornado boys’ soccer team, who are winless this season. I lament that defeat a little more than usual since my son is on the team. He started playing soccer on the YMCA youth teams when he was probably five or six years old, and is still dedicated to playing. A few of the kids he played with from those early days are still on the team. Others, my son’s age, have either moved out of the area, moved to another sport, or just given up playing fall sports altogether. The last excuse is one I find difficult to understand .I come from a different generation, and to me, giving up playing a sport is unfathomable. If I had invested more than half my life to it, and I truly loved playing the sport, why would I ever give it up? Like many people who have played team and individual sports, I really enjoy competition, and I love the camaraderie that is built by playing on a team. Going back long before I was ever born, high school athletes and competitors who loved sports played something in every season. In Norwich, we are fortunate to have more than one sports option each season. Smaller schools in Chenango County, such as G-MU and Otselic Valley, do not have that luxury, and participation by anyone with any kind of athletic ability is almost required. News flash: Bigger schools need their athletes to participate, too!