Sports Editor’s Playbook, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011

Patrick Newell

Note: The complete playbook appears in today’s Evening Sun

* Norwich coach Tom Collier had nothing but kind words for Johnson City and its current head coach, Colin Lasher. Lasher stepped in this season for Mark Woitach, who suffered a stroke this past summer, and is recovering from the effects of that near tragedy. Woitach has coached in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference for more than two decades, and he guided the Wildcats to three wins in four meetings last season against Norwich. Collier was not only impressed with Johnson City’s overall talent saying that the Wildcats possess the most athletic team in the division, but with the way Lasher is honoring Woitach. “He is the ultimate class act,” Collier said. “He lists himself only as the ‘interim coach,’ and is saving the job for coach Woitach if ever returns to coaching again. When we were at the STAC coaches meeting, Colin made sure to tell everyone that he was just the interim coach. I really respected that.”

* B-G/Afton wrestling coach, Brandon MacNaught, has never shied away from tough competition. He typically enters his team in the toughest possible tournaments all season long, and the wins and losses do not matter as much as developing his wrestlers for the postseason. At Burnt Hills last weekend, among the teams the Bears faced were Longwood, a Section XI power from Suffolk County that includes potential state title contenders Malik Rasheed and Corey Rasheed. Also on the slate was Northern Adirondack of Section VII, and Beekmantown from the Plattsburgh area. The Bears won two out of five matches, and also had the opportunity to see some great wrestling squads from all over the state. “This was very good for us,” MacNaught said. “It was not a bad performance, but definitely something to build upon. We just have to be a team, stick together, and the coaching staff believes we can be successful.”