The only team in Section 4 Division I football without a victory, the Ithaca High Little Red will seek win No. 1 at Ty Cobb Stadium on Saturday night when it takes on the Union-Endicott Tigers. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
First-year coach Kelly Gordon’s squad has lost its first three games of the season, including last week’s 60-22 drubbing at Corning, a game it actually led 8-7 after one quarter. Corning outscored the Little Red over the second and third quarters by 47-0.
The program has lost nine straight games since a Week 3 victory in 2012. Saturday’s game is the second of three straight road games for Ithaca, which travels to Oneonta next weekend before returning to Moresco Stadium on Oct. 11 to face Binghamton.
Quarterback Naeem Clark has led Ithaca offensively, completing 31 of 46 passes for 374 yards and a touchdown, and rushing 49 times for 206 yards and four scores. He went 16-for-16 for 157 yards and a TD in a Week 2 loss to Horseheads.
Traditionally strong Union-Endicott has gotten out of the blocks slowly this fall. After dropping games to Syracuse CBA (56-32 in the Carrier Dome) and visiting Elmira (38-33), the Tigers got into the win column last week with a 29-6 victory at Vestal. After Saturday’s game, the Tigers go on the road three straight weeks against Binghamton, Norwich and Horseheads before closing the regular season at home against Corning.
Union-Endicott defeated the Golden Bears last week despite missing Josh Paugh, arguably the team’s best lineman, who has what coach Tom Baleno is calling a “slight ACL tear.” The Tigers extended their win streak over Vestal to seven games thanks to a 427-yard offensive outburst, led by senior running back Sammy Davis (27-186, TD) and quarterback Joey Orlando (8-for-17, 175 yards, 2 TDs).
Other games Friday night include: Candor (1-2, 0-1 Div. VI) at Oxford (0-3, 0-1 Div. VI); Chenango Forks (2-1, 0-0 Div. III) at Lansing (2-1, 1-0 Div. IV); Greene (2-1, 0-1 Div. III) at Dryden (2-1, 0-0 Div. IV); Odessa-Montour (0-3, 0-1 Div. VII) at Elmira Notre Dame (2-1, 1-0 Div. VII) and Spencer-Van Etten (2-1, 0-1 Div. VII) at Watkins Glen (1-2, 0-1 Div. VII).
On Saturday, games involving local teams include: Trumansburg (0-3, 0-1 Div. IV) at Chenango Valley (1-2, 1-0 Div. III); Newark Valley (3-0, 1-0 Div. III) at Edison (1-2, 0-1 Div. IV) and Groton (3-0, 1-0 Div. VII) at Moravia (2-1, 1-0 Div. VII) in a battle of division co-leaders.
Groton, an honorable mention in the Class D state rankings, is in Moravia on Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. rematch with their Route 38 rivals. In last year’s closely fought game in Groton, the Indians got 198 yards and touchdown runs of 74 and 3 yards from Zeke Wright and edged the Blue Devils, 14-6.
Coming off a dominating 55-6 victory over visiting O-M, Groton has outscored its three opponents by a combined 112-25.
Several teams in Section 4 are in this week’s state rankings, including defending state champion Maine-Endwell (No. 1 in Class B), Chenango Forks (No. 4 in Class C), Newark Valley (20th in Class C), Tioga (No. 2 in Class D), Harpursville (No. 9 in Class D) and Unatego (No. 17 in Class D). Maine-Endwell has the state’s longest active win streak, at 28 games, having won the Class A state title in 2011 and the B crown last year.