Groton will try to throw the Section 4 Division VII football standings into chaos when the Indians head to Elmira tonight to face first-place Notre Dame. Kickoff at Brewer Memorial Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
Both teams are 4-1 overall, but the Crusaders are perfect in division play (3-0) while the visiting Indians are 2-1, with their only division loss coming two weeks ago at Moravia (3-2, 2-1). Should Groton win tonight, the two would be tied atop the division; if Moravia defeats Spencer-Van Etten on Saturday afternoon, the Blue Devils would also exit the weekend at 3-1 in Division VII play.
The tie could not be broken by head-to-head play, since Groton will have beaten END, which handed Moravia its only division loss. And Groton’s only Division VII loss came two weeks ago at Moravia, 14-0. By rule, ties are broken by a points system based on the quality of a team’s victories.
Notre Dame coach Mike D’Aloisio said he expects Groton to give his Crusaders — whose only loss was a season-opening forfeit to Division VI leader Tioga, due to a lack of eligible players — all they can handle.
“They’re a typical Groton team over the last five, six years,” he said. “They execute well, they’re fundamentally sound, they’re well-coached, they run hard, they’re physical. They can hurt you with the run or the pass and they’re very tough defensively, so we expect a tough game.”
Groton, led by senior back Zeke Wright — who torched Watkins Glen last week for 265 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries — wraps up its regular season next week at S-VE (3-2, 1-2 Division VII). Notre Dame travels to Watkins Glen (2-3, 1-2 Division VII) and Moravia travels to Odessa-Montour (0-5, 0-3 Division VII).
Meanwhile, it is a two-horse race in Div. I, with Elmira (5-0) and Binghamton (4-1) both at 3-0 in division play. Elmira hosts Vestal (3-2, 2-2 Division I) while the Patriots will be at Moresco Stadium tonight to take on Ithaca High (0-5, 0-3 Division I), which has Section 4’s longest active losing streak at 11 games.
The Little Red is coming off its best outing of the season in terms of offensive production — a 33-28 loss last Friday at Oneonta. The Yellowjackets (1-4, 0-3 Division II) entered last week’s game having given up the most points (192) of any team in Section 4. Ithaca had given up the third-most (172).
Ithaca trailed 26-0 before getting on the board thanks to a 16-yard scoring pass from senior Julian Tino (7-for-10, 149 yards) to Dominique Stegvenson with 1:10 to go before halftime. Oneonta extended its lead to 33-6 early in the fourth quarter before first-year coach Kelly Gordon’s Little Red scored three times — Tino hit Aiden McCarthy from 70 yards out with 11:23 left, tight end Eric Lovett connected with Pat O’Dowd on a 66-yard pass with 6½ minutes to go, and Tino and McCarthy hooked up again from 23 yards out with 3:14 to play.
Skylar Thompson rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns to lead Oneonta.
In Division IV, Waverly (4-1 overall) and Lansing (3-2) are tied for the top spot at 2-0 and could be headed for a de facto division championship game in two weeks when the Wolverines host the Bobcats in their homecoming game on Oct. 26 in Athens, Pa.
Waverly heads out of the division on Saturday to take on Division III leader Chenango Valley, while Lansing hosts Thomas A. Edison (1-4, 0-1 Division IV) tonight.
The best game on Saturday could very well be the Division VI battle between a pair of unbeaten Class D squads, No. 2 Tioga and No. 7 Harpursville. That game is set for 1:30 p.m. in Harpursville.