Class AA, Division I
LAST YEAR: 1-8
New Ithaca High coach Kelly Gordon had his young team fill out goal sheets this preseason, and was encouraged by the responses.
“We didn’t have any really lofty goals, like winning a state title or anything,” Gordon said. “Coming together as a team, building a program, having a better record this year than last, those were the types of goals we had. They’re realistic goals, and the main thing for us is, we need to compete every game and build this thing up.”
Indeed, rebuilding the program is Job No. 1 on North Cayuga Street. Ithaca has gone 13-31 in the past five seasons. Gordon, a 2007 Ithaca College graduate and star returnman under Bomber coach Mike Welch, has been encouraged in his first year.
“It’s going really well, I’m pretty happy with how the players have responded,” he said. “A brand new coach, new offense, new defense, new special teams. I think the kids have adjusted pretty well on the fly.”
The quarterback battle is between seniors Naeem Clark, the team’s fastest player (4.66 in the 40-yard-dash), and Julian Tino, who saw the bulk of the action a year ago. Whoever earns the job will be throwing to a pair of talented senior wideouts in Emmitt Houston (5-9, 171) and Tyler Spencer-Goodrich (6-0, 181).
The backfield will be young, with juniors Dion Dean (5-10, 184) and D.J. Davis (6-4, 194) leading that group. The offensive and defensive lines will both be anchored by seniors Mike Gould (6-0, 274) and Anthony McCoy (6-3, 285).
Spencer-Goodrich and senior Aidan McCarthey (6-2, 187) are the leading candidates at linebacker, while 6-3 junior Thomas Johnson and Houston anchor the backfield.
— Tom Fleischman