Saturday was Horseheads senior quarterback Ben Clark’s day, for sure.
After throwing three second-quarter touchdown passes, he was honored as homecoming king at halftime to crown a day that saw his Blue Raider team get back into the win column with a 37-6 victory over winless Ithaca in a Section 4 Division I Football Conference game.
Clark finished with 217 yards passing and also rushed for a team-high 39 yards on nine carries for the Blue Raiders (3-2 overall, 1-2 Div. I). He threw scoring strikes of 30 yards to Andrew Clark, 90 yards to Noah Bosket, and 25 yards to Garrette Briggs in a span of 4 minutes, 30 seconds to help Horseheads take a 24-0 lead at halftime.
Five Horseheads players scored on the day, including 1-yard touchdown runs by Casey Miller and Clai Wood in the third quarter.
After opening its season with two wins, Horseheads yielded 110 points in consecutive loses to Binghamton and Corning. Facing an 0-4 Ithaca team that had lost a Section 4-record 28 straight games, the Blue Raiders started slowly but eventually gained the upper hand, capitalizing on mistakes from the depleted Little Red.
“They just beat us on the fundamental areas,” said Ithaca head coach Kelly Gordon, whose squad fell to 0-5, 0-3. “They won the turnover battle, they were able to block and tackle better, and they took care of the football, and those were the big differences in the game.”
Ithaca was intercepted once, lost two of five fumbles and was penalized for 79 yards en route to its 29th consecutive loss, the longest active streak in the state. Horseheads’ only miscue was a fumble at the start of the fourth quarter when the game was already decided.
Gordon said his team was playing short-handed, with “a bunch” of players out due to injuries and two suspensions.
“Our game plan was to come out and run the ball and we did that, but then the miscues started,” Gordon said. “We fumbled snaps here and there and took some penalties. Defensively, giving up a big play here and there, that really killed us today.”
Junior quarterback Turner DePalma led Ithaca’s ground game with 132 yards on nine carries, including a 38-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The Little Red outgained Horseheads on the ground, 198-139, though the Blue Raiders held a 358-230 advantage in total yards.
Ithaca’s quest for its first victory since week 3 of the 2012 season continues on Friday, when Binghamton invades Moresco Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Patriots (3-2, 1-1 Div. I) lost at Troy (Pa.), 48-45, on Friday.
Newark Valley 14, Greene 12: On Saturday at Newark Valley, Nick Schermerhorn threw for a touchdown and rushed for one as unbeaten Newark Valley (5-0, 1-0 Div. IV) came from behind to defeat division rival Greene (2-3, 0-2).
Trailing 12-7 in the third quarter, NV made two fourth-down conversions on the final drive that culminated with Schermerhorn’s 10-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left.
The Cardinals’ defense also made a crucial stop in the fourth quarter to hold on to the win. On fourth down with 1:10 remaining, Greene attempted a pass on the 24-yard line, but Schermerhorn knocked the ball out of the receiver’s hands.
The Cardinals led 7-0 after the first quarter thanks to a 20-yard pass from Schermerhorn to Conner Coleman. However, running back Luke Erickson scored two touchdowns to put Greene ahead. Erickson rushed for 164 yards.
Schermerhorn rushed for 31 yards and completed one pass.
Lansing 18, Dryden 13: On Friday in Lansing, Zach Detrick and Mason Boothe scored touchdowns in a 4 1/2-minute span of the third quarter as the Bobcats (2-3, 2-0 Div. V) moved into a first-place tie with Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour in Division V.
Both Lansing and WG/O-M have clinched Class C playoff berths, as neither Dryden (3-2, 0-2) nor Thomas A. Edison (1-4, 0-2) can move into the top two in the division with just one divisional game to play. Dryden hosts Edison on Friday, Oct. 23; WG/O-M hosts Lansing the following night for the divisional crown.
Trailing 7-6, Lansing took the lead 1:53 into the third quarter on Detrick’s 83-yard touchdown run, then extended the lead on Boothe’s 1-yard plunge with 5:30 left in the period. Stu Stahlman (19-120) pulled Dryden to within five points with a 33-yard scoring burst, but Dryden would get no closer.
Ithaca 6, Union-Endicott 0: On Friday at Moresco Stadium, Tristan Cornell-Roberts scored twice to lead the Little Red to its 11th consecutive victory to start the season. Ithaca, ranked third in the state in Class AA, has outscored its opponents, 56-2.
Pierre Clavel added a goal and an assist for the Little Red, who outshot the Tigers, 29-3. Zeke Estes, Rory Simpson and Mason Todhunter also scored for Coach Gilbert Antoine’s Little Red, with Alex Patz picking up an assist.
Kevin Klaben made two saves, the only one of three IHS goalies to record a stop.
The Little Red puts its perfect record on the line Monday night at home against Vestal, which extended its win streak to four games on Friday with a 5-2 defeat of Binghamton. The Golden Bears (8-3) came closest to knocking off Ithaca this season, falling 1-0 on Sept. 12 in Vestal.
McQuaid Invitational: On Saturday in Rochester, Ithaca’s state-ranked boys finished fourth in the seeded AAA race at the 51st McQuaid Invitational cross country meet at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester.
Liverpool won a tie-breaker with East Aurora to take top honors in the 19-team field with 65 points; Corning was third with 108, followed by Ithaca with 155. Junior Jake Avery led the Little Red with an eighth-place finish in 15 minutes, 13 seconds; senior Ben Petrella of Liverpool won the race in 14:32.9.
Other Ithaca finishers included juniors Neil Kolhatkar (19th, 15:25.0), Silas Derfel (15:27.8) and Ian Tomasik (15:58.1), and sophomore Simon Lee (61st, 16:13.4).
In the boys’ seeded A race, Trumansburg finished 14th in a 30-team field, led by sophomore Evan Whittaker (14th, 15:59.7). Other T-burg finishers included by Sam Ives (60th, 17:05.9), Kevin Lampman (103rd, 17:58), Dom Mikula (109th, 18:03.8) and GH Wood (111th, 18:04.9). And in the boys’ seeded A-3 event, Groton’s Richard Moore crossed the line 16th in 16:48, the first time he’s finished a cross country race in under 18 minutes.
On the girls’ side, Ithaca placed 14th in the seeded AAA race with 290 points; Shenendehowa won, with Corning fifth and Elmira sixth. Elmira’s Abbey Wheeler finished second overall in 16:36.1 to Shona McCulloch (16:35.7) from Longfields-Davidson Heights of Ottawa.
Sophomore Lizzy Rayle led Ithaca (26th, 18:19.5), followed by teammates Charlotte Williams (48th, 18:47.3), Sylvia Frank (60th, 18:58.1), Zoe Tomasik (70th, 19:09.9) and Amy Milner (97th, 19:42.6).
In the girls’ seeded A race, Trumansburg eighth-grader Molly MacQueen placed 16th in 18:26.2, followed by teammate Claire Melvin (41st, 19:28.5), Ginny Clifford (52nd, 19:54.9), Megan McIntyre (59th, 20:15.3) and Kristin Whittaker (67th, 20:28.1).
Ron Levanduski of the Elmira Star-Gazette contributed to this report.
On Twitter: @TomF_IJSports.