One Vs. Two

Top-Ranked CSP To Meet Second-Ranked Alexander

Clymer/Sherman/Panama football coach Ty Harper has had plenty to smile about this season. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

As a portion of the state’s top-ranked Clymer/Sherman/Panama football team prepared for practice earlier this week on the turf at Charles A. Lawson Field, there was still a part of the squad that was en route to the Southwestern Central School campus.

Finally — only a few minutes later, actually — a yellow bus with “Sherman Central School” painted on each side pulled into the parking lot and out hopped the remaining players and CSP’s head coach, Ty Harper.

Immediately, his Wolfpack coaching staff began giving Harper some good-natured ribbing for his “tardiness.” Harper, a social studies teacher at SCS, gave it right back.

Smiles were everywhere.

As the only Chautauqua County team still alive in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament, there is plenty to be happy about if you are wearing CSP on your helmet.

The Clymer/Sherman/Panama football team shows off the Section VI Class D championship banner after it knocked off Maple Grove at New Era Field last Friday. P-J photo by Tim Frank

The next step on the Wolfpack’s journey is the Class D Far West Regional at noon Saturday at Clarence High School.

There will be no good-natured ribbing before that contest, though.

It will be all business.

Section V champion Alexander, the state’s second-ranked team, awaits.

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Wolfpack quarterback Gerrit Hinsdale throws during practice earlier this week. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

For those in the Western Southern Tier, particularly those folks who live in the Clymer, Sherman and Panama communities, here’s a quick primer on the Trojans:

¯ They are 10-0.

¯ They have outscored their opponents, 415-66 this season, including a 90-14 victory over Geneseo in Week Three.

¯ During their playoff run, they have knocked off Red Jacket, 25-12; Perry/Mount Morris, 45-8; and York/Pavilion, 37-0, the latter for the Section V title.

¯ In that sectional championship game, three running backs — Terrez Smith, Chris McClinic and Hayden Walton — rushed for more than 100 yards while the defense, led by Jake Jasen (15 tackles), limited York/Pavilion’s top running backs to under 50 yards combined.

In other words, the Trojans, who lost in the Section V championship game last year, are a worthy opponent for the Wolfpack.

“They’re good, for sure,” Harper said. “They’ve got a couple of really good running backs that jump off the film. … They’re 10-0 and they’ve really mulched most of the teams that they’ve played.”

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Harper has reason to feel good about his crew, too.

Consider the following about the Wolfpack:

¯ They are 10-0.

¯ They have outscored their opponents, 402-90.

¯ During their playoff run they’ve defeated Cattaraugus-Little Valley, 27-0; and Maple Grove, 35-7, the latter in the Section VI title game.

¯ In that sectional championship contest, their defense allowed just 90 total net yards, including five rushing; picked off four passes; recovered a fumble; and registered five sacks. Meanwhile, their offense — led by Derek Ecklund (131 yards on 23 carries), Gerrit Hinsdale (11 of 16 for 159 yards, two touchdowns), Cameron Barmore (five receptions for 75 yards and two scores) and Zavon Overton (three catches for 54 yards) — was nearly as dominant.

In other words, the 4-year-old program, which has allowed just seven points in its last four games, is peaking at precisely the right time.

“I think that Section VI and our D league, in general, prepares us well for this,” Harper said. “The quality of our opponents is good. Maple Grove, obviously, is a great program, and having played them three times is getting us prepared for what we’ll see going forward.

“I have a hard time believing anyone is going to have a player as good as (Maple Grove’s) Easton Tanner, so we’re confident after what we were able to do against him last week. … I think we’ve seen some teams that are going to help us be ready for this game.”

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So what gives when No. 1 meets No. 2 at noon tomorrow in suburban Buffalo?

“I think we’ll be ready to go as far as preparation,” Harper said. “Defensively, they play a very similar defense to what we’ve seen with Maple Grove. … We’re working hard to prepare our offensive line for that. I think we’ll match up with them.”

The winner advances to the state Class D semifinal at 4 p.m. a week from today against the Tioga-Onondaga winner at Union-Endicott High School.

If the Wolfpack find a way to stay alive for another week, they’ll likely do what they did after claiming a sectional crown last week.

“It was a great day,” Harper said.

Less than 24 hours later, however, the team was “on to the next one.”

“We started breaking down film and got a scouting report ready,” Harper said.

The CSP community hopes Harper and company will follow the same game plan next week, too.