Remember the last time an Ilion football team played Notre Dame High School's Jugglers?
Central Valley Academy football coach Jon Cole does. How could he forget?
The year was 2012. It was Ilion High School's last football team — Ilion and Mohawk merged the following year — and Cole's Golden Bombers were hosting Notre Dame in a Class C East season opener at Diss Memorial Field.
Running back Mykel Farley had a big game for Ilion, but as Cole recalls, it was another Ilion kid who stole the show. That was Zane Smith, son of longtime Ilion public address announcer Steve Smith and the Notre Dame placekicker whose 29-yard field goal with 3.2 seconds remaining gave the Jugglers a 31-30 win.
Notre Dame grad Zane Smith now plays Division I baseball at Bryant University, Cole is now the head coach at Central Valley Academy, and the Thunder and Notre Dame's Jugglers are together again, this time as members of Section III's Class B East division.
It will be Notre Dame's home opener at Brother Victor Stadium when they finally meet again in a Class B matchup at 6:30 Friday night.
Locally, there is only one other meeting of 1-0 teams on Friday night's schedule. That's in West Winfield, where Mount Markham's Mustangs host Frankfort-Schuyler's Maroon Knights in a Class D East matchup at 7.
Elsewhere, two Class A Spartans off to 1-0 starts meet in a nonleague crossover Friday night when New Hartford travels to East Syracuse-Minoa.
Rome Free Academy, Camden, Oneida, Sherburne-Earlville, Herkimer and Waterville play home games Friday. On Saturday afternoon, West Canada Valley is home again - the Indians host Westmoreland - and Thomas R. Proctor, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, Holland Patent, New York Mills, Clinton and Oriskany have home openers scheduled.
Here are some points to ponder entering Week 2:
1 - Can Thunder keep it rolling?
Central Valley Academy coach Jon Cole said during preseason workouts that after years of playing smash-mouth football, he was seriously considering opening it up a bit on offense. But in last week's opener, the Thunder shook, rattled and rolled on the ground while churning out a 34-7 Class B East win over South Jefferson. Now, the Thunder likely will try to do more of the same at Notre Dame on Friday night.
"Our best defense is going to be our offense," Cole said. "If we can put together 6-, 7-, 8-minute drives, that's our best chance for success."
CVA senior running back Adam Klosner rushed for 137 yards and his cousin, senior QB Josh Klosner ran for 94 yards and a touchdown. Gunar Holmberg rushed for 60 yards and he and Josh Panko each had touchdown runs for the Thunder, who attempted only seven passes. Josh Klosner actually moved to wingback in the second half, with junior Noah Geloso taking over at quarterback, and the Thunder were led up front by G Robert Baker (5-11, 191) and T Alex Dihrberg (6-3, 220).
Defensively, Jacob Slaughter and Kyle Brewer had seven tackles each in the win at South Jefferson. Now, that CVA defense faces a young but talented Notre Dame attack that — led by sophomore QB Jaylen Warmack and sophomore RB Treijen Garrett — showed its big-play potential in a 46-13 Carrier Dome win over Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.
2 - Long may Maroon Knights run?
In their season-opening Class D East win over Morrisville-Eaton/Hamilton, Frankfort-Schuyler's Maroon Knights — as expected — relied heavily on the veteran backfield of fullback Nick Manino, quarterback Ethan Irons, and tailback Joe Streeter. Don't expect any changes Friday night at Mount Markham.
Last week, Manino ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, Streeter ran for two touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass, and Irons threw a touchdown pass and ran for 53 yards on five carries. Jason Yelle threw for another score in Frankfort-Schuyler's 42-20 win over Morrisville-Eaton/Hamilton.
A Week 2 road win over the Mustangs would certainly make next Friday night's home game against defending Class D East champion West Canada Valley even more interesting.
3 - Is Mount Markham for real?
For starters, Mount Markham's Mustangs rolled to a 34-0 win over Class D East newcomer Sauquoit Valley, a National Football Foundation regular-season champion a year ago. Improving to 2-0 with a home win over Frankfort-Schuyler on Friday night won't be easy, but coach Loren Winegard's Mustangs are certainly going in on a high note.
In the win over Sauquoit, Mount Markham did nearly all of its damage on the ground. Sophomore RB Everett Kelly (6-0, 190) rushed for 144 yards on 18 carries, junior QB Josh Douglas completed his only pass and ran for 100 yards and three scores, and junior RB Robert Linen-Jones rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown.
It's a big game for the Mustangs, too, because they have a Week 3 trip to Dolgeville and Bill Bynon Field next Saturday.
4 - Is Oriskany a contender in the NFF?
With playmaking senior QB Ryan Enos healthy again, you've gotta believe.
Enos, an all-state baseball player, had knee surgery last year and did not play football as a junior. As a member of the unbeaten basketball team, he sat and watched Oriskany win a Class D state champion. Now, two years after seeing some time behind center as a sophomore, Enos is back on the gridiron and Jerry Tine's Oriskany football team — hosting Port Byron/Union Springs in Saturday's home opener — is off to a 1-0 start in the National Football Foundation.
For the record, Enos rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns and he threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-12 win at Cooperstown last week.