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Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017: With Week 1 coming, records and schedules are updated

   Leading off today: I can tell we're getting close to the start of the 2017 high school football season because I spent the last several days updating the record book in the reference section of our RoadToSyracuse.com website.

   The remarkable Paul Hutzler gathers noteworthy performances all season long and does quite a bit of original research on his own each year. He then bundles up the updates and send them my way each August to update our ever-growing library of statistics.

   The most radical changes of note this week came in the revisions to the top of the list of single-game rushing performances. Alton Jones of Spencerport and Jordan Mull of Altmar-Parish-Williamstown had moved into the all-time top five with 491-yard efforts in consecutive weeks last fall. And then Joe Benedict of Sandy Creek came along the following week with his state-record performance of 584 yards on 38 carries against Immaculate Heart Central.

   Lindenhurst tight end Jeremy Ruckert is one of several players who has a chance to move to the high end of multiple career lists. The Ohio State commit already shows up in the state's all-time top 35 with 117 career receptions, just 50 grabs away from cracking the top five.

   Speaking of updates, Steve Grandin and I traded more emails this week updating the week-by-week schedule of games across the state to reflect Salem dropping the sport, Pulaski and Oriskany switching to eight-man football along with Binghamton's Seton Catholic and Frewsburg making the decision to combine with Randolph.

   It seems inevitable that at least one more team will go under before long, bringing about still more changes.

   One of the latest changes came when Fort Edward/Argyle, operating shorthanded the first two weeks of practice, bowed out of its Week 3 game against Cambridge, which won the NYSPHSAA Class D last fall in a double-overtime thriller vs. Maple Grove.

   Cambridge will instead take on Hoosic Valley, which had been left without a game when Salem dropped the sport last week.

   With Hoosic Valley having gone 7-2, 7-3 and 7-2 the past three seasons, that game will provide Cambridge with a bit more of a challenge and serve as one of the more attractive games on the Section 2 early-season schedule.

   Warrensburg/Bolton is also looking at a very heavy lift in a last-minute replacement game. With Salem no longer an option, Warrensburg/Bolton (4-5 last fall but more experienced than most) has lined up a new opening contest against Woodstock, a 10-time Vermont state champion. The Wasps were 8-2 and Vermont Division III semifinalists a year ago.

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   Retired Canton coach dies: Roger Dusharm, who amassed a 406-139-52 record with 19 Section 10 titles in 34 seasons and a 1988 NYSPHSAA Class C co-championship as the boys soccer coach in the Canton program he launched, died Thursday after a lengthy illness. He was 75.

   Dusharm also coached 27 seasons of junior-varsity basketball.

   "One of things about Roger was he was a mentor to so many kids. Long after they played for him, the kids had a high opinion of him," said Jerry Smilgin, who coached the JVs for nine seasons during Dusharm's tenure. "And he was a very loyal friend to a lot of people."

   Canton renamed its field in his honor in 2001.

   Too late, the damage is done: With more than 1,000 high schools across the state, New York certainly manages to accumulate its share of cringe-worthy moments in sports each year. Here's hoping we don't overtake New Jersey for the lead any time soon in the category face-palm moments in social media.

   Neptune Township (N.J.) parents were outraged late last week when a Twitter account promoting St. John Vianney's

  
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RoadToSyracuse.com football site





girls soccer team ended a tweeted reminder of an upcoming scrimmage vs. Neptune with the hashtag #bringyourshanks.

   St. John Vianney's AD said the tweet (since deleted) came from an account that wasn't school-sanctioned. He also told reporters the hashtag was referring to a soccer term, not a makeshift knife that most people would more likely associate with prison inmates.

   Genuine standards? No, thank you: I'm familiar with the argument that the ability to play a sport is an important incentive when it comes to keeping some at-risk students from dropping out of school. In that context it's understandable that a school might have somewhat lax eligibility standards. I've even supported the concept to some degree.

   However, the Dayton (Ohio) school board skipped "lax" and proceeded directly to laughable last week by reducing the required GPA for students to compete to just 1.0 on a scale of 4. That amounts to straight D's on a report card or an equal number of C's and F's.

   While it's true that players with a GPA below 2.0 are required to participate in their school's Athletic Academic Intervention Program, it's also true that they'll only find themselves benched if their GPA drops in the next grading period. A "student" could hold steady with a 1.0 GPA and remain eligible.

   The latest development should be pondered in the context of the scandal that dogged Dayton schools for much of last school year. All the district's boys and girls programs were placed on a three-year probation and the school district was fined $10,000 by the Ohio High School Athletic Association after investigations of accusations by Dunbar coaches that the district athletic director had instructed them to tank a late-season football game. The Dunbar school AD stepped down under pressure after Dunbar forfeited multiple games for playing an academically ineligible player.

   While losing the Week 10 game ultimately allowed both teams to be eligible for the playoffs, the suspicion during the investigation was that district officials might have been trying to make Dunbar miss the postseason in order to avoid having to disclose the use of the ineligible player.

   The three-minute video showing how Dunbar tried to lose to Belmont is one of the strangest "highlight" reels you'll ever see:


  
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