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Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017: Coach, you had one job to do ...

   Leading off today: I suspect that being a high school coach these days is quite a bit more complicated than it was 40 years ago, or even 20 for that matter.

   On top of knowing something about the sport, there are mandatory certifications as well as background checks, etc.

   That being said, I'm positive one part of the job has never changed: A coach is sort of expected to come home from a road contest with (at least) as many players as he brought to the game.

   A North Carolina football coach apparently missed that memo last week as officials of the Onslow County (N.C.) School System confirmed that a Jacksonville (N.C.) Northside player did not come home on the bus with the rest of his team after a 34-6 loss in Wilmington.

   Many school districts allow a player to travel with a parent or guardian, provided the coach or athletic director are properly notified. But that apparently was the cause of Friday's gaffe for Northside, which played in a state final last fall. Rather, head coach Kendrick Pollock was alleged to have had an altercation with the player following the game, and the player was then knowingly left behind.

   "The situation has been investigated and it was discovered that appropriate protocols were not followed," the district said in a statement. "Our sincere apologies go out to the student and family for this regrettable event."

   The district called the situation a "personnel matter" and did not specify what disciplinary measures were taken against the coach.

   Kicking off the season: We've made one final set (we hope) of updates to the Week 1 schedule for the New York football season.

   The slate of games includes 10 contests in the Kickoff Classic at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse beginning with a Thursday doubleheader:

  • Fairport vs. Cicero-North Syracuse, 5 p.m.
  • Corning vs. Baldwinsville, 8 p.m.
   Saturday, Sept. 2
  • West Genesee vs. Syracuse Nottingham, 11 a.m.
  • East Syracuse Minoa vs. Brighton, 2 p.m.
  • Vestal vs. Utica Proctor, 5 p.m.
  • Ithaca vs. Auburn, 8 p.m.
   Sunday, Sept. 3
  • Phoenix vs. Port Byron, 11 a.m.
  • Batavia vs. Johnson City, 2 p.m.
  • Horseheads vs. Hilton, 5 p.m.
  • Syracuse Henninger vs. Syracuse CBA, 8 p.m.


   Sec. 3 rolls out an update: Section 3 unveiled a new look Thursday, unveiling a redesigned website containing information on its 32 sports offerings and 104 member schools.

   "It will enable our Section the ability to match the excellence that the student-athletes are already exhibiting by promoting them in way like never before," John Rathbun, the section's executive director, said in the announcement of the rollout. "It also lets us build upon our previous site by adding more individual information while allowing us to take more advantage of the latest multimedia platforms that our fans use to follow Section III Athletics."

   Also new online: Justin Rodriguez has been covering sports in the Section 9 area for a couple of decades and football site


   That coverage now comes via a new vehicle. Rodriguez launched Section 9 Football Insider this week, hitting the ground running with several features and also breaking a bit of news:

   Updating the list: Pete Tobey at The Post-Star in Glens Falls has made his annual update to the recap of the greatest area football games of the past half century.

   It's easy to keep up the enthusiasm for these sorts of labor of love when you're coming off a season in which Glens Falls and Cambridge both brought home state championships, but the project is truly impressive.

   A good read: Mikey Brannigan was a stellar competitor in distance running at Northport, with his accomplishments including the two-mile championship at the 2014 New Balance Outdoor Nationals. As many know, Brannigan's autism has been a hurdle keeping him from competing at the college level but not from scoring international successes such as a gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in the T20 classification last year.

   Edith Brannigan, the runner's mother, wrote a column for about the family's experiences and offering some very sensible advice for dealing with adversity. The highlights:

  • 1. Don't believe the predictions of coaches, teachers, or well-meaning friends about your child's athletic future as absolute.
  • 2. Do not see an athletic scholarship or even a gold medal as the ultimate goal.
  • 3. Respect the sport.

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