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Saturday, April 9, 2016: Oswego's proposed budget drops football, wrestling

   Leading off today: I believe you won if you had Oswego in the pool for which school district would be the first to propose solving some its budget woes by eviscerating its sports programs.

   Facing a $5 million funding gap, the Oswego City School District's proposed budget for the next school year cuts 51 positions and eliminates all modified sports plus some varsity and JV teams, including football.

   "It's heartbreaking that we are in this position," first-year Superintendent Dean Goewey said.

   Goewey, who has agreed to take a $27,140 cut in his salary, said the district used $3 million in reserves and raised taxes by nearly 10 percent to balance the current budget. Going forward, however, revenue projections are troublesome. The annual PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) funding from Exelon Corp., which owns Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, is scheduled to decrease by $3 million.

   The proposed budget of $79,510,611 is 4.2 percent less than the current budget but still carries a 2.5 percent tax increase.

   Besides football, varsity sports on the chopping block as a way of saving $364,474 are football cheerleading, girls ice hockey, wrestling and indoor track. More than half the savings would come from dropping all modified sports.

   Projected job cuts include eight elementary classroom teachers plus three from the physical education department.

   The school board will meet again on April 19 and the public will vote on the budget on May 17.

   A reliable NFL vet exiting: I attended the Section 5 Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner Thursday night, where former Webster Schroeder great Carl Garritano, a two-time NYSSWA player of the year, was among the honorees.

   Timing being everything, another New York State Sportswriters Association selection to the 2001 Class AA first team, made news just hour later. Offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson, a scholastic star in his days at Freeport, made a decision to retire from the NFL's New York Jets rather than take a substantial pay cut.

   Ferguson, 32, started in all 167 regular-season and playoff games during his 10-year career after being selected fourth overall out of Virginia in the 2006 NFL Draft. But that's not the most amazing fact regarding his consistency and durability.

   Chew on this slightly insane fact: The Jets ran 10,708 offensive plays during his time with the team. Ferguson was on the field for 10,707 of them.

   The one play he missed was the last snap of the 2008 season. Down 24-17 with seven seconds left and the ball deep in their own end of the field, the Jets swapped out their offensive linemen and inserted their "hands team" in anticipation of a rugby-style, multiple-lateral play. (Trivia: Darrelle Revis lined up at Ferguson's left tackle spot.)

   Pro Football Talk also reports Ferguson never missed a practice and never appeared on an injury report.

   More Timon changes: Last week's news out of Bishop Timon-St. Jude was that the school was making a substantial upgrade to its football schedule by agreeing to play games in Georgia, Texas and Ohio.

   This week's development for the Monsignor Martin Association school is a change in coaches with an eye toward attracting more hockey players into the program. Gene Overdorf, 62, is being let go and replaced by Matt English, well known in the youth hockey ranks around Buffalo.

   "We think he can get some kids who play hockey into the school," AD Charlie Comerford told The Buffalo News. "Gene was a great ambassador for Timon, and did a

fantastic job with our hockey program. ... We've been competitive. ... I just think we needed a change to bring some new kids in."

   Overdorf went 78-53-9 in six seasons with Timon.

   Football coaching changes: Jamie Casullo, 12-5 in two seasons, stepped down as coach at Westhill. Casullo, 35, became a first-time father in February when his wife, Heather, gave birth to a son.

He isn't ruling out a return to coaching in the future.

   Tim Hawkins, who'd previously said he would have to step down, will return for a fourth season at Jordan-Elbridge. Superintendent James R. Froio said Hawkins, 16-10 in three seasons after inheriting a 1-7 squad, "was able to re-arrange his schedule and commit to the team. We are very pleased to have him back." reported East Syracuse Minoa assistant Jason Trousdale, who was expected to get the J-E job and had already resigned from his ESM position, was able to get his job back.

   Ryan Kendall will replace 12th-year coach Joe Gilfus at Thousand Islands as Gilfus focuses his energy on his position as principal in accordance with the school board's vision for administrators.

   Gilfus led the Vikings to three division titles during his tenure, including this past season. Kendall, a social studies teacher in the district, has served as an assistant coach for three years.

   Kingston should have a candidate for its vacant football position ready for the board of education to consider within two weeks, the Daily Freeman reported. The new coach will succeed Jeramie Collins, who stepped down after seven seasons.

   Changes in destination: tweeted that 6-foot-8 sophomore Sloan Seymour, who averaged 17.6 points a game for the Albany CBA basketball team this season, has transferred to Shaker. CBA was 10-0 when he scored 20 or more points.

   Howard Washington Jr. is reportedly on the move again. Third-team all-state in Class A for Canisius in 2014 as a sophomore, he moved to Florida for now quite two full seasons at national powerhouse Montverde Academy.

   However, the Indianapolis Star reports the point guard left that school before the end of the season and is expected to enroll at Athlete Institute Basketball Academy in Mono, Ontario, and reclassified as a 2017 graduation candidate. Coincidentally or otherwise, Washington was granted a release from his National Letter of Intent by Butler University, though his father told the paper the Bulldogs are likely to remain in the recruitment picture.

   First-team all-state running back Dakota Harvey, who carried Saratoga to the NYSPHSAA Class AA football final last fall, will enroll at Trinity-Pawling School, a prep school about two hours south of Saratoga.

   Harvey rushed for 1,555 yards and 24 touchdowns on 162 carries while also totalling 68 tackles and six sacks on defense in 2015.

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