Leading off today:
Don't show up on Saturday expecting the New York Shootout Presented by Nike to be another Empire State Games.
On the other hand, you can expect a high level of play and competition at Syracuse Henninger High School as boys lacrosse teams from eight regions across the state participate in the trial balloon for what could be a multi-day competition as early as next year.
"I put an idea to the group that maybe next year we go a week earlier and have a two-day event," organizer Tom Hall, the NYSPHSAA boys lacrosse coordinator, said this week.
The goal this year, Hall said, is to help players gain some of the exposure lost when the ESGs went belly-up for the year because of the state's budget problems.
"They let the Empires slide, which was a mistake on their part," Hall said. "We wanted to do this for the kids."
There are six sessions scheduled, starting at the top of each hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on two fields. Teams will face off in 23-minute halves (no overtimes) of running time with no timeouts and substitutions will be done on the fly. And although you know competitors will be tracking wins and losses along the way, there will be no "championship game" at the end of the day.
The eight 24-player rosters were shaped from tryouts held last month for players who have high school eligibility remaining; a $40 tryout fee eliminated a lot of players who would have otherwise shown up for the experience but had no chance of making the squad. Some coaches also required candidates to have a recommendation from their varsity coach.
The event is free for spectators, and Hall said the concession stand will be open.
O-A goes with first-time head coach: This could be interesting. Oakfield-Alabama's new football coach arrives from a school that doesn't even play the sport, The Batavian reported.
Brian Palone, who graduated from Oakfield-Alabama in 1998, takes over this fall for John Dowd, who compiled a 50-12 record over the past six seasons and won two Section 5 championships.
Palone has taught at Naples for the last six years, coaching varsity baseball for the last three seasons. He was an assistant coach at Caledonia-Mumford for two seasons, including the Red Raiders' last state title team