2015 JC SCOUTING REPORT
written by TJM
Johnson City has not fared so well against M-E in the last eight SPARCAT matches, but is the last local team to defeat Maine-Endwell in a section IV title match. Behind the leadership of quarterback Jake Spalik, lineman Dequon Jones, tailback Bryan Palmer and wide receiver Troy Robinson, the 2009 Wildcats stole a championship from Maine-Endwell after being defeated in a 6-0 regular season mud-bowl hosted by the Spartans earlier that year. The following year, M-E would win the first of its last five section four championships, four of which translated into state championship titles. While it’s been all M-E in section four for the last five years, JC looks to have some fire power in 2015 despite having lost two games.
If nothing else, Johnson City will enter Spartan Stadium led by a division-one caliber linebacker bound for Boston College and a 215lb running back that has proven tremendously tough to bring to the ground. While most teams have at least one or two very good skilled guys, these two Wildcats have the ability to change a game’s outcome. 6-3, 280lb. senior Adam Korutz (33) has been a staple in the JC defense for some three years and is committed to Boston College. As a linebacker, they don’t build them much better than this kid, but he is joined by the team’s offensive standout Dominic Nadz (20) who doubles as a linebacker when not carrying the ball. In the defensive backfield, they unite to create a formidable stopping unit, backing up a lot of football sense with nearly 500 lbs of meat and muscle on just two sets of feet. Each of the two were instrumental in Johnson City’s victory’s over Union-Endicott and West Genesee and will be key players in the JC lineup this weekend. Continuing with the size theme, JC boasts a 6-4, 195lb senior quarterback in Jake Thompson (10). Thompson can really throw the ball and does a good job of it even while under pressure. A big kid that sees downfield well, Thompson is probably more dangerous if he’s squeezed out of the pocket. On the run, he’s as effective as any section four quarterback and with the skilled hands of Nadz and wide receiver Kenneth Johns (4) running routes for JC, the passing looks may very well be what M-E will need to be the most diligent to defend against. However, in 2015 coach Deinhardt appears to be mixing it up a bit. Along with the threat of number 20 running out of the backfield, JC will look to counter with senior running back Stephon McDonald (3). McDonald is also quick and athletic, but JC can really throw a team off by running one of their senior lineman out of the backfield. Traditionally a guard and defensive tackle, big Arlind Malziu (56) has been seen coming in at fullback on a couple of series.
Maine-Endwell enters the rivalry coming off a 28-0 silencing of the otherwise undefeated Vestal Golden Bears in week four. Now the undisputed, unchallenged holder of the record for the most consecutive wins in New York State history, M-E has a lot of momentum as they prepare for their meeting with the Cats. The Spartans have begun to harvest the diverse fruits of the 2015 season which have reached maturity and are making a big impact. Senior running backs Johnny Cerra and Drew Gallagher have begun to find their respective niche’ carrying the ball for M-E. Cerra has been a flat out speedster with a ton of cut-worthy mention, while Gallagher appears to have overcome a sometimes tentative method of running the outside, opting for a clean cutback. Against Vestal, Gallagher attacked seams off-tackle with a great deal more vigor. Blasting his way into open space where his considerable athleticism was able to take over, Gallagher was rewarded with a number of big-yardage first downs. With three healthy running backs and an outstanding quarterback that both runs for big numbers and can throw equally well, Johnson City will have its hands full. However, M-E has also begun to dial in its long passing game which sees Mike Palmer leap into action. Palmer has been outstanding in 2015 catching everything within five feet of him and turning it into huge yardage and that’s without really even utilizing his considerable talents. Simply stated, any team defending against M-E had better place their fastest, most intense, and most agile athlete opposite Palmer or risk a large number of touchdown passes falling into his hands.
Friday night does not carry the best weather outlook, so it may be wise to dress accordingly. Interestingly, it was the 2009 regular season SPARCAT battle against JC that Maine-Endwell last played in the rain on their own turf, only then the turf was actual mud and grass. This time around is sure to be a slippery proposition on the Spartan turf and should make for yet another adventurous SPARCAT championship.