After a one-year absence, the Route 12 rivalry returns tonight at 7 p.m.. Second-year Oxford coach Mike Chrystie had his share of battles against Greene between the lines, but this is his first as a mentor on the sidelines.
Greene coach Tim Paske sports a 2-2 mark against Oxford over his first five years, and other than a 12-point win over the Blackhawks in his rookie campaign, every contest has gone to the wire. “The two towns are only 13 miles apart, and the kids on each team see each other quite a bit through the year,” Paske said. “It’s always good to compete against a close neighbor, and this rivalry has a lot of history. Fathers used to play in the game, and now their sons are playing in it.”
Paske eyes this as step one up the ladder toward the goal of making the postseason. He has a wealth of experience returning, and plenty of new faces with promising potential. At last weekend’s scrimmage, the Trojans more than held their own, and in most cases got the better of the opposition.
“We just want to get off the ball tonight and execute,” Paske said in summing up the game’s keys.
Chrystie is long on skill position players, but lacking the veteran experience on either side of the ball. In the Blackhawks’ rugged four-way scrimmage against Chenango Forks, Vestal, and Delhi, Chrystie felt his team made enough good plays to be optimistic. “We didn’t exactly light it up, be we came away healthy and executed some good things,” he said. “Any time you can play well in a scrimmage like that, it usually works out well when you get to the division.”