Carmel Improves to 3-0; Mahopac O’ Falters in 21-0 loss to Jay EF

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While Carmel High hasn’t exactly been world beaters, Coach Todd Cayea’s Rams (3-0) are beating the teams on their schedule and making a name for themselves on the Class AA grid circuit. Carmel has beaten three lackluster foes, including last Friday’s 20-6 win over host Suffern, giving them three victories over teams with a combined 2-7 record, including Mount Vernon, Ramapo and Suffern.

9-25 Mahopac’s Andrew Marchionni and Danny Good (79) lead the way for Nick Russo in 21-0 loss to John Jay. Photo by Bill Kennedy

WR Joey Gervasi and freshman QB Joey Rodriguez hooked up on a nifty 63-yard aerial to set up Carmel’s first score of the game, a one-yard plunge from Chris Vozzela at 1:10 of the first quarter. Rodriguez, looking primarily like a polished veteran in the pocket, then found Gervasi for an 18-yard scoring strike and a two-score lead. On Carmel’s next scoring drive, Rodriguez scrambled for 26 yards, setting up his own one-yard scoring sneak. J-Rod’s development has been as rapid as rain in Seattle, and his skill sets indicate potential greatness. That is the buzz about town, should he continue to work it.

The opponents have been underwhelming, but Carmel will take the 3-0 start. That’s about to change this Saturday when the Rams find out for sure if they are contenders or pretenders as they host a middle-of-the-road Clarkstown North (2-1) team in what will be the 226th game filmed by producer Stu Pratt over the course of 25 years.

Since he first started filming football games at Carmel in 1988, Pratt, perhaps the one constant there, has seen three Carmel principals, four superintendents, four ADs and four head coaches come through the Carmel system.

He has put five of his own through Carmel schools, plus he and his wife (1970 grads). He was on the Carmel Board of Education for six years (1991-1997) and president of parents association for four years and had at least one child in the Carmel schools from 1977-2005 (28 straight years).

“I guess I’ve got some deep, deep roots in the Carmel School District and community,” said the 2009 Carmel Hall of Fame inductee Pratt, who said the Heitman brothers, Frank and Eric, were largely responsible for the two greatest games in Rams history; including Carmel’s 22-21 victory over Mahopac in 1991 (orchestrated by Frank), and a 37-35 championship loss to Roosevelt in 1996 (with Eric under center). “I have highlight films of every year in my archives and I love to take them out once in a while to watch. I love to talk Carmel football, and Section 1 football. It’s been great fun for me over the years.”

Pratt has seen the Rams go 143-77-5 while serving as Carmel’s eye in the sky, but the 2012 season will be his last. He hopes to spend more time with his children and grandchildren, including those fathered by former Carmel star Mike Rescigno, Pratt’s son-in-law, who now coaches a reputable Yorktown program.

He may not be there every week beginning next season, but he’ll come around as long as he welcomed because: You can take the boy out of Carmel, but you can’t take the Ram out of the man.

Not that anyone needed affirmation, but Coach Cayea (109-57-2 career record) can coach some: The New York Giants recently selected Cayea as “The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week” for the week of September 17 after the Rams shutout the Ramapo Gryphons 9-0.

In recognition of Coach Cayea’s success and commitment, he will receive a certificate of recognition signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin and a $1,000 check will be granted to the Rams football program.  Coach Cayea will be acknowledged by a stadium announcement when the Giants host the Cleveland Browns on October 7th and an announcement will also be posted on the Giants website,

Cayea, now in his 18th season at Carmel, is widely considered to be one of the foremost offensive thinkers in Section 1. Throw in the fact that he gets blood from a stone and can motivate grandmothers to gang tackle and you have yourself a coach worthy of such honor.


After losing its Class AA championship rematch with reigning champion North Rockland in Week 2, the 2011 Class AA runner-up Patriots were all business in a Week 3 shutout against the Indians (1-2). Mahopac will host Arlington this Friday in a must-win game.

Mahopac will have to lay it all out on the line this Friday when the Indians host a winless Arlington team that is dying to get off the schneid in Week 4. Week’s 5, 6, and 7 should be absurdly tough with former five-time champion New Rochelle, 2011 semifinalist Clarkstown South and undefeated rival Carmel, respectively, on the horizon.

Mahopac’s defense has been stout but its offense has been throttled by two of Section 1’s finest defensive units (Jay, North Rockland). The tribe should get going again this week against Coach Dominick DeMatteo’s Admirals (0-3), who find themselves, surprisingly, winless. Still, Arlington took New Ro’ deep into the fourth quarter, locked up in a one-score game before falling 14-0. Arlington’s offense has struggled to score the ball, averaging just under 7 PPG.


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