No.4 Brewster to Host No.5 Yorktown in Juicy Quarterfinal No.9 Hen Hud Shocks Nyack, No.6 Somers Crushes No.11 Byram, Both Advance
Quarterfinal Friday is upon us, and the matchups are both juicy and intriguing; starting with No.5 Yorktown and No.4 Brewster in what should be a shootout of epic proportion this Friday (7:00 p.m.). No. 9 Hen Hud will also visit No. 1 Rye this Friday (7:00 p.m.), while No. 6 Somers looks to avenge a 40-3 Week 3 loss at No. 3 Lourdes on Friday (7:00 p.m.).
The big question facing Yorktown is how the heck Coach Mike Rescigno’s Huskers (5-2) intend to stop the weaponry coming out of Brewster (6-1), which advanced to the quarterfinals after a 35-13 win over visiting No.13 Walter Panas last Saturday.
Yorktown, which advanced in blowout fashion – a convincing 42-0 shutout of visiting Beacon – has had momentary lapses on defense, which it can ill-afford against a Bears offense that can score in bunches, including FB Jeremy Meissner, HB Jack Guida, QB Matt Catalano and pass-catching RB Kevin Blank… to name a few
Guida tied the Panas game at 7-all midway through the second, at which point the Bears took over for good. Panas had taken a 7-0 lead when QB Brandon Hodge found WR Erik Otero for a 48-yard score on the game’s opening drive, but the Brew Crew defended like their lives depended on it from that point forward.
Meissner (two rushing TDs) bulled in from 21 yards out on the next series and Guida tacked on another score from nine yards out just before the half for a 21-7 lead. Guida, a patient, slithery runner who denies initial contact, added a third score early in the third quarter and the rout became official. Brewster Coach Ed Mulvihill heaped praise upon his offensive linemen — Jake Hay, Evan Pfiel, Manny Costales, Connor Dignan, Jaden Milano and TE Nick Panucci — for their continued improvement and stellar play in the trenches.
“Yeah, they got the job done,” Mulvihill said. “They have helped us average 8.5 yards per carry. They have been getting better every day. We will need them at their best if we want to play with Yorktown. We saw them on film and in person and they look great. Not sure how anyone beat them. We need a great week of practice.”
Yorktown will have its hands full with the 15-year-old Guida, a junior with a great deal of promise. Likewise, Brewster will have to deal with Husker HB Nick Santavicca, who continued his record-setting career by going for 220 yards and three touchdowns in the rout of the Bulldogs. Husker QB Jose Boyer poses a dual threat for the Bears after passing for 113 yards and rushing for 135. Boyer hit on 5 of 7 pass, including a TD pass to good looking sophomore WR Brett Makar, who finished with 73 yards on three grabs. Tyler Makar added a 28-yard catch for the Huskers, who, remember, were considered Class A pre-season favorites by anyone with a measuring stick. That has not changed in the minds of the Huskers.
In essence; what we have is two prolific offenses, going up against a pair of defenses that have been susceptible at times this season, which could lead us down a high-scoring road that would have both “The Crop” and “The Brew Crew” in full throat by Friday night.
“I think we will be able to just be us and do our thing,” Santavicca said. “We need to play fast, up-tempo offense and hard nose D. Brewster is a very good team, but I think we’ll be ready to go and well prepared. It should be a good game.”
The Bears, who haven’t been to the playoffs in three years, relish a crack at the 2014 runner-ups.
“We can’t wait to play Yorktown this week,” Catalano admitted. “It’s been three years since Brewster has been to the playoffs and our team is ready. Our defense played stellar and it will continue into this week. Defense is going to be big this week because they have two quick offensive threats: Nick Santavicca and Jose Boyer. Our offense has been a machine these past couple weeks; starting with our offensive line. They have been amazing and it’ll continue into this week. Our backs, as usual, have been animals just running through defenses and they don’t plan on stopping. It’s going to be a very physical and interesting game and we can’t wait to get a chance to play them.”
Oh, it’s on!…
SOMERS will be looking to pull off a major upset against a Lourdes team that truly had its number several weeks back; but that was when the Tuskers were feeling a tad sorry for themselves. Junior RB Messiah Horne, who lit up Byram Hills with three TDs and 120 yards, sat out with an injury, and the team was dealing with the loss of injured senior captain Tom Castelluccio for the year. Clearly, Somers was in a bad place that day and it showed. That was then, this is now, but Lourdes (5-2) has also improved and enters the clash as the more seasoned squad, complete with a No.24 NYS ranking.
After a 55-27 win over Byram Hills in the play-in round, Somers (4-3) is hitting on all cylinders offensively. Somers QB Kevin Olifiers hit on 3 of 3 passes for 96 yards and a score to AJ Butlien while FB James Lucadamo went for 80 yards rushing and a score, providing balance to Horne’s explosive burst.
The big question is whether or not the Somers defense can stand tall in the face of Warriors QB Dean Rotger, among the most prolific signal callers in the section. Sophomore DL Nick Garguilo and DE Aldo Kaczmarkiewicz will need to lead a critical charge up front to pressure Rotger if the Tuskers are going to stand a chance.
Somers DL Erik Hagenah picked off a pass and rumbled 40 yards for a score just before the half. Tusker FB James Lucadamo rushed for 80 yards and a score while WR AJ Butlien s fagged a 37-yard TD pass for the Tuskers, who are simply building a foundation for what should be two tremendous seasons in 2016-17.
HEN HUD’s 23-20 overtime triumph of Nyack was one of two things; either its biggest win since the 2005 Bowl win over Lakeland or the biggest win since its 1999 semifinal win over Rye, which produced its last Section 1 title appearance against a boy named Sammy Maldanado, arguably Section 1’s all-time running back.
“All I could really tell our guys in the post-game huddle was how proud I was of them,” Hen Hud Coach Mike Lynch said after the Sailors improved to 3-4. “There were so many times in that game where our guys could’ve lost hope and packed it in. Whether it was falling behind 13-0 in the first half or being down two scores in the fourth quarter, missing the go-ahead extra point late in the fourth quarter, or missing the game winning field goal as time expired, but they never, for one second, wavered. A ton of credit to our offensive line who didn’t allow a sack in the second half on 20 pass attempts.”
With time, Sailor junior QB Nick Cunningham (16 of 22 for 201 yards and 2 TDs) stepped up and took advantage of the opportunity he was given. Hen Hud’s receivers were the beneficiaries, including Jordan Artope (6 receptions, 68 yards), Joe Pecchia (6 receptions, 50 yards), Marquan Anderson (3 receptions, 58 yards, 1 TD), Jack Attinelly (2 receptions, 26 yards, 1 TD) and Alan Jackson (2 receptions, 16 yards). Anderson also drilled the 31-yard game-winning field goal.
“Nick played extremely well, engineering a late scoring drive in the second quarter and throwing two TD passes in the fourth quarter to bring us all the way back,” Lynch said. “I can’t say enough about our senior captain Jordan Artope. He showed he was more than just a runner with his six receptions five of the six going for pivotal first downs in the second half. I’m just so very proud of our guys for their ability to overcome all of the adversity.”
Ray has 33 years experience covering and photographing local sports in Westchester and Putnam counties, including everything from Little League/Travel Baseball to varsity high school prep sports and collegiate coverage. He has been a sports editor at Examiner Media since its inception in 2007.