Grid Notebook

Carmel Rams are headed to first Class AA final since 2008.

Yorktown Advances to Class A Final, Gets 100th Win for Coach Rescigno

Carmel Advances to Class AA Final for 1st Time Since 2008, Powerhouse New Ro’ up Next

It was just two weeks ago when Carmel Coach Todd Cayea recorded the 150th win of his 25-year career along the Rams’ sideline, and it took just 15 years for 1995 Carmel graduate and YORKTOWN Coach, Mike ‘House’ Rescigno, the former All-NYS two-way lineman, to notch the 100th win of his Cornhusker career.

Rescigno’s Huskers (8-1), the No. 5 seed, won the battle within the trenches in Friday’s Class A semifinal victory, handing defending champion John Jay-Cross River (8-1), the No.1 seed, its first loss, 20-7, the Indians’ second loss in two years.

“Great players, great families, great assistants… I’ve been so blessed,” said Rescigno. “That’s all it is.”

It is way more than that: It’s a phenomenal leader of men along the highest rank. It’s a head coach that works as hard as any to gain an edge. It’s a respected mentor with a connection to student athletes; those who play for him and those who simply roam the hallways and attend classes. It’s the linking of players, staff, administration and families, which is the foundation of great programs. Mike ‘House’ Rescigno brings it all.

“Coach ‘House’ is an exceptional football coach, but an even better human being,” said former All-Section Husker and current Notre Dame lax star Jose Boyer. “He never once points the finger at anyone but himself. He never takes credit, when he deserves all of it. He is one of the most selfless and humble people I’ve ever met in my life. I wouldn’t have been the football player I was without him, but I would certainly not be the person I am today if it weren’t for his role in my life. His 100 wins is obviously an incredible milestone, but he’s positively impacted the lives of hundreds of young men, which I know means way more to him. Also, I can almost guarantee he celebrated his 100 victories by preparing and watching film for win 101.”

As for win No.100, Cornhusker senior RB Dylan Smith, who leads the section this season with 1,468 yards (10.4 per carry), led the way with 34 carries, 200 yards and two touchdowns, enabling Yorktown to reach its third Section 1 final in four years.

“Our boys came ready for a fight,” Rescigno said. “Our kids play emotional. They have a sincere passion for this family. Honestly, they fight for each other like they are blood. There were kids on that field that willed themselves to fight through pain and physical exhaustion. I can guarantee you one thing: Our guys don’t ever stop. You can count on that. I am so proud of their relentless attack and leadership. This is a special group.”

Yorktown, the state runner-up in 2017, will have to go through third-seeded Rye, to win its sixth sectional title since 1993. The two Class A perennial powers will kick it off Friday (7:30 p.m.) at Mahopac High School for the right to represent Section 1 in the state tournament. Rye, a six-time sectional champ since 1993, knocked off second-seeded SOMERS, 28-20, to advance.

The Yorktown game turned on the dime when Smith trucked a Jay DB from two yards out for the game’s initial score with 10:18 left before half. On the ensuing kickoff, fiery Yorktown senior Dean Patierno gathered a fumble, caused by senior Evan Makar, and scooted 38 yards to paydirt for a 13-0 lead just 12 seconds later.

Yorktown’s defense was at its best: The Huskers limited Jay’s up-tempo, hifalutin attack to just 136 yards from scrimmage. Yorktown LB Benjamin Robinson picked off Jay QB Luke Mercer just before halftime. DL Johnny Bowen recorded a sack, and his mates put relentless pressure on Mercer, who entered the game with some gaudy stats (963 rushing yards with 17 TDs and 874 yards passing with 13 TDs).

“Our defense played lights out,” Rescigno said. “The game plan was phenomenal. I need to credit our players and my staff. Their effort is literally unmatched.”

Yorktown’s O-line – Eddie Capone, Gerald Gentile, Jack Tinari, Matteo Cermele, Mike Benzinger and Johnny Bowen – won the battle up front, and will have to do so again against a Rye team that held Somers to 213 yards from scrimmage.

Additionally, the Garnets (8-1) gave senior QB Declan Lavelle a clean pocket all night, limiting Somers to just one sack and a couple of hurries. If Yorktown can’t get pressure on Lavelle, it could be a long night. Lavelle turned the Somers game in his favor with a late first-half TD drive, capped by a 30-yard, jump-ball scoring toss to WR Matthew Tepedino into triple coverage, which turned a 13-point deficit into a manageable 20-14 halftime score. Rye went on to score three unanswered TDs in all, two in the pivotal third quarter, while holding Somers to one first down, including a crucial 4th-and-one stall on Somers’ 34-yard line with 2:50 to play.

Somers looked like it was in control before the final Garnet drive of the first half, leading 20-7 when WR Kenny McGrane and QB Jackson Kossow hooked up a nifty 10-yard connection with 35.6 seconds left in the half. Somers senior RB Charles Balancia got the Tuskers on the board first, jetting in from 39 yards out at 8:40 of the first. Lavelle answered to tie the score at 7-all and Kossow gave Somers back the lead, 14-7, from two yards out with 5:31 till half.

“We played our hearts out, but we simply fell short of our goal for the season,” Balancia said. “The momentum switched on us going into halftime and when it looked like we were going to pull away with the game, penalties killed us.”


No.2 CARMEL played a complete game in every phase of football in its 48-7 Section 1 semifinal stomping of No.3 Spring Valley Friday. The Carmel Crazies were out in force, watching senior RB James Cox steal the show. Cox rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns and senior QB Andrew Nunez ran for one touchdown and threw for another as Carmel moved on to its first sectional title game since 2008 against state-ranked (No.3) New Rochelle, arguably the best football program in the state.

Carmel’s offense chewed up chunks of yards, 455 in all, 316 on the ground. Cox took a pitch 49 yards for the game’s initial score and followed with a 24-yard TD jaunt. He then plowed home from four yards out, set up by a 39-yard pass from Nunez to WR Colby Opromola (65 yards receiving, 1 TD). Carmel senior RB/WR Alex Beauchesne scored a 10-yard run after he’d hauled in one of four catches for 66 yards from Nunez. Beauchesne totaled 91 total yards rushing and receiving. Zach Aiello scored the Rams’ other touchdown on a six-yard run.

The key for Carmel against New Rochelle will be a strong start; either by limiting New Rochelle on offense or matching them score for score, which isn’t likely, so the Carmel defense, like it has all season — while holding teams to an average of eight points per game — will need to find another level.

The four-time reigning champion Huguenots have copped the Class AA title 13 times since 2000, including five of the last seven while the Rams haven’t challenged for the sectional title in over a decade (2009) and last won one in 1998.

“My kids are on a mission,” Cayea said of the Rams.

His kids have been fueled since a season-opening loss to John Jay-East Fishkill, a game in which the Rams, winners of eight in a row, were half the men they are now.

“We’re definitely ready for the moment,” Carmel TE/DE Will Boalt said “There’s a lot of hype surrounding both teams, but we’re just going to prepare as hard as we possibly can and come out on Saturday with a purpose.”