Grid Notebook Yorktown Rides Santavicca Shuttle to 32-21 Win over Greeley Somers, Lakeland, Panas Remain in Playoff Hunt; Mahopac, Carmel Alive in AA

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James Fennessy
James Fennessy

Had he busted off one more big gainer, YORKTOWN junior Nick Santavicca would have broken John Fennessy’s school record of 364 rushing yards. Instead, the horse that Yorktown rode to its 32-21 victory over host Horace Greeley last Thursday, settled for 328 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 31 carries in a performance Yorktown Coach Mike Rescigno called typical of a kid who lives for football.
The state-ranked (No.10) Huskers improved to a perfect 5-0 as Santavicca ran non-stop through arm tackles and gang tacklers like a river runs through New York, taking off on TD jaunts of 54 and 44 yards.
With 920 yards through five games, Santavicca is on course to shatter the Yorktown single-season rushing record of 1,103 set by the standard-bearing John Fennessy (2008), who also holds the single game mark of 364 yards.
Lost in the Santavicca Shuttle was Husker RB Tim Forbes three TD plunges.
The Huskers remain the No.1 seed in League A for now, and the four playoff teams are essentially settled with SOMERS defeating host Eastchester, 28-7, on Saturday. Yorktown (5-0, 4-0), Somers (4-1, 3-1), John Jay (4-1, 3-1) and Beacon (4-1, 3-1) are locks to make the playoffs, all that remains are the seeds.


Yorktown's Nick Santavicca chugs for some of his 328 rushing yards in 32-21 win over Greeley.
Yorktown’s Nick Santavicca chugs for some of his 328 rushing yards in 32-21 win over Greeley.

Don’t look now but the two-time defending champion Tuskers are raring into playoff form after a strong second half against the Eagles. Somers senior FB Tim Fazzinga had nine carries for 70 yards and a TD to spearhead an attack that was held to 212 yards. RBs Chris Abatecola, Matt Morgante and Matt Senzamici all rushed for scores and Morgante went the pick six route for 39-yard TD. The D-Line is doing its thing, led by Brendan Smith (recovered a fumble) and junior stud Tom Castelluccio (10 tackles).
The Tuskers will host Beacon in Week 6, a team John Jay made short work of in Week 5. The most interesting game remaining on the League A docket is the Week 7 tilt between Yorktown and host John Jay, which is shaping up as a potential track meet. Yorktown’s depth and trench advantage makes the Huskers the road favorite going in, but there’s a reason we put the kids on buses and travel to play these games… anything can happen. But what a way to end the regular season as two compadres – Rescigno and Jay boss Jimmy Clark – seek the potential No.1 seed and a home playoff game.
After proving they could run with state-ranked Rye in a wild Week 4 loss, WALTER PANAS stayed very much alive in the Class A playoff hunt with a 58-14 shellacking of visiting Pelham.
Panther QB Justin Lee threw for 182 yards and four TDs for Panas (3-2), two of which went to Zack Saad. Lee is slowly evolving into an MVP for the Panthers. RB Tyreek Jackson had a career game, going for 75 yards and a pair of scores. Emeka Carranza, Steve Signorelli and Nayquan Harris each added a score for Panas. DL John Cursio was a beast on the other side of the ball with four of the Panthers’ 11 sacks (D-Coord. Kris Brandt must have went nuts).
The Panthers, who are a lot better than most people thought they would be after losing so many seniors to graduation, will hope to prepare to keep their playoff hopes alive in Week 6 when they head to BREWSTER, a surprising 26-24 loser to Spring Valley. Panas has now scored 105 points in the last two games and Brewster’s leaky defense will be up against it in a non-league game that has no bearing on the playoffs; it is essentially prep for a Week 7 do-or-die showdown with Sleepy Hollow.
Brewster (1-4) led 12-7 after the first quarter but crumbled down the stretch, allowing a score in every quarter, but the fact of the matter is they may have tapped into the back of the future as junior FB Jeremy Meissner had a breakout performance with a career-high 147 yards and a TD on 12 carries. HB Joe Buonadonna added 97 yards and a score for the Bears, who are playing for nothing but pride right now. The Bears can tap into their inner beasts this week and find some solace with a win over a Panas program that has become somewhat of a rival in recent years. It is a meaningless game in terms of Panas’ teetering playoff hopes, but it would sure throw doubt on the fire if the Bears can rock the Panthers’ worlds.
LAKELAND’s Anthony Capozzi was up to the task in the Hornets’ 34-7 Homecoming Day win over PUTNAM VALLEY, scoring three TDs, including an electrifying 80-yarder. Lakeland improved to 3-2 in an otherwise meaningless game; in that it had no bearing on the playoffs.
RB Kier Maley added a pair of late TDs as Coach Rob Cappelli’s Class A Hornets (3-2) tossed the Class B Tigers (2-3) a second-half beating they had not suffered the likes of this season. The win sets up a Week 6 doozy with visiting Sleepy Hollow, who the Hornets must defeat Saturday to control their own destiny in the playoff chase. Lakeland still holds the tiebreaker over Panas, but both teams face Sleepy over the next two weeks. If Sleepy knocks off Lakeland, Panas must defeat the Headless Horsemen to stay alive with the tiebreaker favoring the Hornets, who have a real shot of surviving and making the playoff for the first time since 2009. Amazingly enough, after a really bad loss to Byram Hills, the Hornets can still end the post-season drought by winning out or getting some help from a Panas loss to Sleepy.
In MAHOPAC’s 33-0 thrashing of visiting RCK (0-5), the pink-clad Indians fought breast cancer in fancy fashion, going airborne on the arm of lefty QB Dan Foley. The junior fired a pair of first-half TD strikes to WR Angelo Martinez for a 16-0 halftime lead and the Indians improved to 3-2 while remaining alive in the Class AA playoff hunt in fourth place in the league, behind John Jay EF, Arlington and Mamaroneck.
It was a day of career-high for many of the Indians, according to Coach Tom Donahoe, who watched his team synch up on both sides of the ball. The day belonged to Foley, who fired a career highs in completions (17), yards (285) and attempts (40), and FB Max Littleton, who rushed for a career-best 187 yards and three scores. Littleton, a two-way menace, added 11 solo tackles (four for a loss), seven assists, a sack, two forced fumbles and two recoveries on an absolutely sick day. Martinez also finished with a personal-best six grabs for 155 yards and two scores.
The Indians have to know that on their best day they can contend with any team in Section 1, as evidenced by their terrific back-and-forth effort with state-ranked John Jay EF, despite it being a close loss. That should bode well if they head into the playoffs as a potential No.4 seed, knowing that a top-flight effort could produce the desired results.
If the Indians win in Week 7 against White Plains, which they should, they would lock up the final playoff spot and make the post season for the first time since 2010. That could set up a potential playoff game against the highly-anticipated New Rochelle/Scarsdale winner in Week 6.
(This scribe apologizes for misreading the standings last week and putting Mahopac in dire circumstances regarding its playoff chances)
CARMEL (3-2) and RB Colton Anderson made short work of Mt. Vernon in a 35-0 beat-down and will now prepare in earnest for their loathsome Mahopac Indian rivals. Mahopac has had Carmel’s number in many of the major sports the past few years, but the football field could be the place that eliminates the nasty taste Rams’ fans have in their collective mouths. Nonetheless, Coach Todd Cayea’s Rams will have to win in Week 7 at New Rochelle if the aim to make the post season.
HALDANE stated its case to be taken seriously as a Class D power this season in a 28-22 win over Blind Brook. QB Tyler Giachinta plowed paydirt with the winning score with under 2:00 left, and the Blue Devils have to believe they have what it takes to compete with state-ranked (No.9) Tuckahoe for the Class D crown the Tigers have owned since 2011. It’s shaping up as a whale of a title tilt if the Blue Devils can continue to improve.
Giachinta (2 rushing TDs) also hit on 6 of 13 passes for 138 yards, five of those aerials connecting with dependable WR Ryan McCollum (1 TD, 121 yards). Blue Devil FB Matt Balducci bashed the 100-yards mark once again, rushing for 120 yards and a score on 17 totes. He added four tackles for a loss on D.
“This was a huge win for our program, as it proved to our team we can go on the road and compete with anyone,” Blue Devil Coach McConville said. “Tyler Giachita scores on a QB run with under two minutes left to put us up six an our defense stopped them to end the game. Blind Brook had the ball our 45-yard line and Ryan McCollum broke up a pass on third down and Chris Pidala and Tanner Froats applied the pressure on fourth down to force the QB to roll to his right and stepped out of bounds before he could find an open receiver. This week we made the big plays when we needed to and got that last big stop to win the game.”
PEEKSKILL may be playing in a Yonkers-heavy developmental league this season, but at least the Red Devils are developing. At 5-0, Peekskill is building a base that might put this once-prideful program back on the Section 1 map. After a string of very rough seasons in the main stream, that is something worth applauding.

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