Somers Topples Yorktown, 21-7, for No.1 A-North Seed

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Huskers Secure No.2; Carmel No.1 Seed in Class AA-B; P’Ville Tops in B; Meister Sets Records at PV

By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
QB Mac Sullivan
Somers QB Mac Sullivan picks up a convoy of blockers as he scores game’s initial TD in Tuskers’ 21-7 win over host Yorktown Friday.

Since the last time SOMERS had lost to a Section 1 opponent (a 2019 semifinal playoff defeat to sectional champion Rye), the US federal government has added $12 trillion in debt. To put it in even greater perspective, the last time Somers lost to a Section 1 foe, nobody – outside of those cooking it up – even knew what COVID was. That’s the kind of tall order host YORKTOWN was up against Friday night on a rain-soaked Charlie Murphy Field.

The first quarter featured a ton of chirping, a slew of penalties and turnovers, and a driving rain that made for sloppy play, but after things had settled down, including the rain, state-ranked (No.1) Somers, the reigning NYS Class A champions, snapped a 7-7 tie with a pair of fourth-quarter scores to win the game, 21-7, and claim the League A-North title outright while defeating its 34th consecutive Section 1 foe.

The sixth-ranked Huskers (7-1, 4-1) gave the Tuskers (7-1, 5-0) fits for three-plus quarters, Yorktown’s harrowing defense forcing Somers into uncharacteristic mistakes while bogging down a Tusker attack that had had their way with opposing defenders since the aforementioned loss to Rye.

But it was the Somers defense that played lights out for four quarters. The key stop came after Yorktown had sustained a nine-minute drive but missed a field goal late in the third quarter. The Tuskers responded in kind with an 11-minute, game-sealing drive, for 14-7 lead after RB James Balancia plowed in from three yards out with 4:05 to play.

Somers took a 7-0 lead when WR Miguel Iglesias took a handoff, eased into passing formation near the Huskers’ 45-yard line and found Luca Ploger for a 42-yard connection to set up first-and-goal at the three. Somers QB Mac Sullivan followed a pair of blockers on the next play for a 7-0 lead after Luke Cukaj nailed the PAT.

Yorktown QB Kaden Gonzalez picks a hole in Huskers’ 21-7 loss to visiting Somers Friday.

Yorktown took advantage of a couple of rare mistakes by Sullivan, who is having an All-NYS-type campaign. A sully interception and a couple of Somers penalties gave Yorktown the short field it needed to knot the score at 7-all when Huskers QB Kaden Gonzalez connected on fourth-and-11 with Tyler Galante to set up first-and-goal at the three. Bruising Husker RB Dylan DelVecchio found paydirt on the next play and Ronan Forde added the PAT, with 10:31 remaining in the half.

And that is where she stood for quite some time, locked in a 7-7 battle between a pair of programs that respect each other but really have no love lost.

“It was a battle,’” Somers captain Ryen Cole said. “We came out a little slow but were able to come together on offense. Our QB Mac adjusted and started running the ball like a beast. Our O-line really rallied, too. Definitely was an intense game. Got a little chippy but that is expected with of course the big rivalry and then the league title on the line. I’m really proud of our defense too. We are really starting to come together and just swarming the ball and not letting passes off. It was an awesome test.”

Somers RB Mason Kelly’s 44-yard touchdown jaunt in the final minutes provided the final margin. He finished with 93 yards on 11 totes against some tough sledding. Sullivan finished with 63 yards and a score on 12 carries, including several to move the chains in key situations.

#WeThreeNicks led the Somers defense in tackles: Nick Creco (10), Nick Conti (9) and Nick Newman (8). Somers allowed just 88 passing yards and 89 on the ground.

Yorktown, while having suffered its first setback of the season, will now prepare for the opening round of the Class A playoffs where No.2-North Yorktown is back at Murphy Field Friday to host No.3-South Clarkstown South (3-4), winner gets the No.4N Mahopac vs. No.1S Harrison.

“As a team we played solid but not our best,” Gonzalez admitted. “Even with the conditions, we gave ourselves a shot and played through all the adversity. They are known for how tough they are. Hopefully, we will see them again.”

Cole doesn’t care who it is but expects his No.1-N Tuskers will challenge for the marbles on the campus of Arlington High School on Friday, Nov.10 (6 pm). Top-seeded Somers will open with visiting Pelham in Friday’s opening round with the winner moving on to face No.2-S Eastchester vs. No.3-N Fox Lane in the semis.

“It definitely was a big test for both sides,” Cole said. “(The sectional title) is always the goal for us. No matter who we meet there, we will be ready.”

Fox Lane junior RB Declan Connors, who carried 35 times for a career-high 231 yards and two TD, looks for running room as Brian Bailey sets up block in host Foxes’ 24-21 win over JJCR.

Both FOX LANE and MAHOPAC had their postseason lives on the line Friday and both came up strong; the Foxes doing so behind a 24-21 last-second win over John Jay CR and Mahopac overcoming a slow start to produce a 21-0 win over visiting BREWSTER on senior night at the ’Pac where senior RB Danny Koch had a career day. Koch smoked the Bears for 149 yards on 22 carries, including three to paydirt. He added five catches for 51 yards from QB DJ DeMatteo (7 of 16, 66 yards passing, 41 yards rushing). Sophomore LB Micahel Trinchitella led the WolfPac with a career-high 10 tackles while Nick Tardio and Owen Ryan checked in with eight apiece.

Fox Lane K Jack Fabry sent the home crowd home happy after his game-winning field goal secured the victory for the Foxes (4-3).

Junior RB Declan Connors had what some would call a career day, rushing 35 times for a career-high 231 yards and a pair of scores to lead an offense that rushed for just shy of 300 yards.

Senior LB Theo Friedman had six tackles and a 33-yard pick-six right before the half.

Senior DE Brian Bailey had 9 tackles (2.5 TFLs) and 1 big sack (-9 yards) late in the game.

Senior LB James Minotti had seven tackles (1 TFL) and two batted balls.

“Overall, I am thrilled with the victory,” Fox Lane Coach Andrew Giuliano said. “We played a solid first half and were strong defensively. We paced the ball on offense with Declan, and the defense, while we miscommunicated a few times, we were able to collect ourselves and make some stops and some big plays.  The message at halftime was to not stop. We knew they were a dangerous team with some playmakers so the message was to keep playing strong cause we knew they could do some things.  It can be expected for kids to step up and make huge plays like John Jay did. I just wish we could have limited them to only one of them. They had three or four monstrous plays in the second half, which led to them tying the game 21-21 in the third.  “

Mahopac RB Danny Koch went scorched earth on Brewster, scoring three TDs in WolfPac’s 21-0 win over visiting Bears Friday.

“Self-inflicted wounds hurt us bad, which is what I am most disappointed in,” the coach added. That all being said,  I knew we still had a chance once we composed ourselves. Last week’s victory (over Mahopac) definitely has instilled some of that confidence we wanted to develop in our guys. We are happy to see the program becoming relevant again. That is our goal and has been our goal since I took over in 2021, relevancy. Tons more work needs to be done to continue to progress that goal, but we are on track taking it game by game, year by year to do so. Next week is big.  Eastchester is well coached, and they are having a terrific season.  We look forward to another great challenge. Next step is getting the kids locked in for practice Monday.


CARMEL prevailed the elements and North Rockland, 17-6, to secure the No.1-B seed on the opposite side of the bracket from No.1-A Arlington, but the opening round playoff draw won’t be easy as No.4 New Rochelle will pay the state-ranked (No.21) Rams (6-1) a visit Friday. Arlington will open up against a vastly improved OSSINING club that exceeded expectations this year. The Pride (4-4) are led by RB Anthony Lofaro, who has been an absolute beast this year (1,145 rushing yards, 17 TDs).

The two-time reigning sectional champion Rams are hoping to be among the last two standing on Saturday, Nov. 11th (6 pm) when the AA sectional playoffs will conclude on the campus of Arlington High School.

Carmel bell cow RB Tristan Werlau scored a rushing TD and WR Damien Santiago snagged a TD pass from QB Christian Nunez while the Rams’ defense was its typical stout self.


For PLEASANTVILLE, Friday’s 36-8 thumping of host Nyack was just another brick in the wall for the state-ranked (No.3), two-time reigning sectional champions, who could be on yet another collision course with top-ranked, two-time reigning NYS champion Maine-Endwell (Sect.4)  in what would be a riveting state championship three-match in early Dec. #CartB4TheHorse.

The two-time state runner-up (2021-22) Panthers (7-0) saw 2022 NYS Class B Player of the Year Daniel Picart take the first handoff of the second quarter to paydirt for a 6-0 lead the Panthers would never relinquish after a slower than anticipated start. P’Ville QB Aidan Picart then found Erik Coleman for a 30-yard TD strike before Aidan advanced a two-point conversion for a 15-0 lead at 9:20 of the second quarter. Not to be outdone, Daniel Picart crossed the plane from 26 yards out for a 22-0 lead with 3:41 left to half, and the rout was officially on.

After yet another three-and-out by an improving Panther defense, Nyack fumbled the snap on the ensuing punt, and Coleman found it free in the endzone for a P’Ville TD and a 29-0 halftime lead. Daniel Picart added his third TD of the game for a 36-0 lead late in the third while eclipsing the 7,000-yard mark for all-purpose yards in his incomparable – by Pleasantville standards – career.

Putnam Valley senior RB Ricky Meister set the school record in Friday’s win over Rye Neck for career rushing yards (1,723) and career TDs (17).

The Panthers are expected to run through the first two rounds of the Class B playoffs in the hopes of challenging for a third-straight title on Saturday, Nov.11 (3 pm) at Arlington High.

No.8-seeded PUTNAM VALLEY will be the first playoff team in P’Ville’s path to Syracuse after PV handled Rye Neck, 32-0, on Senior Night in the Valley, in quite the rain storm.

Put Valley senior Ricky Meister continued his bell-cow season for the Tigers (5-2), rushing for 144 yards on 17 carries, including three TDs while establishing school records for career rushing yards (1,723) ) and career touchdowns (21), according to Coach Ryan Elsasser.

“Breaking the school rushing record was a goal of mine since the beginning of the season,” Meister admitted. “Breaking this in our last regular season game was awesome and got me and the boys pumped going into playoffs. This couldn’t have been done with my O-line, they pave the way every play and make it easy for me.”

QB Thomas Cunningham rushed for 90 yards on seven carries, including a TD. Rory McGinty was 2/3 on PATs. Defensively, Jack Gilhooley had a scoop and score for a TD while A.J. Altreche (fumble recovery, 2 TFL, sack), Matteo Dobra (6 tackles, fumble recovery), Andre Tarrant (6 tackles, including 3 sacks, fumble recovery), Caden Glenn (sack) and Alex Gecaj (2 TFL’s) all played pivotal roles.

“I am so proud of this group of kids,” PV boss Ryan Elsasser said. “Many of them have pushed through a few rough years staying in Section 1 and it is fantastic that the seniors were able to wrap up their regular season 5-2. They are moving really well on both sides of the ball and we are starting to see some big plays made all around.

“Ricky Meister has been a workhorse all season,” the coach added. “He was able to clinch the school record for career rushing yards and career touchdowns this week and he definitely deserves it. He put a lot of work into prepping for this season and he is a competitor every time he steps onto the field. With the support of Caden Glenn and Alex Gecaj pushing guys around in front of him and Cunningham as another run option at quarterback the offense is moving pretty well. Our defense has been a strong point of the team all season. They came up huge again with some major plays. To their credit I believe that they have only let up around 400 yards rushing over the seven regular season games staying under 40 yards in 4/7 games. They have not made it easy to move the ball on the ground.”

The Tigers will face a stud back in Daniel Picart – the likes of which they have not seen – in many, many moons. Picart has eclipsed a school record 7,000 career all-purpose yards and Putnam Valley will be hard-pressed to stop him.

The winner moves on to face the No.4 Pearl River vs. No.5 Lakeland survivor in the sectional semis.

LAKELAND, the No.5 seed, has had a season to remember as they honored the Hornets’ 1983 bowl champions prior to a 13-0 win over BYRAM HILLS, which failed to reach the Class B playoffs after a 2022 season that saw the Bobcats (2-5) reach the finals.

WR Kyle Gallagher (7 catches, 100 yards, TD) and QB Grady Leonard (12-18, 115 yards, TD) were locked in through the air while Robbie Policastro (11 rushes, 40 yards, TD) did some damage on the ground for the Hornets (5-3), who will visit No.4 Pearl River (ranked No.21 in NYS) in the opening round of the playoffs. Bubba Baumeister (5 tackles), Nick Alleva (4 tackles, INT), Luca Sancimino (4 tackles) and Nick Ferrante (4 tackles, sack) led a ferocious defense. Should Coach Ryan Shilling’s vastly improved Hornets find their way past Pearl River, Pleasantville would likely lie in wait.


WESTLAKE held off HALDANE, 16-14, in an epic battle between the state-ranked (No.3) Wildcats (Class C) and No.8 Blue Devils (Class D). Westlake remained undefeated and in position to secure the No.1 seed after a Homecoming Day triumph that featured Stephen DiNapoli 43-yard catch and run late in the fourth quarter to set up Anthony Nigrelli’s game winning 28-yard field goal.

After trailing 14-7, Westlake (6-0) began its scratch-and-crawl to victory by taking the opening second half kickoff in for a score behind a Chris Kalle four-yard, spin-and-win TD at the goal line to cut the deficit to 14-13 with 4:47 left in the third. Westlake also capped an 86-yard drive when FB Chris Arrichiello punched in a one-yard TD for a 7-0 lead with 2:00 left in the first.

Haldane responded in kind like the Blue Devils (5-2) often do this season. RB Evan Giachinta scored from three yards out and WR Michael Murray (3 grabs, 25 yards) hauled in a 15-yard TD pass from QB Ryan Van Tassel (49 yards rushing, 59 passing) for a 14-7 lead after a pair of PATs by Erik Stubblefield.

VALHALLA fell to 3-4 after a 35-18 setback to Bronxville.







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