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Class C Westlake Rumbles Past Valhalla; Class A Mahopac, Brewster Win & In
By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
The second season has officially begun and the reigning champs in Class AA, A and B have secured the top playoff seeds, including CARMEL, SOMERS and PLEASANTVILLE, respectively.
State-ranked (No.1) SOMERS (7-0) secured the No.1 seed in the Class A playoffs when the 2021 NYS runner-up Tuskers completed a third-straight undefeated regular season behind three TD strikes from Matt Fitzsimons (14 of 16 for 269 yards) in a 38-7 rout of visiting Sleepy Hollow Friday.
Fitzsimons added a rushing score. Ravi Dass Jr. (4 catches, 69 yards), Mason Kelly and Mac Sullivan (4 catches, 57 yards) all snated a TD pass, including Kelly’s electric 60-yard aerial. Tusker WR Tyler Ostrander added three catches for 77 yards.
Steady-as-can-be Tusker kicker Luke Savino added a 34-yard field goal and went 5 for 5 on extra points while adding the game’s initial touchdown from 14 yards out.
No.B4 BREWSTER (4-3), a 49-12 winner over Nyack, will visit No.A1 Somers Friday (7 p.m.) in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Bears saw QB Missimo Parrello rush for three TDs and 96 yards on 11 carries to lead the way in the playoff-clinching win. RB Joe Anfuso added two rushing TDs and 127 scrimmage yards. Kevin Fox and Mohammed Barrie also found paydirt for the Bears, who saw sophomores Ryan Brace (7 tackles, forced fumble) and Nick Smith (5 tackles, INT) lead the defense. AJ Pieragostini and Derek Karlsson each grabbed a sack for the defense.
“Nyack is young due to some injuries but they play hard and are coached well,” Bears boss Ed Mulvihille said. “We were happy with our energy and our execution all night. We’re playing better ball and defensively we have made progress all season. We get the opportunity to play the #1 ranked Class A team in NYS now. People like to talk about what they “would have” done in a certain situation, but we get the chance to go out there and play. We’ll be excited and give them our best.”
MAHOPAC senior RB Joey Koch is having the kind of season that could/should garner All-NYS recognition. Koch took 16 carries for 114 yards and two TDs and added a 71-yard TD catch from his brother, Danny, in the Indians’ 28-12 playoff-clinching win over host Clarkstown North Friday. The Koch boys were at it on specials, too, Danny delivering a punt to the house.
The speedy Joey Koch, who is a load to bring down, is now on the brink of a 1,000-yard rushing season (988) to go with 14 touchdowns on just 116 carries.
The hogs up front – including OL’s William Brann, Michael Coppola, Liam Dodd, Tommy Jacobellis, Anthony Porco and Liam Scanlon – are getting it done, according to Coach Dom DeMatteo.
No.A3 Mahopac (4-3) will visit No.B2 Harrison (7-1) in the opening round of the playoffs.
Harrison, ranked No.16 in NYS, put a 59-0 drubbing on FOX LANE, sending the Foxes to 1-7. Rye threw a 35–0 beating on LAKELAND, which fell to 3-5. YORKTOWN suffered a 42-21 loss to Clarkstown South and fell to 4-4, just shy of a playoff berth. Senior RB Justin Meyreles led the Huskers with 89 rushing yards and a score while QB Kaden Gonzalez fired a pair of TD strikes to Andrew Weissman and Justin Price. Ryan Vogel had six solo sticks and three assisted tackles on D for the Huskers.
CARMEL (7-0), the reigning NYS champs, crushed North Rockland, 28-7, to earn the No.1A seeded and will face No.B4 Scarsdale (4-3). The winner of the No.A3 North Rockland (4-4) at No.B2 John Jay-East Fishkill (6-1) would be up next for the state-ranked (No.4) Rams in the sectional semis.
The Rams rumbled for touchdowns in each quarter against North Rock, three of which came from senior RB Nick Rosaforte, who finished with an additional 122 yards on 12 carries. QB Matt Gay added a rushing score for the Rams. Jeremy Smith led the defense with seven tackles while Matt Risley added six.
State-ranked (No.5) PLEASANTVILLE continued to watch in awe at the play of multiskilled junior Daniel Picart, who rushed for three TD’s and 159 yards on 23 carries (and 243 yards in total) in the Panthers’ 27-12 win over visiting Ardsley. Picart added a fourth TD via a pick-6 on defense. The undefeated Panthers (7-0) earned the No.1 seed in the playoffs and will face No.8 HEN HUD (1-7), a 29-28 loser to host BRIARCLIFF/HAMILTON (2-6) which earned the No.7 seed and a trip to Byram Hills (7-1) for the opening round of the Section 1 tourney.
Hen Hud gift-wrapped the victory for the Bears (2-5) on their Senior Night. B/H WR Adam Harris stuck a two-point conversion on the hands of Chris Harper for the final margin after scoring a pair of receiving touchdowns in the 22-point come-from-behind win over the Sailors. Trailing 28-7, B/H recovered a pair of onside kicks by Thomas Megrano and scored on the ensuing possessions. QB Ben Raphael finished 10 of 18 for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Desmond Saw created three turnovers for the Briarcliff/Hamilton defense, including the last key fumble with the Sailors driving at midfield on their final possession. The Sailors, who marched up and down the field (375 rushing yards on 45 carries), could only look on in dismay as B/H celebrated an improbable win.
BYRAM HILLS, ranked No.13 in NYS, continued on its path of dominance in a 21-13 win over host Nanuet, securing the No.2 seed in the playoffs. Of all people, it was ‘The Unit’ George Gjelaj, who got the Bobcats on the board first with a sack and fumble return to the house. The two-way All-Section lineman had himself a day, getting in on 10 tackles, four solos and two for a loss. Byram WR Sean Siegel hauled in a 13-yard TD pass from QB Jon Accurso for a 14-6 lead, and RB Luke Weiler dashed 46 yards for a 21-6 lead after Weiler nailed his third PAT.
“George Gjelaj continues to be excellent in all phases on and off the field,” Byram Coach Simon Berk said. “Early in the game, he broke through the line and took the handoff from the QB and raced into the end zone for a defensive TD.”
“Nanuet’s defense was tough all afternoon,” Berk added, “but receivers Sean Siegel and Tyler Marescot made some big plays with Luke Weiler running tough between the tackles.”
The Bobcats played without the services of two-way star Gavin Javorsky, who should be set to return for the playoffs after sitting out under precautionary measures.
Accurso finished with 70 yards passing, hitting on 8 of 16 and one TD. Securing the two seed means the Bobcats get another home game against Briarcliff/Hamilton next Saturday at 1:30 pm. Siegel (3 catches, 17 yards, TD) added an interception on defense and over 100 yards on specials.
WR Tyler Marescot (3 rec, 39 yds, TD, 6 rush yds, blocked PAT) had a big game, and the Byram defense had six sacks.
WESTLAKE did some major damage with its vaunted ground game in a 33-14 defeat of VALHALLA, all but securing the A-1 top seed. Valhalla will likely get the A-2 seed and be forced to face state-ranked (No.7) Dobbs Ferry in the Class C semis. Westlake junior RB Chris Kalle crushed it, ripping off 124 yards of offense while dashing for three scores. RB Christian Occhipinti ran roughshod as well, going for 232 yards and a TD for the Wildcats (5-2), who cannot be ignored any longer by state pollsters as they could be headed for a head-on sectional-final collision with the flying Eagles of Dobbs Ferry in an effort to rep in the state tourney. Viking QB Brendan O’Neil threw a pair of touchdowns for state-ranked (No.18) Valhalla.
Class D HALDANE won the small school battle for Putnam County supremacy in a 32-21 win over Class C PUTNAM VALLEY, which squandered a 21-8 lead by allowing the Blue Devils (5-2) to rip off three unanswered scores in the second half. Tiger Rick Meister scored on both sides of the ball and QB Thomas Cunningham rushed for another, but it was all Haldane from then on. Blue Devil Luca DiLello took a 38-yard fumble return to the house and QB Ryan Van Tassel rushed for the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 21-16. Van Tassel then rushed for a one-yard score and the second of three two-point conversions and rugged Haldane RB Evan Giachinta followed with his second TD of the game to give the Blue Devils the lead for good.
“We had three costly turnovers in the second half, one interception, one scoop and score fumble, and a second fumble lost,” said PV Coach Ryan Elsasser of the 2-5 Tigers. “After coming out of the gate strong to start, we lost our momentum in the second half and started to make some mistakes that Haldane took advantage of. Coach McConville does a great job at Haldane with those kids and they were full of energy in the second half of the game. Unfortunately, we came out flat and were not able to match their level of intensity. The game came down to mental mistakes and we made too many of them while Haldane took advantage of them and put points on the board.”
WALTER PANAS put a 33-hurt on Ramapo, and the Panthers (6-2) earned a berth in the semifinals where they will host the winner of Edgemont and Port Chester next week.
HORACE GREELEY won its seventh-straight game, 43-24 over Hastings as the league’s defending champion improved to 7-1, and secured a berth in the semifinals to host Spring Valley next week.
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.