Red Raiders earn berth into playoff quarterfinals
North Rockland gridders to confront mighty Arlington; Spring Valley and South also show strength, are matched up
BY MARC MATURO
Does it get any tougher than this? Does it get any better than this?
The undaunted North Rockland High School football team, which salvaged its season by winning three of its last four games including back-to-back wins over Clarkstown North, now faces the unenviable task of challenging undefeated Arlington in a Class AA quarterfinal.
The contest pitting the Red Raiders (4-3) against the Admirals (7-0) is scheduled Friday night at 6 p.m. in LaGrangeville. “No matter, we still have two games to play,” said North Rockland Coach Tom Lynch, whose team opened the season way back when against another powerhouse, New Rochelle.
“We’re getting better and that’s good, but we’re still making a lot of mistakes. We’re young.”
Jayden Cook, one of the sterling underclassmen, played a key role last week when No. 8 North Rockland defeated No. 9 Clarkstown North, 21-14, in a qualifying round game. Cook, a sophomore who spent a year at St. Joseph’s before returning home, made a key interception in the end zone in the third quarter to stop a North drive, then on offense he won a jump-ball battle over a defender for the winning touchdown.
The decisive TD came as Jeff Abrams, another sophomore, hooked up with Cook late in the game, leading 14-7 and facing fourth and 15 at the 21. North put together an 80-yard march behind Jake Katz, connecting with Brian Fuller to make it a one-score game. A final threat was thwarted near midfield on an interception by Chris Marchena.
The Red Raiders, who had beaten North in overtime, 35-34, to end the regular season, received an outstanding game from defensive lineman Hervens Mulatre, a senior with collegiate potential who was named lineman of the week. Abrams, who was making his first start, is expected to get the starting nod against Arlington after his 14 of 26 for 162 yards and a touchdown performance. If not, Dylan Senatore, who was at wingback against North, can also man the QB position.
Other solid efforts turned in against North were Bradley Garland, with seven catches for 84 yards, and Lamar Seward, who had a 39-yard TD scamper to open an early 14-0 lead. For Clarkstown North, Michael Piscani had 17 carries for 93 yards and a TD and Katz went 7 of 19 for 108 yards, but was intercepted three times.
Hendrick Hudson 20, Tappan Zee 14: In a Class A qualifying round contest at Montrose, the 10th-seeded Dutchmen took a 14-12 lead on Ryan Holder’s fourth-quarter punt return but the Sailors, the seventh seed, responded with a 62-yard scoring march engineered by quarterback Nick Cunningham. Tappan Zee had put itself at a 12-0 disadvantage with a season-high three turnovers in the first half.
Clarkstown South 24, Mahopac 6: In a first-round game of the Class AA tournament at West Nyack, Vikings senior Kyle Samuels, a two-way dynamo, opened the scoring with a 43-yard jaunt and later scored on a 35-yard reception from Matt Jung. Also leading the cause was Ryan Thomas, with 125 yards and a touchdown overland on a mere seven carries. Michael Tagaris, a converted soccer player, was 3 for 3 on extra-point attempts and capped the scoring with a 32-yard field goal. The Vikings host Spring Valley Friday night at 7 p.m.
Spring Valley 17, Fox Lane 14: In a Class AA qualifying round game at the Torne Valley Sports Complex in Hillburn, the sixth-seeded Tigers (6-1) survived against the 11th seed Foxes on a last-second 25-yard field goal by Estive Bustos-Cevallos. Michael Maynes set up the decisive kick with a 49-yard run, and senior defensive back Isaiah Dean returned a fumble 85 yards for the game-tying touchdown to close the third quarter. Maynes finished 99 yards rushing while Dean carried nine times, also for 99 yards. The Tigers of Coach Andrew Delva visit Clarkstown South on Friday night at 7 p.m. looking to earn their first semifinal spot in the playoffs.
Rye 56, Pearl River 28: In a Class A playoff qualifier, the Garnets continued to roll behind Jamie Chabot, who ran for 132 yards and three touchdowns.
Nanuet 22, Blind Brook 0: The host Golden Knights were led by Jake Stein, who rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown, and Connor Breit, with 86 yards and a TD on the ground. Aedan Gallagher added a 35-yard scoring toss to Mike O’Meara.
Albertus Magnus 13, Ardsley 12: Quarterback Benny Storms had 39 yards on the ground and threw for 132 and two scores to spark the Falcons. With time running out the Panthers failed to convert a 33-yard field goal try.
Red Raiders on the run: North Rockland, fueled by Katelyn Tuohy’s 18:17.1 clocking over a 3.1-mile layout that led the entire field of 270 girls, finished second in the varsity 3 race at the Section 1 Coaches Invitational cross country championships at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls. Classmate Haleigh Morales trailed Tuohy, followed by Noelle Feeney in eighth place, Kerry O’Connor in 17th and Britney Pezzementi, 23rd. Suffern placed third in the team competition, sparked by Kamryn McIntosh, who was seventh, and Rachel Ludwikowski in ninth.
Nyack complex on schedule: Nyack High School, which last year added a grass softball field and a turf field for soccer and lacrosse, is on schedule to introduce a new 8-lane track which will be striped for football and field hockey. The school is also adding a turf baseball field baseball field, which will be lined in the outfield for field hockey. The softball and lacrosse/soccer field were completed in the fall of 2015. Construction of the stadium field and bleachers and the baseball field began this July and most likely will be completed in December, with the track to follow in the spring. MacCalman Field, across from Nyack Hospital, will be used by modified teams for practices and games and for the JVs when there are conflicts.
COLLEGIATE CLIPS: North Rockland High School alumna Shannon Thomas of Garnerville, a key member on the women’s volleyball team at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, has been named the Mid-Hudson Conference Athlete of the Week. Thomas helped lead the third-place Hawks last week with 62 kills, 40 digs and 9 solo blocks over 12 sets. … Freshman back James Hennessy of Tappan scored his first career goal as the SUNY New Paltz Hawks defeated visiting No. 7 SUNY Oneonta, 1-0, for the first time since 2010 and handed the Red Dragons their first loss since September 5. New Paltz (6-3-6, 2-3-1 SUNYAC) now has eight league points heading into the last weekend of the regular season on Friday and Saturday still fighting for a postseason berth. … The Oswego Lakers field hockey team is laden with standouts from Suffern, to wit: freshman midfielder Riley Mallett, sophomore defender Emily Conklin and senior midfielder Julia Calandra. The Lakers are at New Paltz on Friday and at Oneonta on Saturday. … Ramapo High School alum Mezu Agwu of Pomona, a freshman forward, is waiting to make his debut on the men’s basketball team at Purchase College, while Ramapo HS grad Michael Pelham is prepping for his junior season as a guard with the Panthers. Purchase is scheduled to make its season and home opener on November 15 at 7 p.m. against Vaughn College.
THIS & THAT: The family of longtime East Ramapo coach Dave Sachs, who passed away suddenly on October 10 at the age of 68 from a heart attack, requests that memorial contributions is his memory can be made to: Special Olympics, Attn: Web Gifts, 1133 19th Street NW, 12th