So this will be the first of four new camp previews. Obviously, I had an opportunity to check in with Sleepy Hollow, John Jay, Mount Vernon and Roosevelt, so I’ll share more on each over the weekend.
First up is Sleepy Hollow. The Horsemen are moving back up to a very deep and difficult Class A this season and will have to overcome the loss of three very key offensive players: RB Bobby Small, QB John Bucci and WR Chris Fahey.
In what is probably the worst sentence I’ll write all day, Small’s loss is definitely the biggest. He rushed for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. That included 300 yards and three scores in the Class B semis against Pleasantville to put Sleepy into another Section 1 final. It eventually lost to state finalist Nanuet.
The men who replace Small will not be new names. You’ve already talked about them here: junior L.J. Garrant and senior Kayzon Stovall. Both pass-catching and running threats last season. Garrant even excelled with the ball on special teams where he was one of the most dangerous return men in the section.
Senior Dondrey Sharrock earned all the reps at Pride Camp on Thursday. He not only threw the ball often, he threw it well, and appears to have the edge to earn the QB job. The Horsemen will probably need to develop all the threats they can. The Class A schedule is daunting, beginning with the opening game against Rye. In fact, in an ironic twist (ironic if you’re not from Sleepy, I guess), Sleepy won’t play Saunders because Sleepy has the smallest enrollment in Class A and Saunders has the smallest. Instead, when taken into perspective (i.e. pound-for-pound, class-for-class, whatever you want to call it), the Horsemen’s schedule may be the single toughest in the section:
Sept. 11, vs. Rye
Sept. 16, at Harrison
Sept. 25, vs. Roosevelt
Oct. 2, vs. Eastchester
Oct. 8, at Nyack
Oct. 16, at Spring Valley
That’s bru-tile. Still, head coach Steve Borys shared a strong sense of optimism. He likes this team. He stressed that to me, but he also stressed it to his players after they’d finished up a strong two or three hours at White Plains on Thursday. They had stood toe-to-toe with White Plains and Mount Vernon, he said, and Borys wasn’t kidding.
Sleepy should be about more than just its pair of backs. MLB John Randazzo is the brother of Joe Randazzo, an all-section player on the 2004 Class B finalist. Only two starting linemen were lost to graduation. Those who return have some talent, led by senior Jerae Williams. To my novice eye, they provided Sharrock ample time to throw on Thursday.
Sleepy’s schedule is so difficult it’s almost impossible to predict how it’ll handle to move back to A. I mean, Rye and Harrison in five days? That’s no joke. But the Horsemen certainly have the talent to challenge bigger, deeper opponents. Like Borys told his team, they already accomplished that on Thursday.