Very few changes this week but I sense a few coming as we head into the Section 1 playoffs. How about you?
1. New Rochelle (5-0, Last week: 1): The offense struggled at times in a 23-12 win over White Plains but New Ro was New Ro, playing solid defense and making more than enough plays to win. The Huguenots don’t always look like a da Vinci, but they are extremely effective. New Ro’s defensive mentality is a winning one for sure.
2. Stepinac (5-0, Last week: 2): The Crusaders should advance comfortably against 1-4 Bishop Ford this week. Ford has played better than its record, losing three by just a touchdown, but Stepinac is a step up in competition. Right now, there’s really not much more to say about the Crusaders than enjoy the show.
3. Iona Prep (4-1, Last week: 3): Funny. Iona went from a team that appeared to have major concerns to one that rips off impressive, no-doubt-about-it wins against AAA schools. It must be nice to have such a prolific offense, but credit the defense, too, which is often overlooked. The D may actually be the Gaels’ key to competing with St. Anthony’s in a couple weeks.
4. White Plains (4-1, Last week: 4): In no way, shape or form will I drop the Tigers, who lost to the top team in the poll. If they didn’t play well enough to win, they certainly played well enough to stay in the game despite going without two top seniors. If Terrelle Eaton and Khadrey Merot return, White Plains is definitely the second-best team in AA. Heck, maybe even without them…
5. Mahopac (5-0, Last week: 5): The top five remains the same this week but No. 5 came oh, so close from dropping. The Indians trailed Ketcham by two scores without the ball midway through the fourth quarter yet found a way to win. That impresses me as much as it scares me. But Ketcham is a better team than its record indicates, so don’t fault Mahopac too much for falling behind.
6. Harrison (5-0, Last week: 6): Speaking of teams that almost dropped, what would we have made of the Huskies had they lost to Spring Valley? Well, it doesn’t really matter. Now, all they care about is Rye, which, in case you haven’t heard, looms tomorrow afternoon.
7. Poughkeepsie (5-0, Last week: 8): I agree with 10960. Not enough of you have given Poughkeepsie proper respect. Whether they had the better team or not is irrelevant. The Pioneers still went into Somers and Greeley back to back weeks and were rude to their hosts, sending both home with their first loss. If Poughkeepsie can do the same to John Jay this weekend, the rest of Class A better watch out. This team is dangerous.
8. Clarkstown North (4-1, Last week: 7): Like the two above them, the Rams held serve. Really, they did more than that, turning in another excellent defensive performance, this time vs. Ramapo. Clarkstown South will arrive at North tonight with nothing to play for but pride, but South will carry that into the game in abundance. I expect a competitive game.
9. Bronxville (5-0, Last week: 9): Playing without your best player and STILL beating a team that may be your stiffest competition for the championship bodes very well for Bronxville. I mean, insanely well. It may not bode well for the rest of the Class C teams that have to face the Broncos in the playoffs. Oh boy.
10. Roosevelt (4-1, Last week: NR): Based on its head to head win, the Indians deserve the 10th spot. They look like an improved team and will get to prove it against Eastchester, which probably craves nothing more than a chance to say it beat one of League A-South’s four playoff teams. That said, you have to value the continued maturity of QB Alton Ritter, who has taken Roosevelt on as his team. His leadership — and that of the deep senior class — will make the defending champ a playoff threat.
* 11. Nyack (4-1, Last week: NR): Although Nyack needs Donny Davis back, Mark Castellano showed he’s a heckuva fill-in as the team’s top ball carrier. Davis should get more rest this week against Saunders. That means he’ll be sounds and ready to go for the playoffs, where Nyack will enter as a very dangerous team. Remember: The Indians may be one twist of an ankle from 5-0 and co-Class A favorite.
On the bubble: Yorktown, Rye, Ketcham, Horace Greeley, Arlington.
* I was alerted to a mistake I made, which is why Nyack is now No. 11.
MY TOP 5 BY CLASS
1. New Rochelle
2. White Plains
4. Clarkstown North
4. Our Lady of Lourdes
4. Dobbs Ferry