It’s Tuesday and we still have three days before the first Section 1 semifinal. But here’s a look at some of the stories we’ll tell this weekend:
1. Who is the Class A favorite? This was a discussion on tonight’s show. A listener asked if Greeley beat John Jay and John Jay beat Poughkeepsie, doesn’t that make Greeley the favorite? But I responded that Greeley lost head to head to Poughkeepsie. And, remember, Harrison beat John Jay, the team that beat Poughkeepsie, which beat Somers and Greeley. So is Harrison the favorite? But Harrison lost to Rye, which lost by three TD to Somers.
Hopefully, you get my point. It’s a runaround trying to figure out Class A. So you’re guess about who will win is as good as mine. (Well, your guess is better. Mine, Nyack, lost by two TDs last week.)
2. Is New Rochelle vulnerable? I’m not sure, but Saturday was the first time I considered the idea. Despite a 21-0 victory, the Huguenots did not look sharp against North Rockland. Lou DiRienzo made a fair point to me, saying that rematches in the playoffs are tough because you already reveal certain tendencies to the opponent and you have to change some of what you do. I agree with him there. But the offense will need to protect the ball better to ensure a win over Yorktown. Despite the fumble that went for the winning score, the ‘Huskers outplayed White Plains last week, outgaining the Tigers 380-316.
3. Injuries. There are a number of key injuries to watch out for during the week. New Rochelle TE/DT Anthony Caldararo played perhaps the best all-around game of his career last week, but he suffered a foot injury. Mahopac RB/LB Dillon Addonizio left the game against Ketcham early after a hit to the head. Yorktown QB Justin Mabus appeared to hurt his leg on a late hit in the fourth quarter against White Plains and limped around the field the rest of the game. And Bronxville, although heavily favored, will have to see if OT/DE Kieran Borcich can return. PK/DE Ryan Grunseich injured his ankle against Tuckahoe but he is apparently OK.
4. Did Somers play the perfect game against a hobbled team, or have the Tuskers vastly improved? We’ll know once they play Greeley, a power-based team that won’t get overpowered. But it wouldn’t shock me if we learn Saturday that Somers has improved dramatically. Remember: This is a team that started 22 new starters the first four or five weeks of the season. Yeah, some of them weren’t newcomers, but it’s definitely feasible that the Tuskers are on the upswing. Definitely.
5. Can Harrison and Pelham win one for their leaguemates? I won’t delve into it further because I’ve highlighted it enough already. But obviously, Harrison and Pelham are the last teams standing from their respective leagues. That fact seems to indicate both are in for difficult challenges this week, but they both also have strong defenses capable of holding a pair of talented, diverse offenses at bay. Don’t write either off just because of what we saw last week.
6. Mahopac-Clarkstown North and Croton-Edgemont: How will the rematch factor impact these games? You read DiRienzo’s opinion about playoff rematches above. It obviously affects the way coaches prepare. But does it indicate that we’ll see more of the same? Not always. To DiRienzo’s point, New Ro famously lost a 3OT game to Carmel in the season opener in 2008 but ran through the Rams in the championship game. I like Mahopac’s chances to win again because I believe the Indians have faced the most difficult schedule of any team in the postseason. But the injury to Addonizio is a major factor because he’s such an important two-way player. As for Croton, although I didn’t see the game, I’d imagine John Catano kept plenty in his pocket in its first meeting vs. Edgemont. The Tigers went up 21-0 quickly and didn’t need to do much more from there. But Eddie Jung’s return at running back and the Panthers’ five game winning streak says to me they’re vastly improved. It’s very reasonable to believe that Matt Bernstein is much more comfortable on the sidelines these days.
7. Can Dobbs Ferry beat Hastings and return to the Section 1 final? It’s almost stunning to write this, but Dobbs Ferry hasn’t been in a Section 1 championship game since 2007. Mahopac High School looked like the Eagles’ second home field before they were shocked at home by Croton in ’08. Remember: Although Dobbs lost to Hastings in Week 2, the final was just 7-6. The rematch is anyone’s game. I saw about half of the first game and the teams were very evenly matched.
Photo: Somers’ Anthony Lombardo running against Rye. (Matt Brown / The Journal News)