I remember back to early August when I stumbled upon a confident John D’Arco on a turf field at New Rochelle High School. His Tuckahoe football team was tucked away a couple hundred yards from center stage at Champions Camp, preparing for a scrimmage with Ardsley.
You’ve heard me tell this story before, but it deserves repeating today. D’Arco thought this football team could be his best. It featured stars. It featured unusual size. And it featured the type of depth and experience that could contend in Classes B and C, much less D.
Those players delivered on that promise, as the team went on to win the Class D state championship rather easily in football. Several of the same faces — like state final MVP Jason Feuer and QB Kevin Garrabitos — propelled the Tigers to a Section 1 Class C title and a state regional final appearance in basketball. And on Sunday at NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton, with D’Arco on the bench yet again, some of those same faces — like Feuer and the school’s all-time leading rusher Jarret Sommer — captured a second state title.
“You know what, it never gets old,” D’Arco told my colleague Jake Thomases afterward. “It always feels good. … To win a state championship is a tremendous accomplishment. I can only thank God I’ve won five. Two in one year is totally unbelievable. Something I didn’t imagine. I knew we had a good shot in football, but baseball kind of snuck up on me.”
We’ve had some readers here over the years who have maligned D’Arco and his staff for not doing more with a deep reserve of talent. But facts are facts: In the last 10 years, D’Arco has won FOUR state championships. He won baseball in 2002 and 2011 and football in 2006 and 2010. That’s a lot of winning.
There are also players on the roster who will leave the school as the ultimate winners. Feuer played tight end, linebacker, point guard, first base and pitcher on the three teams. Nick Reisman joined him on all three rosters. Sommers (football), Jaime Maldonado (football), Alex Melendez (basketball), Brian O’Toole (basketball) and Peter Costa (football) were just one step behind, playing on at least two champions.
“My senior year, it’s too unreal,” Feuer said.