So you probably can guess who I’m picking, right? That’s right, the same team I went with last year.
It goes to prove that preseason chatter is far from meaningless. Last year, Croton believed it had talent, proved it on the practice and scrimmage field, and followed through with a Class B title. Now? Everyone knows who to aim for, which can be just as fun. So will determining who else lands in the playoffs. With only four spots up for grabs, every game is critical…
The favorite —
Croton-Harmon: We discussed the Tigers’ case endlessly. You know what they return. The only honest question marks come in the running game, where Croton must replace leading rushers Matt Tralli and Kevin Soares. Other than that, they are well-stocked for another run to states.
The contenders —
Westlake: The Wildcats don’t have as much back as Croton. What they do return, however, could at least pose a threat because it will be difficult to defend a strong passing game with a quarterback that is well-protected. That should be Westlake’s strength.
The darkhorses —
Pleasantville: The Panthers are a perennial contender. You’d be well-served to remember that rather than last year’s rebuilding season. Also, count Tony Becerra among the coaches who will open things up a little. John Conway to Charlie Montgomery could become a nice combination.
Our Lady of Lourdes: The Warriors were hit so hard by graduation, they return just one all-league player. Forget about all-section back Jimmy Ryan, who they will sorely miss. But whenever you talk to a Class B coach, Lourdes makes them wonder. The Poughkeepsie school is powered with size up front and Brian Walsh on the sideline. That puts them firmly in the competition.
Teams that could be better than you think —
Nanuet: They say tradition never dies. Well, Phil Carbone has been with Rich Conklin on the sideline for more than half his life. If anyone can continue what Conklin built at Nanuet, it’s him.
Ardsley: The Panthers could be a surprise team, especially if they can knock off Westlake in Week 1. There is finally hunger for football at once interest-starved Ardsley.
Predicted order of finish:
3. Our Lady of Lourdes
Croton over Pleasantville
Westlake over Lourdes
Croton over Westlake
QB: John D’Onofrio, Westlake (pictured above)
RB: Nick Grous, Croton-Harmon
RB: Sebastian DeGuisto, Our Lady of Lourdes
WR: Charlie Montgomery, Pleasantville
WR: Jon Marrero, Briarcliff
TE: Tyler Gilman, Croton-Harmon
OL: John Brennan, Croton-Harmon
OL: Tommy Hopkins, Westlake
OL: Mike Lanza, Pleasantville
OL: Mike Minerva, Pleasantville
OL: Kyle Ricciardi, Croton-Harmon
Ath.: Dennis Traditi, Croton-Harmon
DL: Dennis O’Connell, Croton-Harmon
DL: Axelle Morales, Westlake
DL: Ethan Bledsoe, Our Lady of Lourdes
LB: Dan Stein, Ardsley
LB: Chris DiNardo, Irvington
LB: Alex Bowser, Croton-Harmon
LB: Ricky Sok, Nanuet
DB: Garrett Peterson, Ardsley
DB: Ryan Hanney, Nanuet
DB: Jesse Mainiero, Croton-Harmon
Ath: Connor Gembecki, Putnam Valley