Briarcliff was supposed to be at Lakeland tonight but wasn’t. No official word, but when I visited the Bears two weeks ago they only had 17 players in uniform and coach John Consorti told me he had several players out sick. I would imagine they didn’thave enough eligible to scrimmage just yet, but that’s pure speculation.
• It took me a little while to realize, but the Panthers were switching quarterbacks every three plays. QB/CB Patrick Bathon started so take that as you may, but QB/RB Anthony Godino and QB Austin Greto both played a lot. All three looked really good in their own right. Coach Tony Becerra said he liked the way Bathon ran with the ball; the way Godino scrambled when he got in trouble and the way Greto threw the Rock.
• Bathon said the three-play rotation was great for the competition because it allowed all three the opportunity to read the defenses from the sideline. “It allows us to get confidence with that first series,” he said.
• I will say that Godino threw a beautiful ball to WR Charlie Montgomery in an extremely intense scrimmage against Lakeland that fired the Panthers sideline up.
• Hands down the most impressive player I saw for the Panthers was HB Nick Pedlow. I admit I wrongly gave credit to FB Nick Greto for his runs on Twitter, but the entire coaching staff was yelling “Nicky!” the whole night and I hadn’t heard of Pedlow before tonight. I know him now. The senior running back isn’t particularly big, but he just doesn’t go down and he’s extremely shifty. “He excited the coaches tonight,” Becerra said. “We have to stress to our line, ‘You need to stay on your blocks because he keeps running.’”
• Two quick defensive points. The first two plays against Sleepy Hollow, the Panthers front line penetrated and completely blew up the Horsemen’s plays; one a pass play, the other a trap that was stuffed at the point of the hand off.
• The second point goes back to the intense scrimmage against Lakeland. For starters it definitely got rough, even beyond the rules of play as the refs threw a flag to calm things down. The Hornets were stuffing most of the Panthers offensive plays, and they weren’t doing it quietly, hooting and hollering the entire time. When the teams switched sides, someone in the Panthers defensive huddle ripped into his teammates, demanding they earn their respect in the next 15 plays. Save for a touchdown pass from Hornets QB Brian Prunty, in which a Panther DB slipped, Pleasantville definitely upped their level of intensity in those final plays against Lakeland, including two interceptions by Bathon. Has to be a positive for a team with high hopes this year.
• I missed the start of the Horsemen’s scrimmage against Lakeland, but I heard they scored three touchdowns and kept the Hornets out of the end zone. What I did see was a little growth from QB Devin Lopez. As I mentioned before, the first two plays against Pleasantville were as bad a start as you would want for your rookie signal caller, but Lopez shook it off and led Sleepy Hollow down the field the rest of the way, highlighted by a beauty-of-a-pass in the corner of the end zone to WR Edwin Jimenez.
“The kid’s making great strides,” said coach Steve Borys. “We’re happy with the decisions he’s making.”
• HB Dominic Onwe was solid against Pleasantville and word on the sideline was that he was really good against Lakeland.
• Defensively Borys liked what he saw, specifically TE/DE Zeke Sierra, who he called a “beast”. “We were flying to the ball aggressively,” Borys said.
He did talk about how his guys grew tired throughout the night, especially the Pleasantville scrimmage, a consequence of a small roster.
• The highlight of the night for me was watching the Hornets defense go against Pleasantville’s offense at the very end of the night. It was as hard-hitting as scrimmages on Wednesday nights get. OL/DL Connor O’Neill stood out the most — and not just for his size — he was all over the place, which prompted Pleasantville coaches on numerous occasions to yell incredulously, “Who’s blocking No. 70!?!?!”.
• Save for the one touchdown pass from Godino, the Hornets barely let up much in terms of yardage.
• Prunty looked good in the shotgun — when he had time to throw. The Hornets offensive line wasn’t something that coach Rob Cappelli was raving about after the scrimmage. “Brian was under pressure the whole day,” Cappelli said. “They just started bringing the house on him and we couldn’t protect him. We gotta work something out, too, in our passing game.”
• Cappelli talked about how his running game needs to improve in order to protect Prunty more. “That’s what happens when you can’t run the football,” he said regarding the pressure the quarterback faced. “When you can’t run the football, they can tee off.”
Quick note on Yonkers Montessori Academy. Scrimmaging against much bigger and more experienced schools would cause a lot of problems for first year programs, but without a doubt YMA was the loudest, most enthusiastic group on the sideline. That’s exactly what you would want from a first-year team.