Real, actual football is just a few days away. Judging by the deluge of repetitive, misinformed and ill-tempered comments throughout the day today, the games couldn’t come soon enough. Yay.
So, what better way to bring a level of civility to our discourse than a new Top 10. This, of course, will be the final Top 10 and class-by-class rankings before Week 1 and the slight adjustments are based on my observations and reporting from the preseason. I first ranked the teams in mid-July.
1. Iona Prep — The Gaels have a tough non-league game this week against Poly Prep, followed by St. Anthony’s Week 2. We’ll know a lot more about them in just 10 days time.
2. New Rochelle — The Huguenots didn’t look great on Saturday, but it was impossible to judge them. I expect New Ro to come out strong on Saturday against South, which has a very good team in its own right. You can’t calculate how much of a lift New Ro will have with its coach and senior stars Jason Ceneus and Joe Clarke back in the fold. Even without them Saturday, I left impressed with Khalil Edney’s progression as a QB. He’s poised for a big year.
3. North Rockland — The Red Raiders reportedly looked great over the weekend. The Repress twins will bring the offense a different dynamic with their speed. In fact, I think the offense will be improve. The question is, can the defense reach the level it reached during last year’s championship run?
4. Stepinac — Expect a shootout on Saturday with Monroe-Woodbury, but Stepinac will be more than willing to engage. Dan Hoffer is poised for a big season passing. He’s much more confident in his second year as a starters and has been shredding defenses all summer.
5. Harrison — The Huskies will be just as potent as they were during the 2010 season. In fact, if they really do open it up, it could add another element to the offense that could make it even more dangerous. They also have the depth at the skill positions to survive injuries, which was a key to their success two years ago.
6. John Jay — With Tommy Beck as a potential breakout star and receivers galore, the Indians should score at will, even against a difficult schedule. Their uptempo offense should be better than ever.
7. Poughkeepsie — I haven’t had a chance to catch the Pioneers yet in person, but others have raved about D’Andre Smith. Will they have enough around him? Although Josh Oliver got all the attention last year, it wasn’t all him. Poughkeepsie will need to prove it has other weapons, too, but I think it will.
8. Clarkstown South — If you were expecting a dropoff, think again. South’s front looked strong and Zach Johnson should be the perfect complement for Thomas Lent as a runner. The offense should have more of a passing threat this year. The only thing that could hold South back is a much more difficult schedule. Everything else is in place to compete.
9. Somers — You know just about everything by now about Somers, the William Wallace of Section 1. The Tuskers may not be seven feet tall or shoot fireballs out of you-know-where, but they are a good football team. They should be able to run on just about everyone. If Tim Cousin plays QB like he did Saturday, they will be tough to contend with.
10. Ossining — Tough call here at No. 10, but I’ll pick Ossining from a group of contenders for the spot. Having said that, the Dutchess AA schools and a few others from Class A will appear in the Top 10 at some point. I’m sure of it. But I also know Ossining has one of the section’s top players in Steve Candelaria and plenty to go around him.
Here are the class-by-class rankings with a quick comment on each:
Class AA — New Ro and North Rockland are the clear Nos. 1 and 2, but I really liked what I saw from Ketcham. Big, strong and talented team.
1. New Rochelle
2. North Rockland
2. Clarkstown South
4. John Jay-East Fishkill
Class A — I nearly moved Somers up even further, but paid homage to the defending champ. I also like Ossining’s experience right now by a hair over young Yorktown.
2. John Jay
Class B — Nanuet will not start the season on my list, but it could be. In fact, the Top 5 in Class B might be the hardest to pick right now. Just about everyone has improved.
1. Our Lady of Lourdes
Class C/D — With the Grass brothers gone from Bronxville and Woodlands’ strong summer, the Falcons rise.
1. Dobbs Ferry
Catholics/Privates — Could Hackley push RCDS this year in the Fairchester?
1. Iona Prep
3. Rye Country Day