Whew, that was a monotonous week. Wind, rain, wind, phone calls, wind, phone calls and more wind. Finally, amidst downed trees and power lines, school cancellations and gas shortages, we all have a chance to go outside and watch some football. Isn’t that what this is supposed to be about anyway?
What better cure for a case of cabin fever than perhaps the game of the year?I’ll be out at Harrison High School today to chronicle it, as two unbeaten teams and two of the section’s top coaches meet in the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
For posterity’s sake: Tony DeMatteo and Art Troilo have met three times total in the postseason. DeMatteo won first, beating Harrison 33-14 in the semifinals en route to the 2000 Class B title. Troilo’s Huskies won the rematch a year later, scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half to beat Somers 36-28 in the Class B final. Harrison won again, 21-6, in the 2005 Class B semis.
It’s the type of matchup we’ve eyed for weeks and it’s finally here. No more time for hype. Just football.
But today isn’t only about Somers and Harrison. The other Class A semifinal pits unbeaten Brewster against an explosive Sleepy Hollow team that might be the Bears’ best opponent all season. Brewster will play without leading rusher Fernando Solis, who was injured standing on the sideline during a punt return last week.
The Bears are a perfect 5-0 at home, but today will be their first under the light of day. Can a daytime crowd help lift star-struck Brewster?
We’ll soon find out. I’ll be @LoHudInsider chronicling Somers-Harrison and Mike Dougherty will be on the hook for Brewster-Sleepy @hoopsmbd. I’ll post scores stats and recaps shortly after both games.
Saturday’s games -
Class A semifinals
Somers 28, Harrison 14
Sleepy Hollow 24, Brewster 21
Class A semifinal
No. 2B Somers 28, No. 1A Harrison 14: At Harrison, Somers built a 21-0 first-quarter lead and forced three turnovers to reach its first Section 1 championship game since 2001. The Tuskers (9-0) will play Sleepy Hollow on Wednesday at 6 at Mahopac High School in the Class A final.
Stefano Bicknese rushed 13 times for 137 yards and a touchdown and Joe Lombardo had 11 carries for 116 yards. John Decker also threw two touchdowns for Somers, including one on the final play of the first quarter to give his team a 21-0 lead.
The Tuskers outgained Harrison 144-17 playing with a strong wind at their backs in that first quarter, but the Huskies earned the momentum with the wind behind them in the second. They scored two touchdowns and limited Somers to just four offensive plays. Mike Amicucci scored on a 10-yard run to cut the deficit to 21-7 and Vin Nicita caught a throwback pass from Cory Calcagni in the final minute of the half to cut the deficit to 21-14.
After a defensive stop, Harrison chewed up the majority of the third quarter. The Huskies tried for a fourth and six on the second play of the fourth quarter but Nicita was intercepted by Matt Morgante. It would be the first of three Morgante turnovers in the quarter, including the most critical. With Harrison driving into Somers territory at the three minute mark, Amicucci had a first-down run inside the 10, but he was stripped by Morgante, a sophomore, while trying to pick up extra yards.
Harrison coach Art Troilo Jr. later said his team would’ve attempted a two-point conversion if it had scored to cut the gap to 21-20. “We had a play we liked,” Troilo said.
Instead, Morgante recovered the fumble and the Tuskers added an insurance touchdown on the ensuing drive, which included a 58-yard run by Lombardo on third and 2 at the Somers 16. Morgante also recovered a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff for his third takeaway of the game.
Somers outgained Harrison 351-273 and did not commit a turnover. It will play for the program’s first Section 1 title since 2000, which was Tony DeMatteo’s first and only championship since he began coaching the Tuskers that season.
Nicita finished 7 for 15 for 81 yards and an interception. Calcagni caught five passes for 72 yards and threw the touchdown to Nicita. Amicucci had 13 carries for 87 yards and the touchdown. Kevin Nathanson had 13 carries for 72 yards.
Decker finished 3 for 5 for 26 yards and threw touchdowns to Josh Riger and Connor Vlasaty. Morgante also rushed for a touchdown.
Class A semifinal
No. 2A Sleepy Hollow 24, No. 1B Brewster 21: At Brewster, Sleepy Hollow scored two touchdowns in the final 1:36 to overcome a 21-10 deficit and stun unbeaten Brewster, earning the Headless Horsemen a trip to Wednesday’s Class A championship game against Somers at 6 at Mahopac High School.
Stepinac transfer Isaiah Sanjuan returned a fumble 59 yards for a touchdown with 1:36 remaining as Brewster tried to run the clock out. Sleepy forced a punt on the next series, regaining possession at the Brewster 49 with just 36 seconds remaining. Quarterback Devin Lopez connected with Sanjuan on a 49-yard touchdown on the very next play, lifting the Headless Horsemen to a 24-21 lead with just 27.9 to play.
It capped a wild fourth quarter. Sleepy actually led 10-6 entering the fourth, but Joe Buonadonna, starting in place of injured running back Fernando Solis, put his team ahead on a 14-yard touchdown run. Brian McNeill’s two-point pass to Matt Gargano gave Brewster a 14-10 lead with 8:28 remaining.
On the next possession, Brewster’s Ethan Schoenig intercepted Lopez, setting up another Buonadonna touchdown run. With a 21-10 lead, the Bears appeared to seal a victory when Kyle Riccardi intercepted Lopez on the next series, but it only set the stage for the wild finish.
Wednesday, Nov. 7
Class A championship
At Mahopac High School:
No. 2A Sleepy Hollow (8-1) vs. No. 2B Somers (9-0), 6 p.m.