First things first: This is the last game in our picks’ contest. The. Last. Just amazing to think the 2012 Section 1 football season has reached its final act. It feels like practice just started.
Having said that, we will have a contest winner on Thursday morning (or Friday, or Saturday, or whenever these storms let Class A play some football again). So if you think this post is missing some of its usual facts and figures, don’t worry. They’re coming.
Now, on to today’s pick…
Let’s kick off the scouting report with this:
Somers is a great team. DeMatteo is a legend. I travel on his parkway frequently.
— Sleepy Hollow coach Steve Borys
Borys has given some funny, some inflammatory and some quirky quotes over the years, and this was certainly one of his best. Of course, in a few, succinct words, it probably sums up the consensus on this Class A final perfectly. Borys and his blue-collar team are big underdogs. They weren’t expected to be here and have far exceeded expectations with a serious infusion of young talent. They have never won the section since the dawn of the state playoffs. They’re not only going against a program that has, but also an unbeaten juggernaut coached by a man whose name, yes, graces a parkway.
Be it the statistical or the symbolic, evidence suggests a Somers victory. The Tuskers just beat Harrison 28-14 in win No. 301 for Tony DeMatteo, his team outplaying the same Huskies who handed Sleepy its only loss by a considerable, 31-8 margin.
In this case, there’s no doubt Goliath coaches David.
CLASS A CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 2A Sleepy Hollow (8-1) vs. No. 2B Somers (9-0)
When: Wednesday, 6
Where: Mahopac High School
Key players: Sleepy Hollow — Steve Bencosme (5-10, 170), Sr., RB/DB; Zeke Sierra (6-3, 220), Sr., TE/DE; Frank Curanaj (6-2, 285), Sr., OT/DT. Somers — Stefano Bicknese (5-11, 190), Sr., RB/DB; Joe Lombardo (6-0, 195), Sr., FB/LB; Dylan Owen (6-5, 235), Sr., G/DE.
Key matchup: Somers’ size vs. Sleepy’s speed
Outlook: Neither team has ever played for a Class A championship, but, for Sleepy Hollow, that is an understatement. The former perennial Class B contender had two tough seasons since joining A in 2010, but that changed dramatically this fall. Despite one of Class A’s smallest enrollments, Sleepy’s season included the program’s first win over Rye since 1989 and an upset victory over last year’s sectional finalist, John Jay. The Headless Horsemen then needed divine intervention from the football gods to beat Brewster in the semifinals, including two touchdowns in the final 1:36 to overcome a 21-10 deficit. They’ll certainly need that effort and more to defeat Somers, an annual Class A contender, but a team that hasn’t played for a title since 2001. The Tuskers beat Harrison 28-14 on Saturday, outplaying the same Huskies who handed Sleepy Hollow its only loss, convincingly, 31-8. Somers has superior size, strength and depth, but a healthier Lombardo and halfbacks Matt Morgante and Connor Vlasaty have taken the pressure off Bicknese. The defense will be challenged by the speed and quickness of Sleepy Hollow, particularly dual-threat quarterback Devin Lopez and emerging threats Dominic Onwe, Isaiah Sanjuan and Ronny Munoz. If Somers can contain that speed, it has all the elements to give coach Tony DeMatteo his first title since 2000.
Prediction: Somers 31, Sleepy Hollow 13