On Sunday, Dec. 9, The Journal News will publish its Westchester/Putnam All-Star and Rockland All-County football packages. They include a player of the year, coach of the year, first team, second team and honorable mention for both sides of the river.
Obviously, the most coveted awards are the players of the year. Former winners include the likes of New Rochelle’s Ray Rice, Harrison’s Sammy Maldonado, Nyack’s Nigel Morris and Edgemont’s Matt Bernstein.
So who from this year’s group of football stars will join those prestigious names? Let’s hear your choice.
First, a word on some potential candidates…
WESTCHESTER/PUTNAM — The top-ranked teams all season both call New Rochelle their home. New Ro went on to win the Class AA state championship while Iona Prep came a couple steps short, falling in Saturday’s CHSFL AAA semifinals. Both teams have a host of potential all-star candidates and some of those — New Ro’s Jason Ceneus, Joe Clarke and Khalil Edney and Iona Prep’s Mario Biaggi and Chris Cooper — certainly had big seasons.
Other standout teams produced superstar seasons as well. Class A champ Somers included a deep group up front and the versatile and dominant duo of Stefano Bicknese and Joe Lombardo. Contenders Harrison and Sleepy Hollow each had their own stars as well.
Westchester and Putnam also played home to top recruits, led by Westlake’s Tommy Hopkins.
ROCKLAND — With a fraction of the teams, the list is obviously shorter in Rockland, but the candidates are strong. Tappan Zee’s Joe Letizia and Albertus Magnus’ Nico Denise both had record-setting seasons for their schools. North Rockland’s duo of Nick Connell and John Dapolito were dominant two-way players for a team that beat everyone on its schedule except for the Class AA state champ. And unheralded stars like Nanuet’s Dan Breit, Nyack’s Derwohn Bartley, Ramapo’s Jason Dorsainville, Suffern’s Chris Gragnani and Clarkstown South’s Ray Manfredi either posted big numbers or received major recognition around Section 1.
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Now, I want your feedback on who you believe deserves the two awards. The winners will be revealed in 13 days. Who do you expect them to be?