The season is nearly here, which means it’s time for my weekly predictions and our newest, latest and greatest picks’ contest, which will be held every week until a winner is crowned at the end of the season.
For the uninitiated, here’s how the contest works: Each week, I’ll pick every game, but I will single out 10 of them as my “Top 10” of the week. To join the contest, log in under a unique user name (the same one each week) and give your picks. You don’t have to pick scores — just the winners. At the end of each week, I will tabulate each participant’s record. I will publish that week’s results as well as everyone’s running total for the season, including mine.
There’s still a lot to get to before kickoff Friday night, so let’s get to it.
THE TOP 10 —
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Poughkeepsie vs. Somers
When: Friday, 6:45 p.m.
Where: Poughkeepsie High School
Key players: Poughkeepsie – Markel Green (5-10, 170), Sr., QB/DB; Shateak Jones (5-10, 180), Sr., RB/LB; Jovan Atkinson (6-3, 195), So., WR/DB. Somers – Tim Cousin (5-10, 160), Sr., QB; Matt Morgante, (5-10, 170), Jr., RB/DB; Connor Vlasaty (5-8, 170), Sr., RB/DB.
Key matchup: Somers coach Tony DeMatteo (mentor) vs. new Poughkeepsie coach John Castellano (student)
Outlook: Both the teams and the coaching matchup are dripping with intrigue as these two perennial Class A contenders open the season. DeMatteo and Castellano go way back, and many of DeMatteo’s coaching principles have always been apparent in Castellano’s teams. DeMatteo was known to help call plays during Nyack’s best days under Castellano, and their relationship now moves to the center of what’s been on the section’s best rivalries in recent years. The teams should be fascinating in their own right. Somers, the defending champ, lost almost its entire team to graduation and will no longer have a significant size advantage up front. Poughkeepsie should look different altogether. Castellano has scrapped the uptempo spread offense that became so popular under former coach Ken Barger for the Wing-T. The Pioneers also suffered heavy losses to graduation and were hurt by the defection of star receiver Devonte Hamilton to prep school.
Prediction: Somers 28, Poughkeepsie 19. I don’t quite know what to make of this game considering there has been so much turnover on both teams. But Somers has had much more time to adjust to new faces in new places.
Harrison vs. Brewster
When: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Where: Harrison High School
Key players: Harrison – Mike Amicucci (5-9, 185), Sr., HB/CB/KR; Ryan Knox (5-11, 205), Sr., OL/DL; Brendan Pyne (5-11, 185), So., QB/LB. Brewster – Frank Golinello (6-0, 225), Sr., OG/LB; Joe Buonadonna (5-7, 175), Jr., RB/DB; Liam DaRos (6-1, 180), Sr., QB/DB.
Key matchup: Brewster offensive line vs. Harrison front seven
Outlook: Brewster started last season 8-0 and reached the Class A semifinals under first-year coach Ed Mulvihill, but Harrison represents the type of challenge the Bears will face in 2013. Their schedule should prove to be significantly tougher, starting with one of this year’s Class A favorites on the road. Harrison returns a handful of skill players and three of its five starting linemen from a season ago. The Huskies will break in the able Pyne at quarterback, but Brewster will lean on a new signal caller as well as DaRos takes over for strong-armed Brian McNeill. Both should be capable, but Brewster’s rebuilt line will have to prove it can protect DaRos and co. to upset Harrison.
Prediction: Harrison 31, Brewster 14. With so much returning and a lot of emotion surround the game in the wake of Art Troilo Sr.’s passing, I expect Harrison to deliver a big performance.
Rye Neck 21, Tuckahoe 7. Panthers are dripping with promise and will open the season with a bang against a rebuilding state power.
Rye 35, Spring Valley 13. The Tigers better be ready to defend the deep ball.
Yorktown 21, Panas 20. This could be one of the better games in Week 1. Panas has a real chance to prove it can play with the big boys.
New Rochelle 20, Ketcham 14. An upset here is a real possibility. New Ro will be better by season’s end, but this has shades of Carmel in 2008 written all over it.
Mahopac 27, Scarsdale 0. With Scarsdale’s uncertainty at quarterback, running the triple-option, it doesn’t bode well against such a stingy opponent.
Mamaroneck 21, Carmel 14. Mamaroneck played close to the vest this preseason. The Tigers beat Carmel last year, but I’m not quite sure what to make of them here.
North Rockland 14, John Jay 10. One team will stamp itself as a title contender here. These programs have proven in recent years that they are elite.
Croton-Harmon 21, Pleasantville 12. After an injury-ravaged 2012, expect Croton to become a contender again.
Eastchester 22, Tappan Zee 19
Arlington 21, Ramapo 6
Our Lady of Lourdes 27, Putnam Valley 12
Iona Prep 28, Newburgh 19
Stepinac 21, Mount St. Michael 13
Hackley 33, Kennedy 20
Ardsley 20, Westlake 13
Briarcliff/Hamilton 23, Early College 12
Bronxville 35, Valhalla 6
Woodlands 40, Blind Brook 7
Dobbs Ferry 33, Pawling 13
Albertus Magnus 12, Hastings 10
Yonkers Montessori 22, Palisade Prep 14
Sleepy Hollow 40, Yonkers 0
Ossining 41, Beacon 27
Hen Hud 35, Lincoln 7
Byram Hills 23, Port Chester 12
Nyack 27, Pelham 13
Lakeland 34, Saunders 12
Horace Greeley 41, Riverside 13
Gorton 22, Peekskill 8
Clarkstown South 20, Fox Lane 14
John Jay 21, Pearl River 17
White Plains 24, Clarkstown North 21
Mount Vernon 13, Suffern 6
Edgemont 26, Rye Country Day 20
Nanuet 33, Irvington 10