My game story from tonight on Pleasantville’s dominant victory over Briarcliff/Hamilton:
PLEASANTVILLE — In the wake of last week’s loss to Nanuet, Plesantville wasn’t disappointed, just mad. The Panthers committed four turnovers and costly penalties — mistakes that led to a three-point loss.
“We needed to get back to basics — back to Pleasantville football,” coach Tony Becerra said. “What we did against Nanuet, that wasn’t us.”
They did that Saturday night at Parkway Field, and it happened to be their rival that stood in the way.
Pleasantville physically controlled the line of scrimmage, allowing just two first downs and shutting out Briarcliff/Hamilton until the final minute of a 35-6 victory.
“They did everything I asked them to do,” Becerra said. “Hopefully, we build on this going forward.”
The Panthers (3-1) posted their seventh straight win over their rival Briarcliff, which combined its program with Hamilton this season.
“We had a great week of practice,” senior captain Patrick Bathon said. “Everybody was mentally into it after the Nanuet loss. That was kind of a shock to us. It showed that we all had to wake up, and everybody really responded to that.”
Bathon, who typically is a two-way starter at slot back and defensive back, played his part but in an unfamiliar role. He started at QB in place of Anthony Godino, who suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter last week.
Despite missing Friday’s walk-through with an illness, Bathon went 6 for 11 for 100 yards. He threw touchdowns to Jack Browne, James Leyden (pictured right) and Greg Drillock to help build a 35-0 lead midway through the third.
Drillock, Browne and Josh Della Puca each intercepted Briarcliff/Hamilton’s Matt Heyda, who was pressured frequently all night. In fact, the Pleasantville defense allowed just two first downs and 51 yards of offense until a late scoring drive against its second team. It ended with Heyda’s 26-yard TD pass to Jeff Boyd.
But it was senior Enrico Ruotolo who epitomized Pleasantville’s dominance, rushing for 144 yards and a score on 23 carries.
“It just comes down to knowing what we can do,” Ruotolo said. “We know we’re a physical team. We know that when we’re one unit, we can play as a family. It’s all about physicality and heart.”