With more than half the regular season already complete, I think we have enough information to expand the rankings. So, beginning today, I will rank the Top 10 teams in each class for the rest of the season. Of course, that’s in addition to a reshuffling of the Top 10, which had one staple drop out completely this week.
So here are the new — and somewhat expanded — rankings. Don’t be shy. Give ’em a look from top to bottom and let me know what you think.
1. John Jay-East Fishkill (4-0, Last week: 1) — The Patriots remain a bit plodding offensively, but their D has been stingy, never more so than in a 16-0 shutout of Ramapo. John Jay forced three turnovers and controlled the line of scrimmage, a.k.a. the usual.
2. Stepinac (3-1, Last week: 3) — The Crusaders were actually in a pretty tight game on Sunday at St. John the Baptist, although you wouldn’t know it based on the 42-7 final score. They led just 14-7 late in the half and faced the prospect of St. John’s driving to tie it. Instead, Mike Carlucci’s strip sack resulted in a TD by Osaze Perry-Porter and changed the complexion of the game. It set Stepinac up for a much tougher challenge this week when it goes on the road to play Farrell.
3. North Rockland (3-1, Last week: 4) — The Red Raiders have some mistakes to shore up on special teams. Miscues in the short game gave Arlington a short field and led to both of the Admiral TDs. Other than that, the North Rockland defense didn’t allow much, but the team will need to be tighter on both sides of the ball with Ramapo coming in this week.
4. Rye (4-0, Last week: 6) — At this point, Rye could probably challenge any team in Section 1 regardless of class, and just because of the explosiveness of its offense. I don’t know if Andrew Livingston is the area’s best overall QB, public, private or Catolic, but he has developed into the best passer for sure. But what was most striking about Rye’s impressive win over Ossining was that it had the edge athletically. The Garnets didn’t lose footraces and often looked like they were moving to the ball at twice the speed. It was eye-opening.
5. White Plains (4-0, Last week: 7) — I’m pretty conservative when it comes to vaulting teams up the rankings, but the Tigers have deserved it. They’ve jumped five spots in two weeks based on a pair of wins that were almost impossible to fathom. This team definitely has some mojo. If they beat New Ro this week for the first time in 10 years, they’ll head into the playoffs as a top seed. What a turn of events.
6. Ketcham (3-1, Last week: 2) — Tough to penalize Ketcham too much, but the Indians do have a history of losing winnable games, and the loss to White Plains certainly falls into that category. They still have Mahopac next week and John Jay the week after that. It doesn’t get any easier.
7. Somers (3-1, Last week: 8) — A few of you thought I was too kind to Somers in the wake of a Week 2 loss to Rye. I think, if anything, last week’s result proved just how good the Tuskers are. They controlled at least half of the game against Rye and only lost by a touchdown. Looks pretty decent now, eh?
8. John Jay (4-0, Last week: 9) — The Indians have games the next two weeks against Class A teams that can be tough to shake: Lakeland this week, followed by Horace Greeley. The second of those games will take on a bit more meaning after the Quakers beat Harrison last week. In fact, it could be all that separates John Jay from an undefeated regular season.
9. New Rochelle (2-2, Last week: NR) — The Huguenots had a strong effort last week to beat Clarkstown North, but there’s no secret that what happens this week will likely define where their season is headed. If New Ro plans on contending for a sectional title (like usual), it will come out this week at home and beat White Plains. There’s no other way to put it.
10. Mahopac (2-2, Last week: NR) — Let’s be fair: The Indians are one batted pass and, to a lesser extent, one juggled football from a chance at 4-0. We look at them a bit differently know, but it’ll be interesting to watch how Mahopac fares from now until the end of the season. Three straight wins to end the regular season would be sweet, particularly ones against alum Pat Keevins and Ketcham and rival Carmel.
On the bubble: Sleepy Hollow (4-0), Iona Prep (1-3), Arlington (2-2).
Here are my class-by-class rankings and debut of my small-school rankings:
SMALL SCHOOL — I didn’t know what to make of Lourdes-Rye Country Day, but Lourdes left little doubt.
1. Our Lady of Lourdes
2. Dobbs Ferry
3. Rye Neck
9. Rye Country Day
CLASS AA — Despite each having a 1-1 record in the round-robin, I’d rank Scarsdale a little below New Ro and Mahopac right now considering QB Giancarlo Cugini is out. He’s a key player for the Raiders and their offense won’t be the same without him.
1. John Jay-EF
2. North Rockland
3. White Plains
5. New Rochelle
10. Clarkstown South
CLASS A — Things get a little murky after the top four. Tappan Zee beat Greeley, but was blanked by Harrison, which just lost to Greeley. Then there’s Ossining, which was unimpressive Friday at Rye. Conversely, Nyack looked good, and enters Friday night against 0-4 Poughkeepsie, a team that appeared to be improving (and thus rendered Sleepy and Ossining’s wins impressive) until it was shut out by Byram. So, yeah, take your pick Nos. 5-10.
3. John Jay
4. Sleepy Hollow
6. Horace Greeley
9. Tappan Zee
CLASS B — It looks like you’ll have five teams for four playoff spots unless Ardsley can throw a wrench into things.
1. Our Lady of Lourdes
5. Putnam Valley
CLASS C/D — To me, Dobbs has to leap Rye Neck. It’s no offense to the Panthers, but they just haven’t been tested yet.
1. Dobbs Ferry
2. Rye Neck
6. Albertus Magnus
10. Blind Brook
CHSFL/Private — Can Iona start to build any momentum? Going to St. Anthony’s Saturday won’t help.
2. Iona Prep
4. Rye Country Day