The No. 1 Game Ball last week went to a quarterback and a quarterback is back atop the list again this week. Again, it was a no-brainer.
Before we get to this week’s honorees, remember: Each week, I honor the area’s best performances. If you have a candidate who produced in the clutch or posted gaudy numbers who you believe is deserving of a game ball, please tweet me @lohudinsider or shoot me an e-mail with that player’s credentials at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, here’s a countdown from No. 10 to No. 1, but, remember: Gaudy stats are impossible to ignore, but the situation and the importance of the game are factored into the equation.
WEEK 7 GAME BALLS
(Recipients are from schools in the coverage area—Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties; they are selected from statistics reported to The Journal News/lohud.com)
Connor Vlasty scored three touchdows—including an 85-yard kickoff return—in Somers’ 38-19 win over visiting Brewster. … George DiFiore piled up 148 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries and recovered a fumble as Ardsley blanked Valhalla, 28-0. … George Figueroa had 80 yards rushing, threw two touchdowns and had 12 tackles and two interceptions and recovered a fumble in Yonkers Montessori’s 26-24 loss to Pawling. … Tim Leone returned an interception 90 yards for a TD to help Scarsdale gain control in its 35-22 win at Eastchester. … Connor Morley had 157 yards on just nine carries and rushed for three touchdowns (55, 51, 1) in Byram Hills’ 42-7 win at Westlake. … Tim Soave had 190 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in Dobbs Ferry’s 35-12 defeat of Tuckahoe. … Ryan Lee and Danny Skluth combined for 363 yards of offense and three touchdowns in John Jay’s 31-12 defeat of Fox Lane. … Christian Pankey had 30 carries for 175 yards and scored all three touchdowns in Rye Country Day’s 21-0 shutout of St. Luke’s. … Hassan Auwater rushed for 123 yards and three TDs on just 15 carries in South’s 30-7 victory over rival North that helped the Vikings retain the Supervisor’s Cup. … Pat Bisconti rushed for 223 yards and three TDs on 18 carries as Bronxville rolled over Haldane, 41-18. … Brendon Koutnik rushed 30 times for 137 yards and a touchdown and went 8 for 12 for 80 yards and a TD pass in Hen Hud’s first win of the season, 21-7 over rival Croton.
10. Tyrone Barber, Woodlands: The Falcons trailed at the half, but Barber led a 21-18 comeback victory. He rushed 26 times for 189 yards and two scores against Albertus Magnus. He also made six tackles, had a sack and an interception and kicked all three extra points.
9. Justin Rosenblum, Suffern: The senior QB finished 19 for 28 for 228 yards and four touchdowns and rushed nine times for 94 yards and a TD in Suffern’s 53-34 loss to Arlington.
8. Ethan Ryan, Mahopac: The senior threw for 219 yards and two scores and rushed for another on the ground as the Indians continued their hold over rival Carmel, beating the Rams 20-7.
7. Paul Staudinger, Rye: In a game where the margin between victory and defeat was so slim, the biggest play belonged to the 6-foot-6 senior. The long-armed lineman blocked a Harrison punt that altered field position and helped set up Rye’s game-winning drive in the fourth quarter of its dramatic 8-2 win over the Huskies. He also played a strong game defensively for the Garnets, who shut out the Harrison offense and forced four turnovers.
6. Justin Davidov, Ossining: The senior was a bit overshadowed in defeat, but he still had one of the better games of the weekend. He finished 13 for 27 for 216 yards and two scores and rushed 24 times for another 170 yards and two scores in the 41-32 loss to Sleepy.
5. James Leyden, Pleasantville: The game ball staple was at it again in the Panthers’ key 15-7 win at Lourdes. He scored 13 of their 15 points, kicking a pair of field goals and rumbling for a 38-yard touchdown on a fake punt. He also kicked an extra points, recorded 1 1/5 sacks and had two pass deflections as Pleasantville locked up the No. 1 seed in the Class B playoffs.
4. Nick O’Connor, Nanuet: He provided the difference in Nanuet’s 14-13 nailbiter against rival Pearl River that helped the Golden Knights retain the Little Brown Jug. He had 33 carries for 149 yards, including the winning touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
3. Marquez Jackson-Allen, Mamaroneck: The junior has battled injuries all season, but he keyed Mamaroneck’s 20-6 victory over rival Port Chester, totaling 184 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He also had 11 tackles on defense, including 2 1/2 sacks.
2. Stephon Smith, Iona Prep: The junior, in one of his first varsity starts, gave Stepinac fits, rushing for 159 yards and three touchdowns in Iona’s 40-14 victory. Smith slashed through the Crusaders for all his team’s first three scores as Iona built a 26-14 lead.
1. Devin Lopez, Sleepy Hollow: This is the slam dunk of the year. Lopez made a surprise return to the lineup after he suffered a torn left labrum Week 5 against Beacon and missed Sleepy’s Week 6 loss to Rye. The senior showed his toughness and talent yet again, going 20 for 27 for 341 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another 129 yards and two scores. Lopez went from sitting out to leading the Headless Horsemen to a 41-32 win over their rival in the performance of the year to date.
What a competitor.