What a week by “Voice of the Panthers,” whose 9-1 mark finished alone in first for Week 7. He’s now pulled into a three-way tie for second, one game behind our leader “Mr. Clean.” Another contender, “Panasonic,” did serious damage to his/her championship hopes by filing last week’s picks too late.
We’re going to pick 12 games this week to include all 12 Section 1 playoff games. Like many of you, I need the extra opportunities to make up ground after yet another mediocre week.
Remember: Make sure your picks are in before kickoff of the Friday games or else your picks are void for the week. Sorry to be so strict, but we can’t have you picking games after they start.
Josh’s picks —
Top 10: 41-29 (5-5 last week)
Overall: 208-60 (30-7 last week)
THE TOP 10 (plus two)—GAMES OF THE WEEK
Class A quarterfinal
No. 1B Rye (7-0) vs. No. 4A Yorktown (5-2)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Rye High School
Key players: Rye — Andrew Livingston (6-1, 170), Jr., QB; Tim DeGraw (5-10, 145), Jr., WR/DB; Shane O’Malley (5-9, 170), Sr., RB/LB. Yorktown — Connor Vercruysse (6-2, 190), Sr., FB/LB; Ricky Corrado (5-11, 190), Sr., TE/DE; Kris Alvarado (5-7, 130), Sr., HB/DB.
Outlook: This is a fascinating matchup between Class A’s best team and its hottest. Yorktown has won its last three games by a combined score of 118-48. That included a three-touchdown win over Harrison a week before the Huskies took Rye to the wire. Still, the Garnets lead Class A in scoring for a reason. Last week’s result again their bitter rival should not give Yorktown false confidence. If the Huskers learned anything, it’s that they need to get pressure to disrupt Livingston. Both teams also find themselves nursing injuries to key players. Two of Rye’s top playmakers, Chris Santangelo and Conor Murphy, were hobbled vs. Harrison. Yorktown’s top playmaker Eric Meyreles also suffered a shoulder injury vs. Harrison. The outcome could be determined by who is healthy as much as anything.
Next up: The winner will meet the winner of No. 2A Tappan Zee and No. 3B Sleepy Hollow at the higher seed in next week’s semifinals.
Prediction: Rye 28, Yorktown 21. What could surprise in this game is Rye’s defense, which is much better than it gets credit for. The Garnets should be the one team capable of handling Yorktown’s athleticism.
Class B semifinal
No. 1 Pleasantville (6-1) vs. No. 4 Nanuet (5-2)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Parkway Field, Pleasantville
Key players: Pleasantville — James Leyden (6-2, 180), Sr., TE/LB/P; Enrico Ruotolo (5-8, 215), Sr., FB/LB; Anthony Godino (5-10, 165), Sr., QB. Nanuet — Nick O’Connor (5-10, 155), Sr., RB/DB; Ryan Hanney (6-2, 225), Sr., QB/LB; Jordan Landsman (6-2, 270), So., OL/DL.
Outlook: In a rematch of last year’s semifinal, a game won by Pleasantville, Nanuet beat the Panthers 9-6 back on Sept. 21. It was a defense-first game between teams that rely much more on stopping opponents than outscoring them. Pleasantville will be on its home field this time and is fresh off an impressive win over Lourdes, which edged Nanuet the week prior. The teams are very close. Pleasantville will be charged to stop the shifty O’Connor, who has evolved into Nanuet’s main threat. The Panthers’ strength is at linebacker, where Leyden has been devastating. He has 181/2 sacks and should command plenty of attention.
Next up: The winner will meet the winner of No. 2 Our Lady of Lourdes and No. 3 Ardsley for the Class B championship at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Mahopac High School.
Prediction: Pleasantville 13, Nanuet 7. It’d be surprising if more than three or four touchdowns are scored all game. Either team can win, but rest assure of this: Whoever is losing will have a chance to win or tie in the fourth quarter.
Class AA quarterfinal
No. 2B North Rockland (5-2) vs. No. 3A New Rochelle (5-2)
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Where: North Rockland High School
Key players: North Rockland — Eric Favors (6-0, 230), Jr., G/NG; Matt Caputo (5-9, 155), Sr., RB/DB; Danny Noel (6-1, 215), Sr., RB/DE. New Rochelle — Jonathan Forrest (5-11, 200), Jr., RB/LB; Corey Holder (6-2, 212), Jr., OL/DL; Tajmir Anderson (5-7, 160), Sr., WR/DB/KR.
Outlook: In an odd quirk, the teams will meet two weeks in a row at the same time on the same field. Stranger than that, they knew it in advance. New Rochelle scored late and converted a two-point play to beat North Rockland 22-21 last week, but this is the game that really counts for the only two teams to win the last 13 Section 1 Class AA titles. The Huguenots are the defending state champs and winners of four straight, but they’ll need to overcome a size and strength disadvantage. Of course, New Rochelle has the more explosive team. It’s a contrast of styles that’s impossible to ignore in the latest playoff clash between Section 1 powers.
Next up: The winner will meet the winner of No. 1A Ketcham and No. 4B Clarkstown South at the higher seed in next week’s semifinals.
Prediction: New Rochelle 21, North Rockland 14. New Ro has gotten better each week. With that as the backdrop, shouldn’t the Huguenots put last week’s tune-up to good use? I trust that they will.
Class C semifinal
No. 2 Rye Neck (7-0) vs. No. 3 Bronxville (6-1)
When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Rye Neck High School
Key players: Rye Neck — Jakob Calvini (6-2, 210), Sr., RB/LB; Ryan Morningstar (5-10, 175), Sr., RB/DB; Pedro M. Cueto (5-11, 185), Sr., RB/DL. Bronxville — Pat Bisconti (5-6, 180), Sr., RB/LB; Will Duncan (6-1, 195), Sr., QB/LB; Willyem Thoms (6-2, 256), Sr., OL/DL.
Outlook: As Rye Neck vies for a second straight trip to the Class C final, it will face a Bronxville team that could prove troublesome. The Panthers are the section’s highest-scoring team, but the Broncos are no stranger to stingy defense. They held potent Woodlands to a touchdown in a one-point win. Rye Neck won in overtime, but surrendered 40 points to the Falcons. Bronxville might not be able to keep pace if the game is that high scoring, so it will try to pound Bisconti, who has been a dominant back late in the season. Bronxville will need to control the line of scrimmage and play ahead. If it can, an upset is possible, but Rye Neck is too good to play from behind.
Next up: The winner will meet the winner of No. 1 Dobbs Ferry and No. 4 Woodlands for the Class C championship at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Mahopac High School.
Prediction: Rye Neck 26, Bronxville 14. Expect a close game early. I just think Rye Neck has too much firepower.
SUPER SIX (plus two)
Class B semifinal
Ardsley 27, Lourdes 22. Could we be in store for another classic? Both sides believe they will play better in a rematch. I’m going to count on that team being Arsdley, which should be well-rested after an easy win against Valhalla. Lourdes has played its three toughest games all season these last three weeks.
Class AA quarterfinal
White Plains 27, Ramapo 7. This very difficult week doesn’t bode well for Ramapo’s chances. They already seemed slim anyway against a dangerous, rested White Plains team in search of its first playoff win in 10 years.
Class A quarterfinals
Sleepy Hollow 33, Tappan Zee 26. Too much Devin Lopez is never a good thing for opponents. Sleepy also has Dante Ellis, whose hard running works well in concert with Lopez. TZ can move the ball well, too, but I’m not sure the Dutchmen are quite dynamic enough to keep pace.
Somers 24, Panas 17. Panas was not rewarded for earning its top seed. Somers could be the second best team in the Class A draw. This will be a physical game that could be won at the line of scrimmage.
John Jay 41, Ossining 34. Get your popcorn ready. This should be quite the show. The two quarterbacks will tear up and down the field against and the tempo will be quick. John Jay is a little stronger defensively, which is why I’ll favor the Indians in purple and black.
Class AA quarterfinals
Ketcham 28, Clarkstown South 10. South’s defense is strong, but has it been asked to stop an offense like Ketcham’s? Sure, the North Rockland and John Jay games were impressive, but those teams pale in comparison in terms of firepower.
Scarsdale 13, John Jay-East Fishkill 10. My upset pick of the week. Injuries and inconsistent play on offense nearly felled the Patriots against the likes of Arlington and South. Scarsdale is more dynamic and is riding a wave of confidence. This may not be likely, but it is possible.
Class C semifinal
Woodlands 32, Dobbs Ferry 27. I think it will be closer than last time because Woodlands has been pushed almost every week late in the season. But the Falcons’ speed and ability to contain Tim Soave has been evident the last two meetings. They still hold the edge.
Fox Lane 21, Suffern 13
Poughkeepsie 26, Saunders 0
Lakeland 40, Lincoln 13
Carmel 27, Clarkstown North 7
Hackley 34, Putnam Valley 14
Mahopac 22, Arlington 14
Nyack 27, Brewster 26 (OT)
Horace Greeley 24, Beacon 20
Yonkers Montessori 27, Early College 8
Albertus Magnus 22, Pawling 15
Hen Hud 38, Yonkers 6
Valhalla 27, Palisade Prep 7
Pelham 27, Gorton 20
Mamaroneck 44, Riverside 6
Croton-Harmon 21, Edgemont 13
Irvington 17, Westlake 7
Pearl River 29, Port Chester 12
Haldane 20, Blind Brook 12
Iona Prep 28, St. Joe’s by-the-Sea 17
Hamden Hall 34, Rye Country Day 21
Harrison 28, Byram Hills 14
Eastchester 20, Spring Valley 13
Stepinac 40, Fordham Prep 21
Tuckahoe 33, Peekskill 13
Overall, after Week 7:
50—Voice of the Panthers, Prince, The Champ is Here
45—Cuse, IonaPOwer, Don 10545, Panasonic
44—ASHS, I’m No Al Bundy, dooyah, Joey D
43—The Donald, Dragon Fever, oldnintheway, HAYWOOD, redknight
42—Gael Force, 3rd and about 7, Moe Green, Snowman
41—COACH-D-23, LG#21, class b observer, Chief Wild Eagle, Josh
39—WingTGuy, Rotten Tomato
38—Halle Lynhart, RIVER INDIAN
37—Football 44, aces wild
35—10960, Matt the CHSFL Fan, HornetD, Hollow Fan
29—football’s awesome, Jeff P.
19—In the Stands, Rocklandfootball
12—Wondering, Sect 1
5—Bulldogs, Step Rulez, Headless
9—Voice of the Panthers
8—Prince, Cuse, The Donald, COACH-D-23, Loudmouth
7—Mr. Clean, The Champ is Here, coolbrze, KnightNation, IonaPower, AASHS, Dragon Fever, LG#21, jetsstink, jppville
6—Don 10545, I’m No Al Bundy, dooyah, oldnintheway, HAYWOOD, redknight, Gael Force, 3rd and about 7, class b observer, Chief Wild Eagle, Halle Lynhart, 10960, Statesman, garnet10580, Big Blue, MisterFist, djardan
5—Moe Green, Snowman, Josh, WingTGuy, Rotten Tomato, Football 44, Matt the CHSFL Fan, football’s awesome
4—Joey D, RIVER INDIAN, In the Stands
DNP—Panasonic, aces wild, HornetD, Hollow Fan, DutchessFBFan, Jeff P., HSFootballFan13, I’m Sorry, Rocklandfootball, MurdaMark, Wondering, Sect 1, Stepinac #1, Bulldogs, Step Rulez, Headless