So this is the last of this week’s Section 1 playoff game previews. We’ve already tackled Classes A, B and C.
Here’s a look at Saturday’s Class AA semis:
Class AA semifinal
No. 1A Ketcham (7-1) vs. No. 2B North Rockland (6-2)
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Ketcham High School, Wappingers Falls
2013 meetings: None
Key players: Ketcham — Kevin Duke (5-11, 180), Sr., QB; Jacob Morgenstern (6-4, 205), Jr., WR/RB/DB; Cody Levy (6-6, 260), Sr., T/DT. 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.
Outlook: This is arguably a matchup of Class AA’s best offense and its best defense. At the very least, North Rockland’s defensive line has proven its dominance, but it’s the Red Raider secondary that will be tested against Duke, perhaps the section’s top quarterback. North Rockland will need to cut back on its season-long brush with turnovers after surviving six in its OT win over New Rochelle.
Next up: The winner will meet the winner of No. 1B John Jay-East Fishkill and No. 2A White Plains at 12 p.m. on Nov. 9 at Mahopac High School for the Section 1 championship.
Ketcham coach Pat Keevins on North Rockland: “We’re trying to keep everything the same that we’ve done each week. Certainly, North Rocklnad has a tremendous defense. I think they have the best lineman (Favors) in the section. He’s a tremendous player. They’re very tough up front, but we feel like we kind of have a plan in place.”
“We have to make sure our protection is in place. We’ve played a couple very good fronts the last few weeks in John Jay and Clarkstown South. We still need to be able to run the ball.”
“Without a doubt, it’s a huge game for our program, but I’m also confident that our kids will be ready for the moment. This group of kids, they have been with us for three or four years. Although they haven’t played in this big, they’re ready.”
“Certainly, North Rockland is power football and that’s going to be a challenge. Everybody’s talking about our offense, but we’ve played some really good defense the last few weeks and we know that defense is going to win it the rest of the year. That’s been a big stress. Get off the field on third down and let our offense get to work.”
North Rockland coach Tom Lynch on Ketcham: “It’s going to be the toughest game we’ve had all year. This quarterback is unbelievable. He gives you no time. I don’t know if we can get to him. He can roll and he can sit in the pocket. If I don’t get pressure on him, I’m in trouble. He’s that good.”
“My defense up front is very good, but most teams run the ball, so we’re very concerned about them. We’re trying to get our kids ready and change up some things. He’s so good because you take away a pass but he’s also so good a runner. And from what I gather, he does a lot of things on his own at the line of scrimmage.”
“I’m as nervous with this quarterback than I’ve ever been about playing any quarterback. If we play the game we’re accustomed to on offense, we’ll be able to take time off the clock. But as I told my offense, if we don’t score three touchdowns, we don’t have a shot to win the game.”
Class AA semifinal
No. 1B John Jay-East Fishkill (7-1) vs. No. 2A White Plains (6-1)
When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Where: John Jay-East Fishkill HIgh School
2013 meetings: None
Key players: John Jay — Andrew Moesch (6-1, 235), Sr., OL/DL/K; Ryan Schumaker (QB/DB), So., 6-2, 185; Jared Sanchez (6-0, 220), Sr., RB/DL. White Plains — Cameron Crabbe (6-1, 190), Sr., QB/DB; Lukas Repetti (6-5, 240), Sr., TE/DE; Chris Jordan (5-11, 200), Sr., RB/SS.
Outlook: Much like the other semifimal, this game pits a powerful, run-first team against an opponent reliant on its big-play offense. White Plains should be healthy and rested after a Week 7 bye and last week’s shutout victory over Ramapo. But can the Tigers withstand the Patriots at the line of scrimmage? John Jay is not dynamic, but its defense won’t give White Plains too much room to operate.
Next up: The winner will meet the winner of No. 1A Ketcham and No. 2B North Rockland at 12 p.m. on Nov. 9 at Mahopac High School for the Section 1 championship.
John Jay coach Tom O’Hare on White Plains: “We know it’s going to be a physical game. Their left tackle (Anthony Tocto) and tight end (Lukas Repetti), we know those are two big boys there, so they’re pretty big up front and they have a two-headed monster in Crabbe and the running back (Jordan). I think he showed last week against Ramapo that he could handle the load. We’re going to have to play very sound defense and we’re going to have to make fewer mistakes on offense.”
“Ketcham really runs the spread and spreads you out. White Plains has some great athletes, but they don’t really spread you out like that. They’re an I-based team just like us. They have some good weapons. The tight end is a big target and No. 2 (Marshon Morris) and No. 24 (Matt Berube) are good receivers. They definitely have a lot of options to be prepared for, but we’ve spent a lot of time this week preparing for them.”
White Plains coach Skip Stevens on John Jay: “They’re very well-coached and fundamentally sound. They have size and play a power kind of football game. They try to come right at you and their special teams are good.”
“I think New Rochelle is very similar—a really, really good defense. New Rochelle also tries to pound the ball right at you with Forrest. They’re a station to station team and not afraid to kick a field goal.”
“What concerns me is if they’re able to push us around up front on a consistent basis. They have a few kids who are tough and can run the ball and when they need to they can throw it.”
“We’ve been in a couple close ones. They’re playing and practicing with a lot of confidence. They’ve played well together. I think even if we have a few mistakes, this group plays so well together that they have shown they can overcome it.”