Here’s Rick Carpiniello’s game story on Pleasantville’s 23-14 loss to Marlboro in Saturday’s Class B state quarterfinal:
MAHOPAC — There was a time when Section 1 football teams feasted on Section 9 during the state playoffs.
That time is no longer.
Pleasantville High, in its first-ever state tournament, hung in for a long time but was ultimately beaten by very strong Marlboro, 23-14 in the Class B quarterfinals at Mahopac High Saturday.
“We let them convert on some big third downs, and they have a couple of great players over there,” said Pleasantville running back Enrico Ruotolo. “They came out and did what we knew they could do, but I think we did a pretty good job. We tried our hardest. We left everything we had out there.
“I can’t be more proud of these guys. I would not rather line up alongside anybody else. These guys are truly amazing individuals. They did everything they could out there today.”
Marlboro didn’t pile up huge stats. It only finished with 64 rushing yards, though it ran the ball on 14 plays of a 15-play first-possesion drive that ended in a 7-yard touchdown pass between the Iron Dukes’ two best players — quarterback Ryan Cary and running back Marsallis Faircloth. Three plays later, a bad snap on a Pleasantville punt went through the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 Marlboro lead.
In the second, though, Austin Greto recovered a fumbled punt return and the Panthers (8-2) turned it into Ruotolo’s second-effort 4-yard touchdown run to make it 9-7.
Cary (10 for 19, 151 yards) went to the air during a touchdown drive to open the second half and put the Dukes up 16-7.
Pleasantville — already missing some players, including linebacker James Leyden, who was hurt during the sectional playoffs — then lost starting quarterback Anthony Godino, who was drilled while releasing a pass.
Backup Patrick Bathon led the Panthers on a 60-yard touchdown drive, finished by Ruotolo’s 2-yard run (he had 63 yards rushing), cutting it to 16-14 early in the fourth, but Cary then drove 70 yards on the very next possession, scoring himself from 6 yards out.
“I don’t know much, but what I do know is our kids are not going to quit,” Pleasantville coach Tony Becerra said. “And they didn’t.”
About the season, which included the school’s first-ever Section 1 title in the state playoff era, Becerra said, “It’s nothing but a success. There are not a lot of smiles on our sideline right now, but when we look back and reflect there will be a lot of smiles. It was very much a success.”
It was also the first game of the season for Pleasantville senior Owen Reda, who tore his ACL during lacrosse last spring.
“I love football more than anything in the world, and to be able to strap on shoulder pads one more time with my best friends, there’s nothing like it,” he said. “Even though we lost, it was amazing for me to come back for one last time.”
• Here’s Rick Carpiniello’s video interviews with Ruotolo, Reda and Becerra: