Coach of the Week, Week 7 —
Dan Patronik, Panas: I received a few texts from Patronik and more than a few tweets from the Panas fans regarding what would happen to the Panthers, win or lose. They knew a playoff berth was not yet secure and that Sleepy Hollow would be a difficult opponent to secure it against. Sure enough, Panas fell behind big, 21-3, but it went on to score the final 22 points of the game to beat the Headless Horsemen 25-21.
Most impressively, the Panthers’ defense held Sleepy Hollow — a team that scored three TDs in the first half and averages over 30 points per games — scoreless in the second half. It helped complete Panas’ third big comeback this season after it opened with late rallies to beat Harrison and Byram Hills.
That character has defined the season. Things looked bleak with just eight returning players that followed a two-year run of success. But winning has been the norm under Patronik. When he took over in 2011, the program hadn’t had a winning season since 2004. Now, Panas has reeled off three straight and has qualified for the Class A playoffs for a third straight year.
Mike Ramponi, Nyack: Although his team entered the game as the favorite, Ramponi and Nyack also had to confront that pressure, too. They had to win. And that’s exactly what they did, beating Harrison 34-3 in a must-win game to qualify for the playoffs. The playoff berth was the first for Ramponi, who took over in 2011. In this case, his Indians faced a bigger, stronger opponent, but did so by playing to their strengths. Nyack used its speed to create mismatches that led to big plays. It sounds simple, but those explosive plays were the engine behind a very big win for the coach and his program.