This will be the eighth meeting between Tuckahoe and Chester in the state quarterfinals, but, oh, what a difference time has made.
“I definitely feel like we’re the underdog,” said Tigers coach John D’Arco, whose team will play Chester at 3 Saturday afternoon at Dietz Stadium.
Underdog? Well, after Tuckahoe won the first six meetings by an average of more than 31 points, Chester finally beat the Tigers last season, winning 26-21. The Hambletonians, who went on to lose in the state final, played Tuckahoe even throughout, but they also caught the Class D state power napping, converting a fake punt late in the game to preserve the win.
Chester also scored the winning touchdown on a blocked punt earlier in the game. Here’s my complete story on that game last year.
This will be my first of three state quarterfinal previews today. Check back later for Woodlands-Millbrook and Rye-Cornwall.
For more of a Section 9-area perspective, here’s Justin Rodriguez’s preview for the Times Herald-Record.
SCOUTING REPORT —
Class D state quarterfinal
Tuckahoe (6-3) vs. Section 9’s Chester (8-2)
When: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Where: Dietz Stadium, Kingston
Key players: Tuckahoe — Anthony Castracucco (5-8, 165), Sr., QB/LB; Chris Corrado (5-8, 155), Jr., QB/RB/DB; Enoch Penney-Laryea (6-1, 200), Sr., RB/DE. Chester — Vinny Aloi (6-5, 185), Sr., QB/DB; Angel Suarez (5-8, 170), Sr., RB/LB; Brandon Sadlier (6-0, 175), Sr., WR/DB.
Outlook: Entering last year’s game, Tuckahoe had played Chester six times in the state quarterfinals and won all six, doing so by an average margin of victory of 31 points. Chester reversed that trend, beating the Tigers 26-21 en route to the state final. Aloi had three touchdown passes in a 55-0 win over Livingston Manor in the sectional final, giving the senior a single-season Section 9 record 32. The Hambletonians have won their last eight games after an 0-2 start that included a 40-29 loss to Hackley.
Up next: The winner will play at 4 p.m. on Nov. 21 at Dietz Stadium in the state semifinals. Section 2’s Cambridge/Salem and Section 7’s Ticonderoga play Saturday at 1.
Tuckahoe vs. Chester, Class D state quarterfinals
2003: Tuckahoe, 48-6
2004: Tuckahoe, 14-0
2006: Tuckahoe, 47-0
2008: Tuckahoe, 47-20
2010: Tuckahoe, 43-0
2012: Tuckahoe, 34-18
2013: Chester, 26-21
COACH SPEAK —
Tuckahoe coach John D’Arco Sr. on the matchup: “(Enoch Penney-Laryea) and Anthony (Castracucco) are playing pretty well. They’re both over 1,000 yards rushing. The offense is feeding off the defense. I couldn’t ask for anything more. These kids having given me everything we have every week. I guess we’re playing with house money. No one thought we’d get to this point in the season.”
“I think we’re going to be the underdog going into Saturday.”
“The kid (Chester’s QB) can throw the ball. They have a couple of big linemen. The more I think about it, I think we underestimated them last year. We’re not doing that this year. Their QB is good. Their tailback is definitely a threat. And they have some big, strong linemen up front. This team’s pretty good.”
“Not that we took them lightly, but I definitely got the feel from the beginning of the game to the end that they were playing with more passion than us. And any time you knock off a team that has had the best of you, I think each time you play them you get a little more confident. I think they probably feel confident that they’re going to beat us. We’re definitely the underdog.”
“I think them beating us last year gave them the confidence that these guys can be knocked off. I got the feeling that they have more passion than we did. I think this going to be a close game. They can put points up. So can we.”
Chester coach Ron Stover on the matchup: “I think they’re tough and physical and very well-coached as usual. They execute really well and they play very good defense. They’re going to be tough.”
“I think we’re a bit different. We pass the ball a lot better than we did last year. Other than that point, it’s hard to say. Every year is different.”
“I think they’re quarterback has done a fantastic job. He’s been awesome. He’s a really good player. And with Penney-Laryea, if you give him a crack, he’s going to hurt you.”
“Our quarterback is a four-year starter. He set the Section 9 record for touchdown passes. He’s very efficient. We’ve had games where he’s only thrown five or six passes and he’s thrown three or four touchdowns, so he’s been extremely efficient. He’s only thrown two picks the entire year.”