Author Archives: Mike Smith

About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.

A Harrison player tries for a layup against Bronxville last Saturday.

Huskies gear up for season

Zach Evans brings the ball upcourt in a scrimmage against Bronxville. Evans and the Huskies will look to push the pace this year.

Zach Evans brings the ball upcourt in a scrimmage against Bronxville. Evans and the Huskies will look to push the pace this year.

By MIKE SMITH
Despite featuring eight returning players from last year’s playoff squad, Harrison’s basketball team isn’t taking anything for granted this winter. With a tough league schedule and a lack of size on the roster, the Huskies will have to outwork the competition if they want to find their way back to the postseason in 2016.

Last year, the Huskies posted a 14-6 record and advanced to the Class A quarterfinals where they fell to a surging Tappan Zee squad 67-59. Gone from last year’s team, however, are a few key players including Justin Stagg and Joe Nannariello, which will force Harrison to rely on other contributors this season.

“With Justin and Joe, we lost our top scorer and our top rebounder,” head coach Gary Chiarella said. “We’re just hoping that we can have guys step in to those roles.”

The Huskies have no shortage of talent in their returning players, however, with Zach Evans and Jack Hochman coming back. Yet, aside from 6-foot-4 Omar Nesheiwat, Harrison doesn’t have much in terms of length, which will necessitate some changes in the way it approaches games.

Chiarella believes that Harrison’s best chance for success will come from pushing the tempo and forcing teams out of their comfort zones.

A Harrison player tries for a layup against Bronxville last Saturday.

A Harrison player tries for a layup against Bronxville last Saturday.

“Last year, we got a ton of easy points on second-chance baskets from Joe,” Chiarella said. “Now, our big advantage is going to be our athleticism and the way we press and run the fast break.”

The Huskies won’t have the luxury of easing into their new style of play, however, with tough games on the schedule right out of the gate. The Huskies open the season on Dec. 9 against Roosevelt, and will tangle with White Plains two days later. The Huskies’ annual holiday tournament will kick off on Dec. 17.

“Hopefully we can find it quickly,” Chiarella said. “But the goal is for us to be peaking towards the end of the year.”

Although the Huskies have difficult non-league games on the schedule, including a showdown with Fordham Prep in the Slam Dunk Challenge on Dec. 28, the biggest test they face this year will likely be their in-conference tilts. Harrison’s league is especially tough this season, as Byram Hills, Rye and Eastchester are all deep, veteran-laden squads.

“I’d say personally, this is the most competitive our league has been,” the head coach said. “But hopefully playing in so many close games will make us better and get us ready for the playoffs.”

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

 
Jerry Frost strips a Harrison player during a preseason scrimmage. Frost is expected to contribute in his first year on the varsity roster.

Broncos led by youth

 

Jeff Sargent guards the lane. Photos/Bobby Begun

Jeff Sargent guards the lane. Photos/Bobby Begun

By MIKE SMITH
After being hit hard last spring by graduation, Bronxville’s basketball team has a new look this year with a host of new players stepping up to the varsity level for the first time. But although the team might take some time to gel, according to head coach Brian Senior, the Broncos certainly have the talent to compete. 

“It’s been a steep learning curve for a lot of the players,” Senior said. “We do have six players returning, but behind them, we don’t have a whole lot of game experience.”

Bronxville graduated nine players from last year’s 12-8 squad, but Senior is confident that the returning players will be able to provide a lift to the young squad this season. Chief among the returnees is two-year All-League selection Matt Toal who will run the point for the Broncos and provide a calming veteran presence in the backcourt.

“If I had to return one player, it would be Matt,” Senior said. “He’s a calming influence, he’s very even-keeled and when the ball is in his hands we know he can get it to his teammates.”

Andrew Harwood drives towards the hoop during a scrimmage against the Huskies last Saturday.

Andrew Harwood drives towards the hoop during a scrimmage against the Huskies last Saturday.

Toal will be joined by Jack Reilly and Alston Tarry, who played important minutes off the bench last year and should figure heavily into the Broncos’ offensive plans this season. Senior has also been impressed by a pair of talented newcomers, 6-foot-2 wing Brian DePaul and versatile guard Jerry Frost, who could be difference makers.

“We’re young but we are athletic this year,” Senior said. “As the season goes on, I think we’re going to have to grow into our roles.”

On Nov. 28, the Class B Broncos scrimmaged against a much larger Class A Harrison team, and Senior was impressed with the way his squad played despite not playing with Toal, who was recovering from an injury.

“We were missing some guys, but I was pretty happy with the way that we rebounded and weren’t outmuscled by a bigger team,” he said. “Obviously there are still some things we need to work on, like our press offense and some defensive rotations, but I think that will come.”

The Broncos begin the regular season on Dec. 2, after press time, with a home game against Solomon Schechter, but their real tests will come against league opponents like Sleepy Hollow, Ardsley and Woodlands.

“You always have a sense, and I think it’s going to be a competitive league this year,” Senior said. “But the big thing for us is that we don’t see a huge height discrepancy between the teams, which will allow us to hide some of the things that we don’t do well.”

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

 
MikeSmith

Column: So long, farewell

On Nov. 29, Kobe Bryant announced that the 2015-2016 NBA season will be his last. Sports Editor Mike Smith thinks Kobe’s complicated legacy will take a while to sift through. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.com

On Nov. 29, Kobe Bryant announced that the 2015-2016 NBA season will be his last. Sports Editor Mike Smith thinks Kobe’s complicated legacy will take a while to sift through. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.com

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with retirement tours.

On Nov. 29, Kobe Bryant announced his intentions to hang ‘em up at the end of the season with a poem/press release on the Players’ Tribune website. The news itself was unsurprising. Through 16 games this season, playing on a team destined to win 20 games, the Black Mamba is shooting 30 percent from the field, and generally displaying all the range and mobility of one of the shambling zombies that found their way into Alexandria on last week’s episode of “The Walking Dead.”

So yeah, it’s time.

But what we didn’t need, as sports fans, is another months-long swan song for a player who on one hand was an all-time great scorer, and on the other, leaves a complicated legacy behind.

As with most of my sports complaints, I blame the New York Yankees. The recent retirements of both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera—both of which were announced well in advance—gave rise to this new epidemic of the year-long retirement party. When Jeets and Mo retired, at each stop on the road, they were honored by the home team, given gifts commemorating their historic careers and generally fussed over by fans, writers and opposing players alike.

But that was easy to swallow with the two Yankee greats. In addition to being important, historical players, both Jeter and Rivera played their entire careers without even the whiff of scandal. As a Red Sox fan, I didn’t “like” these two, per se, but I had an awful tough time finding anything bad to say about them.

With Kobe—and Boston’s own David Ortiz, who also recently announced that he will retire at the end of the 2016 season—the outpour of support won’t exactly be unanimous.

Of course, I love Papi. Just about anyone with a pulse who lives in the greater New England area would probably trust the man to babysit their kids. But outside of Boston, questions about his PED use and his occasionally unprofessional attitude toward umpires and professional scorers mean that he’s not exactly universally revered.

Like Ortiz, Kobe is also lionized by his fans, who consider him to be among the top five best NBA players of all time. But after sifting through his on-court accomplishments, we come to the unavoidable stuff: the treatment of his teammates, his reputation as a “me first” player, and most importantly, the sexual assault allegations leveled against him in 2004.

It’s a lot to unpack, which is perhaps why Papi and Kobe chose to get out ahead of the story and dictate the narrative. They know lots of ink will be spilled over their place in the sport, their shortcomings and their scandals in the coming months. Maybe they think so much will be written
now, by the time they finally do retire, the only thing left to discuss will be how great they were at their respective sports.

Of all the things people have said about these guys, nobody ever called them stupid.

Follow Mike on Twitter
@LiveMike_Sports

 

Titans start season fast

 

Jackson Schultz fires a puck on net. Photo/Mike Smith

Jackson Schultz fires a puck on net. Photo/Mike Smith

By MIKE SMITH
On Nov. 27, Rye Town/Harrison’s hockey team took the ice after a nearly nine-month layoff, sending an emphatic reminder to the rest of the section with a 5-1 win over Monroe Woodbury in the opening game of the Guy Mathews Tournament. The message was clear: this year, the Titans are hoping to win the last game of the season.

Last March, the Titans skated their way into the Division II championship game where they fell to eventual winner Pelham 9-1. With a host of returners this winter, the Titans entered Friday’s game eager to prove their doubters wrong.

“All the guys coming back this year wanted to come out and show everyone that [last year] wasn’t a fluke,” senior goalie Joey Livornese said. “It was about team play, not individual efforts last year, and we want to get right back to the same spot.”

Ike Murov skates around a Monroe defender during the Nov. 27 contest. Photo/Bobby Begun

Ike Murov skates around a Monroe defender during the Nov. 27 contest. Photo/Bobby Begun

The Titans’ commitment to unselfish hockey was apparent throughout their showdown with the Crusaders. Although Livornese was named the top star of the game, the rest of the Titans’ skaters showed an ability to turn the extra pass into points, as Max Picker, Jackson Schultz and Sam Adler all finished with a goal and an assist in the season-opening win. From the close of the first period, Rye Town/Harrison outscored the Crusaders 4-0.

“We were just looking to get off to a fast start this year,” Titans’ coach Jason Head said. “Last season, it took us a little while to get going, so we had a bunch of scrimmages lined up this year to work out all the kinks.”

With more than a dozen players from last year’s team on the roster, Head said that his team has skated with a sense of urgency in the early going of the season. Head has asked his returners to set the tone for the squad’s younger players who may be getting their first taste of varsity experience.

Jackson Schultz dives to center the puck against the Crusaders. Schultz had a goal and an assist against Monroe Woodbury. Photo/Bobby Begun

Jackson Schultz dives to center the puck against the Crusaders. Schultz had a goal and an assist against Monroe Woodbury. Photo/Bobby Begun

“I think we didn’t have a good showing against Pelham last year and that’s a game these guys wanted back,” he said. “We did a lot of growing in the offseason and we’ve got a bunch of kids who came up from modified to support us.”

So far, the signs have been promising.

After topping the Crusaders in the opening round of the tournament, the Titans reeled off two more wins, beating Stepinac 6-2 and Yorktown 4-1 to improve to 3-0 on the young season. With tough games against New Rochelle and Mamaroneck looming in December, Livornese and his teammates are hoping to parlay this quick start into wins over the rest of Section I.

“We always talk about how the first goal is the most important goal of the game, but the same thing goes for a whole season,” Livornese said. “The boys came out flying and we hope that this is going to set the tone for the rest of the season.”

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

Joey Livornese makes a save against Monroe Woodbury on Nov. 27. Livornese and the Titans topped the Crusaders 5-1 to kick off the season. Photo/Mike Smith

Joey Livornese makes a save against Monroe Woodbury on Nov. 27. Livornese and the Titans topped the Crusaders 5-1 to kick off the season. Photo/Mike Smith

 
Matt Annunziata throws a pass in the state semifinal game. Annunziata will again be a key contributor in 2016. Photos/Bobby Begun

Tuckahoe bows in semis

Chris Corrado carries the ball against Ticonderoga on Nov. 19. Six turnovers doomed Tuckahoe in a 32-0 loss.

Chris Corrado carries the ball against Ticonderoga on Nov. 19. Six turnovers doomed Tuckahoe in a 32-0 loss.

Matt Annunziata throws a pass in the state semifinal game. Annunziata will again be a key contributor in 2016. Photos/Bobby Begun

Matt Annunziata throws a pass in the state semifinal game. Annunziata will again be a key contributor in 2016. Photos/Bobby Begun

Robert Kiernan sheds a tackler on Nov. 19.

Robert Kiernan sheds a tackler on Nov. 19.

A Tuckahoe tackler tries to bring down Brady Rocque in the state semifinals. Ticonderoga made the most of their opportunities en route to victory.

A Tuckahoe tackler tries to bring down Brady Rocque in the state semifinals. Ticonderoga made the most of their opportunities en route to victory.

By MIKE SMITH
Tuckahoe’s impressive postseason came to an end on Nov. 19 when the Tigers fell 32-0 to Ticonderoga in the state semifinals at Dietz Stadium. Beset by six turnovers, Tuckahoe’s offense simply couldn’t find its footing as the Sentinels capitalized on their chances to punch their ticket to Syracuse. 

Tuckahoe’s ball control struggles put the Tigers in an early hole on Friday. Jevyn Granger scored on a goal-line dive after Ticonderoga picked up a Mike McLaughlin fumble deep in Tuckahoe territory and running back Ryan Trudeau scored two plays after Tuckahoe’s second turnover to give Ticonderoga momentum and a 12-0 lead heading into halftime.

Despite the halftime deficit, however, the Tigers remained confident in their chances to turn things around. Tuckahoe came out firing in the second half, orchestrating its best drive of the game which took them down to the Sentinels’ 13-yard line.

Unfortunately for the Section I champs, however, that drive ended in another turnover and the second half was more of the same as they coughed up the ball twice more and surrendered two rushing touchdowns to the
Sentinels’ Brady Roche en route to the 32-0 loss.

Despite the disappointing end to the season, the Tigers acquitted themselves well down stretch. After losing all but one regular season game, the Tuckahoe beat Haldane to claim their fourth straight Class D title and also earned a one-sided win over Roscoe to advance to the state semifinals.

It was a strong showing for first-year head coach Tom Itri, whose Tigers should be competitive moving forward. Although the squad will lose 11 seniors, including standout running back Chris Corrado, to graduation, Tuckahoe will have several returnees coming back in 2016, including sophomore quarterback Matt Annunziata who showed great promise under center.

Itri could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Ticonderoga will play for the Class D state title on Nov. 27 against Section III champion Tioga. Tioga advanced to the finals with a 38-36 victory over Bishop Kearney on Nov. 20.

contact: sports@hometwn.com

 

 

Rye players take part in a preseason drill. Photos/Bobby Begun

Garnets eye turnaround

A Garnet hits a layup during a Nov. 23 practice. Rye has a chance to contend for a section crown this year.

A Garnet hits a layup during a Nov. 23 practice. Rye has a chance to contend for a section crown this year.

By MIKE SMITH
With a host of returning players and a newfound commitment to the weight room, Rye’s basketball team certainly seems poised for big things this winter. But even though head coach John Aguilar expects his team to contend for a section crown this year, he knows full well that many obstacles—including a difficult league schedule—still stand between Rye and its ultimate goal. 

The Garnets return six players from last year’s 10-10 team, which fell to rival Harrison in the first round of the Class A playoffs. According to Aguilar, Rye addressed its biggest problem, a lack of physicality, in the offseason.

“We realized that last year, we were getting out-muscled and out-conditioned,” Aguilar said. “But this is the hardest-working group I’ve had in 15 years of coaching and I think that’s going to make a big difference for us this year.”

Aguilar said the Garnets’ offseason weight training should help them better employ the up-tempo style that has been successful for them in past years.

“We were young last year,” he said. “But if our guards can rebound better, that’s going to allow us to get out quicker in transition.”

Rye players take part in a preseason drill. Photos/Bobby Begun

Rye players take part in a preseason drill. Photos/Bobby Begun

With encouraging signs so far, Aguilar envisions guard-play as being key to the Garnets’ success this winter.

Junior Charlie Nagle, who won all-league honors as the Garnets’ point guard last year, will slide to the shooting guard spot to make way for classmate Michael Carty, who will run the point.

At 6-foot-5, Mark Croughan gives the Garnets a strong presence in the paint, and could present matchup problems for opponents while paired with 6-foot-4 George Kirby in the frontcourt.

“[George] can play down low but he can also shoot the three,” Aguilar said. “And I think that’s going to open things up a lot for Mark, who has gotten a lot better at finishing around the rim.”

Mark Croughan leads Rye in a conditioning drill. Head coach John Aguilar believes his team will benefit this year from offseason weight training.

Mark Croughan leads Rye in a conditioning drill. Head coach John Aguilar believes his team will benefit this year from offseason weight training.

The Garnets open the season on Dec. 8 against Sacred Heart and will host their annual Cliff Clinton Classic, which will kick off on Dec. 11. Rye’s league schedule begins on Jan. 6, when the Garnets host Eastchester.

According to Aguilar, Rye’s league opponents, including Eastchester, Pelham and Byram Hills, all figure to be loaded as well.

“I think this is the best team I’ve coached, and I think we have a legitimate shot to beat any team in the section,” he said. “But all these teams in our league have players coming back too, so I don’t know if we’re a top three team in the league.”

No matter how the regular season shakes out, he said, the league battles will be invaluable in getting his squad ready for postseason play.

“Every league game is going to have that playoff atmosphere,” he said. “And with our guys, especially the younger guys, it’s going to help them get used to that.”

A Rye player takes a shot during a Nov. 23 practice. Rye returns six players from last year’s team.

A Rye player takes a shot during a Nov. 23 practice. Rye returns six players from last year’s team.

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

 
From left, Sam Morton, Will Young and Lauren Chapey at the New York State Championships on Nov. 14. All three Tigers had terrific fall campaigns. Contributed photos
Rocket fuel


CAPTION:
In the Town of Mamaroneck, Hommocks Middle School is doing away with food waste in a new way. For story, see page 5. Photo/Kiley Stevens

Tigers fare well at states

From left, Sam Morton, Will Young and Lauren Chapey at the New York State Championships on Nov. 14. All three Tigers had terrific fall campaigns. Contributed photos Rocket fuel CAPTION: In the Town of Mamaroneck, Hommocks Middle School is doing away with food waste in a new way. For story, see page 5. Photo/Kiley Stevens

From left, Sam Morton, Will Young and Lauren Chapey at the New York State Championships on Nov. 14. All three Tigers had terrific fall campaigns. Contributed photos
Rocket fuel
CAPTION:
In the Town of Mamaroneck, Hommocks Middle School is doing away with food waste in a new way. For story, see page 5. Photo/Kiley Stevens

By MIKE SMITH
Over the course of a long fall season, a handful of Mamaroneck cross-country runners were able to put themselves on the map with signature performances at some of the season’s biggest meets. Lauren Chapey, Sam Morton and Will Young all participated in the state championship meet on Nov. 14, with Chapey placing eighth and the two boys finishing 21st and 50th, respectively.

While Chapey, a senior, was considered one of the area’s top runners heading into the fall season, it was Morton, a junior, who exceeded even the expectations of Mamaroneck coach Bob Morrisey.

His 21st-place finish at the meet in Wappingers Falls was the culmination of a long road back from injury, according to the head coach.

“Sam was kind of a surprise this year,” Morrisey said. “He’s been going along but had to deal with a nagging injury to his knee last year. But he has a very strong will, he’s very focused on what he’s doing and he’s kind of impervious to pain, which is part of running cross-country.”

Like Morton, Chapey also had to fight through injuries to put together a career-best fall campaign. Although she has been one of the top Tiger runners since joining the squad, her 18:23.40 time at states made her the top finisher among all Westchester runners and hers was the second-best time in all of Section I. For Chapey, who has been a part of the cross-country team for the last four years, Morrisey points to her renewed commitment to strength training as a major factor in her elite senior year performance.

“She has worked on all aspects of her running: her endurance, her speed, her flexibility, but most of all her strength,” Morrisey said. “I think that’s what helped her fight through and reach her full potential.”

Lauren Chapey competes in a cross-country race. On Nov. 14, Chapey placed eighth at the New York State Championships with a time of 18:23.40.

Lauren Chapey competes in a cross-country race. On Nov. 14, Chapey placed eighth at the New York State Championships with a time of 18:23.40.

According to the head coach, Chapey’s work ethic and her performance this fall will be something he can use to motivate younger athletes on the team.

“Lauren is the captain and the younger athletes see what she does and I think that rubs off on the team,” he said. “They see that she had a hard time last year because of injuries but through hard work, she was able to have tremendous success.”

Both Morton and Chapey will compete in the Nov. 28 cross-country national qualifiers, but will get some much-needed time off before gearing up for winter competition.

“They’re going to get a week off,” Morrisey said. “After that, they’re going to start training for the winter track season.”

CONTACT: sports@hometwn.com

 

 

 

Lauren Chapey crosses the finish line at Monroe Woodbury High School.

Lauren Chapey crosses the finish line at Monroe Woodbury High School.

 

 

MikeSmith

Column: Giving thanks

Sports Editor Mike Smith loves covering fall sports. He’s just happy the winter season is beginning before the weather starts to turn.  Photo/Mike Smith

Sports Editor Mike Smith loves covering fall sports. He’s just happy the winter season is beginning before the weather starts to turn.
Photo/Mike Smith

As families all over the nation get together on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s only fitting that I pause and give thanks as well; mainly for the fact that the fall season is finally over.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love working during autumn. Between the elite field hockey squads in our area and all the football action you can shake a stick at, I’m never at a loss for exciting athletic activity to cover in November.

But sometimes, it just gets too darn cold.

I was lucky this fall. Regardless of whether New Rochelle and Tuckahoe won or lost last weekend, I was done with outdoor coverage (the state football championships are played in the Syracuse Carrier Dome) for the year, and I escaped relatively unscathed. We’ve had some pretty decent weather over the last few weeks and for a guy who spends most of his weekends standing on some field with a camera, it’s been a blessing.

But that hasn’t always been the case.

There have been times during my tenure here when I think I deserved some hazard pay at the very least. Sure, tweeting doesn’t sound dangerous to the average person, but when frostbite is imminent, it’s a different story entirely.

With December approaching, Sports Editor Mike Smith is celebrating the end to another exciting fall season. Photo/Bobby Begun

With December approaching, Sports Editor Mike Smith is celebrating the end to another exciting fall season. Photo/Bobby Begun

I can remember a few years back, I covered a Syracuse-bound New Rochelle team in the state semis on a Saturday night up in Kingston. It couldn’t have been more than 20 degrees outside, with howling wind biting through each of the roughly 17 layers that I had on.

I’m not kidding; I was wearing so many shirts, it looked like I had donned one of those inflatable sumo wrestling outfits. And still, it did no good. It took the entirety of my hour-and-a-half drive back home, with the heat in my car pumping, to raise my body temperature back up to something
approaching normal.

This year, in comparison, I could have covered these games wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals.

But just because the weather has been mild so far, it doesn’t mean I expect it to continue. So with winter on the horizon, the freezing temperatures, the ice, and the snow, I’m going to be glad to be inside cozy gyms, doing my job.

Now if I can just get them to turn the thermostat up at the Hommocks Ice Rink, I’ll be set till April.

 

Follow Mike on Twitter
@LiveMike_Sports

 
Jared Baron flies over the top of a Goldbacks defender on Nov. 14. Baron’s 56-yard touchdown run helped New Rochelle escape with a 21-20 win.

New Ro survives scare

A host of Huguenots converge on a Newburgh ball carrier on Nov. 14. New Rochelle’s defense was stout until the Goldbacks put together a late rally.

A host of Huguenots converge on a Newburgh ball carrier on Nov. 14. New Rochelle’s defense was stout until the Goldbacks put together a late rally.

Jared Baron flies over the top of a Goldbacks defender on Nov. 14. Baron’s 56-yard touchdown run helped New Rochelle escape with a 21-20 win.

Jared Baron flies over the top of a Goldbacks defender on Nov. 14. Baron’s 56-yard touchdown run helped New Rochelle escape with a 21-20 win.

Greg Powell sheds a tackler at Dietz Stadium. Powell and the Huguenots are one win away from the state title game.

Greg Powell sheds a tackler at Dietz Stadium. Powell and the Huguenots are one win away from the state title game.

Justin Cossifos recovers a Newburgh fumble. All three of New Rochelle’s touchdowns came off Goldbacks’ turnovers. Photos/Bobby Begun

Justin Cossifos recovers a Newburgh fumble. All three of New Rochelle’s touchdowns came off Goldbacks’ turnovers. Photos/Bobby Begun

By MIKE SMITH
Nobody said getting to Syracuse was going to be easy. 

For roughly three quarters on Saturday, it appeared as though New Rochelle was going to stroll into the state semifinals with a lopsided win over Section IX Newburgh. But a late Goldbacks’ rally tested the Huguenots’ resolve, as the Section I champs escaped with a 21-20 win.

Trailing by 21 points late in the third quarter, Newburgh quarterback Ryan Skivington began to find his rhythm, throwing for two touchdowns and a couple of big gains in the last 15 minutes of the game to cut into the Huguenot lead. Ultimately, however, the Huguenots’ unwillingness to surrender extra points—including a blocked PAT by Rashon McNeil—proved to be the difference-maker, and a New Ro recovery on an onside kick attempt with 18 seconds left spelled the end for Newburgh.

Despite giving up a late rally, New Rochelle sophomore Jared Baron said the pressure never got to the Huguenots.

“We weren’t nervous,” he said with a grin. “We knew that we were going to keep playing together, as a team.”

If New Rochelle’s defense was suspect late in the game, the first three quarters were marked by the team’s tenacious and opportunistic play. All three Huguenot touchdowns came off turnovers, and sophomore linebacker Lloyd King put his mark on the game, forcing two Newburgh fumbles on the evening.

In a game that saw both teams struggle for yards, it was King’s second forced fumble—recovered by defensive end Tyler Cohen—that led to the Huguenots’ biggest offensive play of the day: a 56-yard touchdown scamper from Baron, who nabbed the game’s most outstanding back award.

Baron’s long touchdown run came on a misdirection play, giving New Rochelle the 21-point lead it would need to come out on top.

“That’s a big play for us,” he said. “We faked the counter a couple of times and the defense really bit on that one.”

With the win, New Rochelle will advance to the state semifinal game on Nov. 21 against Saratoga Springs, which beat Shaker-Colonie on Nov. 7 to earn a first-round bye in the state tourney. For the Huguenots, who haven’t been to the tournament since winning it all in 2012, late November football is uncharted territory.

“I’ve been on the team for three years; I’ve been through the good times and the bad,” senior quarterback Greg Powell said. “It just feels good to be one win away from the dome.”

But if the scare against Newburgh has proved anything, he added, it’s that there’s certainly more work to be done.

“This was a shell-shocker, but it’s the state playoffs, and every team is going to be as good, or better, than they were,” Powell said. “We’re just going to have to step up in practice every day.”

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

 
Chris Corrado breaks a run against Roscoe on Nov. 14. Corrado rushed for 128 yards and three scores en route to winning MVP honors in Tuckahoe’s 35-21 win over the Eagles.

Tigers rough up Roscoe

Christian Pinto changes direction and outruns an Eagles player. Photos/Mike Smith

Christian Pinto changes direction and outruns an Eagles player. Photos/Mike Smith

Matt Annunziata plows through the line against Roscoe. Annunziata rushed for 98 yards in the Tigers’ win.

Matt Annunziata plows through the line against Roscoe. Annunziata rushed for 98 yards in the Tigers’ win.

Christian Pinto and Robert Kiernan converge on a Roscoe ball carrier in the state quarterfinals. Tuckahoe’s defense allowed just one first down in the first half.

Christian Pinto and Robert Kiernan converge on a Roscoe ball carrier in the state quarterfinals. Tuckahoe’s defense allowed just one first down in the first half.

Chris Corrado breaks a run against Roscoe on Nov. 14. Corrado rushed for 128 yards and three scores en route to winning MVP honors in Tuckahoe’s 35-21 win over the Eagles.

Chris Corrado breaks a run against Roscoe on Nov. 14. Corrado rushed for 128 yards and three scores en route to winning MVP honors in Tuckahoe’s 35-21 win over the Eagles.

By MIKE SMITH
Tuckahoe may have been idle for 14 days following its Section I title win over Haldane, but when the Tigers took the field against Roscoe on Nov. 14, they didn’t wait too long to pick up right where they left off.

With a dominant 35-21 win over the Eagles on Saturday, the Tigers now find themselves in the midst of their first winning streak of the season and just one win away from a trip to the state finals.

As expected, Tuckahoe’s speed proved to be the difference-maker from the outset. On the Tigers’ opening drive, senior running back Chris Corrado broke a 37-yard touchdown run for the game’s first score, a play that would set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

Corrado would finish with 128 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns as the Tigers scored on their first five offensive series to amass a 35-7 halftime lead that all but spelled the end for Roscoe.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but we knew their secondary was softer than most,” said Corrado, who earned the game’s MVP honors. “Really, we just hit the holes and once the holes opened up, we went right through.”

Although Roscoe was able to make the score respectable in the second half, scoring a couple of late touchdowns to turn the contest into a two-possession game, most of the Eagles’ success came against Tuckahoe’s backups, who entered the game en masse in the third quarter.

“It was probably midway through the second quarter when we started subbing guys in,” Tuckahoe coach Tom Itri said. “Later in the game it got a bit too uncomfortable, but it was good experience for our younger guys, not just for this year, but
going forward.”

The Tigers’ starters dominated every facet of the game, limiting the Eagles to just one first down before the half. The success of Corrado and quarterback Matt Annunziata, who rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown, stemmed from the work done up front by the Tuckahoe offensive line.

Joshua Sanz, who was tabbed the game’s top lineman, said that going against the larger Roscoe team wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for the Tigers.

“We approached it like every other game because we’re always the smaller team,” Sanz said. “We just stayed low and stayed on our blocks.”

At 3-6, the Tigers have won their last two games and seem to be finding their stride in the postseason. They need just one more win to reach the Class D state title game, but it won’t come easy. Next up for Tuckahoe is Section VII champ Ticonderoga (10-1), which is also enjoying a dominant stretch. In their last two games, the Sentinels beat Section X Tupper Lake and Section II Whitehall by a combined score of 82-0.

For the Tigers, who played against a tough Class C schedule all year, it will just be business as usual.

“We wanted to play a tough regular season schedule so we could get to this point and push through,” Sanz said. “We’ve been playing really good and we want to keep that going.”

Tuckahoe and Ticonderoga will square off on Nov. 20 at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Contact: sports@hometwn.com