By MIKE SMITH
Eastchester’s football team has given area fans plenty to cheer about this fall, as the Eagles stormed through the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record en route to a No. 2 seed in the Class A playoffs. On Oct. 17, the Eagles continued their unbeaten streak, routing Tappan Zee 48-0 to advance to the quarterfinal round.
Michael Cesarini and John Guido paved the way for the Eastchester win, combining for 253 rushing yards on the day. Cesarini wasted little time igniting the offense, breaking a 63-yard run on Eastchester’s first play from scrimmage that set up the home team’s first score of the day. Guido put the game out of reach with three scores in the second quarter to give his squad a 34-0 lead at the half.
Eastchester coach Fred DiCarlo said that the offensive outburst against the Dutchmen was due, in part, to the Eagles’ wide array of weapons. With Tappan Zee focusing their attention on limiting the effectiveness of standout quarterback John Arcidiacono—who finished the day with 76 rushing yards and 68 passing yards—it was up to the rest of the starters to shoulder the load.
“If you take something away, we have the confidence that someone else is going to pick it up,” DiCarlo said. “I think Tappan Zee made a point to defend Johnny [Arcidiacono] and [wideout] Andrew Schultz, so the other guys just had to keep us moving.”
Coming into the game, the Eagles were putting their unblemished record on the line against the No. 15 Dutchmen who had a 5-1 regular season record. Throughout the week, DiCarlo said, the Eagles were intent on fine-tuning their own execution and blocking out any postseason noise.
“We came in knowing that we needed to take care of ourselves offensively and defensively and play sound football,” he said. “We didn’t take anything for granted and we just tried to come out strong from the first play.”
Eastchester now advances to the Class A quarterfinals, where they will tangle with No. 7-seeded John Jay. In the qualifying round, John Jay bested Sleepy Hollow in a wild 37-35 game, and DiCarlo is well aware that the Patriots, and their quarterback Paul Bloshuk who threw for four touchdowns last week, present a huge challenge to the surging Eagles.
“They’re a very dangerous offensive team; they had a high ranking in the preseason, they played a tough schedule, and they have an up-tempo offense,” DiCarlo said. “We’re going to have to come out and do the little things right.”
With a win, the Eagles would move one step closer to the section title game, but DiCarlo said that his team is squarely focused on the task at hand.
“We come into each week thinking we have to prove ourselves,” he said. “The kids hear the rumblings that we only have a good record because our schedule wasn’t as strong, so they want to prove that they belong here.”