By MIKE SMITH
After spending a regular season battling against larger schools, Tuckahoe returned to Class D on Nov. 9 to play for the Section I title against Haldane. Against the Blue Devils, however, it was the Tigers who took on the appearance of a Class B or C power, as Tuckahoe trounced Haldane 42-8.
The Tigers took advantage of some Blue Devils miscues early in the game to set the tone. Two fumbles and a bad punt snap led to three Tuckahoe touchdowns in the first quarter, putting Haldane on the defensive.
“That was big for us in terms of getting momentum,” Tuckahoe quarterback Mike Castracucco said. “We were able to make the most of those opportunities.”
Castracucco, who connected with Jourdan Thomas for an 82-yard touchdown on the Tigers’ second possession, ended the day with 142 yards through the air and three scores‑earning offensive player of the game honors‑while fullback Enoch Penney-Larea contributed 132 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown while also scooping up a fumble and returning it for a score.
“I just had to trust in my offensive line today,” Penney-Larea said. “I had to hit the holes I was given.”
The win marks Tuckahoe’s second straight section title. For Mike Castracucco—who also started on last year’s squad—the chance to shine on the section’s brightest stage was a tremendous honor once again.
“Honestly, this feels better than last year,” the quarterback said. “I mean, it’s my senior year, so this means more.”
Haldane didn’t get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter, when they were able to find the end zone on a pass from backup quarterback Nick Allen to wideout Ryan McCollum. Though the game was already in hand by that point, the 22-yard strike ended Tuckahoe’s shutout bid.
“We’re always looking for the shutout,” Tuckahoe linebacker Mike Arborn—who was named defensive player of the game, said. “As a defense, that’s something you’re always looking for.”
Tuckahoe will be back in Mahopac on Nov. 16 when they will take on Chester at 3:30 p.m. The Hambletonians have been something of a juggernaut this year, posting an 8-1 record. They are coming off a section title rout of their own as they shutout Roscoe Central 27-0 on Nov. 8. With a week to prepare for the state quarterfinal match-up, Tigers’ players said, Tuckahoe will be ready.
“We’re very excited, we’re looking forward to this,” Penney-Larea said. “We’re ready to have a tough, physical week of practice.”