Battle-tested Spring Valley gridders grind it out

Despite obstacles, Coach Andrew Delva & Co. keep Tigers motivated, competitive and many times on top

Twins stars Ori Jean-Charles, L, and Devan Lawson
Twins stars Ori Jean-Charles, L, and Devan Lawson

       Whoever said life is a bowl of cherries?

The Spring Valley High School football team has experienced firsthand the grit and determination it takes to overcome obstacles, including budget cuts and subsequent program cuts, and has managed to remain competitive under the guidance of eighth-year Coach Andrew Delva.

The Tigers made it two straight with a convincing 34-14 victory over Fox Lane last week in Bedford despite the absence of injured star quarterback Ori Jean-Charels, and go for another win on September 16 at 7 p.m. with another road contest at winless Ossining.

“He’s week to week — we’ll probably hold him out again,” Delva said of his starting QB.

Himself a graduate of Spring Valley, Delva’s staff is also comprised of Tigers graduates and fellow teammates, to wit: offensive coordinator Pierre Thevenot; special teams and linemen coordinator Michael Demosthene; head JV coach Ricky Delva; and running backs coach Jeff Johnson.

Doug Carey, a long-time teacher in the system, handles the kicking responsibilities. Last week in the win over Fox Lane, junior Steve Estive booted a 39-yard field goal.

Also scoring last week were wide receiver/defensive back Elijah Demosthene, a nephew of Coach Michael Demosthene; wide receiver/defensive back Isiah Dean, who took a kickoff return 89 yards to pay dirt; highly touted tight end/defensive end Devan Lawson, who has already received offers from Boston College, Monmouth, Albany, Army, William & Mary and Idaho; slot back/defensive back Woodmere Jean-Francois; and running back/linebacker Michael Maynes.

Senior safety Michael Mirville, pressed into duty at QB as Jean-Charles recovers from an injured right knee, had an 8-yard TD toss to Lawson over the middle.

The defensive line – perhaps Coach Delva’s baby as he played defensive end at Western Connecticut State College – is comprised of two-way starters Josh Ramponeau, a center; guards Jaylin Best and Ryson Bulluck, a nephew of ex-Tennessee Titans linebacker and Clarkstown North HS alum Keith Bulluck; and tackles Mark Augustine and Sherdon Bellefleur. Sophomore C.J. McBean is also used at guard and tackle.

Noting the preponderance of two-way players, Coach Delva easily said, “We have to play the best players.”

Among them is senior running back Tyreke Smith.

Jean-Charles, as with Lawson, is coveted by DI colleges including Albany and Florida A&M.

“These guys are the real deals, no question about it,” Coach Delva unequivocally noted.

Delva, who is into his 11th season overall with Spring Valley, said his best record ever as head coach was 6-3.

“The road to winning games can be tough with our situation – we do the best we can,” he said. “The budget cuts are a hardship … we lose kids to private schools. What we’ve done is work hard to challenge ourselves and be competitive. Despite everything, a lot of good things happen, like the Spring Valley Linemen Challenge each year.”

This year’s event, which provides a summer opportunity for interior players to compete against one another, attracted 12 schools from Rockland, Westchester and New Jersey.

As the man said: A lot of good things happen.

Next challenge: Ossining.

“All I know is they are a basic Westchester team, with a very good running back – No. 11 (Shamar Holebrook),” concluded Coach Delva, without sounding terribly concerned.


Nanuet 36, Irvington 0: The Golden Knights, who rolled to their second victory in an away game, host Albertus Magnus on September 17 at 1:30 p.m.

Albertus Magnus 41, Yonkers Montessori Academy 14: The Falcons enjoyed a feast at home, with Kyle Teneyck carrying 10 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns while Collin Crispino totaled 59 yards on just four carries. Mike Accurso added a touchdown pass. The Falcons visit nearby Nanuet on September 17 for a game at 1:30 p.m.

Clarkstown South at North Rockland: In a game that was completed just this Monday after being stopped at halftime on Saturday, the Vikings posted their second victory, 24-7. South returns to action on September 16, meeting Suffern at 7 p.m.

Nyack 27, Long Island Lutheran 20: The Indians bounced back from a season-opening loss to Tappan Zee, giving their new coach, Dominick DeMatteo, his first win at the school. Nyack hosts Lakeland on September 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the high school field.

Clarkstown North 47, Ramapo 6: Coach Joe Trongone and the Rams, coming off a tough one-point loss to rival Clarkstown South, proved too much too handle in this road victory. The Rams host Mamaroneck (1-1) on September 16 at 7 p.m.

Yorktown 35, Pearl River 6: The Pirates were overwhelmed on the road, and have a neutral non-conference contest scheduled on September 17 at 1:30 p.m.

Suffern 23, White Plains 6: The Mounties, who handled the home-standing Tigers to level their record at 1-1, have a tough road to hoe when they challenge Clarkstown South on September 16 at 7 p.m. in an away conference game.

Tappan Zee 10, Lakeland 0: The no-name Dutchmen defense again stood tall in posting the shutout in Shrub Oak. Tappan Zee’s formidable team again hits the road on September 16 to tackle Walter Panas at 7 p.m. in Cortlandt Manor.

Cristina Andrade, Baruch College
Cristina Andrade, Baruch College
Shane Cronin, steady foot
Shane Cronin, steady foot

COLLEGIATE CLIPS: Tappan Zee HS graduate Brittany Grandville survived a battle at second flight singles to win 7-6, 7-5 as the SUNY New Paltz women’s tennis team defeated host Oneonta, 9-0. At No. 1 doubles Grandville teamed with Carol Tyson of Clinton Corners and earned an 8-4 victory. The Hawks, 3-0 overall, visit Plattsburgh for a SUNYAC East match on September 16. … The women’s cross country team at Dominican College placed third at the Purchase Invitational. Dominican was led by freshman  Kaitlynn Connor of Warwick, taking fourth with a clocking of 21:42.5 in a 5k challenge. Allison Moroney of Pearl River, another freshman, was timed in 26-flat. … Suffern HS alumna Cristina Andrade is a sophomore on the women’s cross country team at Baruch College, which competes at the Queensborough CC Invitational on September 18 at Van Cortlandt Park in Riverdale at 10 a.m. … Suffern HS alumna Katelyn Cordero of Airmont had an outstanding effort in goal as the New Paltz women’s soccer team salvaged a 2-2 double overtime draw against Elmira in the consolation match of the Mount Saint Mary Tournament in Newburgh. The Hawks tied the game at 2-2 with junior Gabriella Cabello of Hauppauge scoring on an assist from Cordero, who picked up a loose ball and dribbled through the Elmira defense. Cordero played 65 minutes, all in the second half and extra time, and posted three saves. … North Rockland HS graduate Matt Caputo of Stony Point had an interception for one of five turnovers, helping nationally the 16th-ranked Cortland football team defeat visiting Framingham State, 49-21, in a non-league matchup. Clarkstown South HS alum Shane Cronin of West Nyack averaged 39.5 yards per punt, with two of his four kicks pinning the Rams inside the 20-yard line, and he made all seven of his PAT kicks. The Dominican College men’s soccer team bowed to LIU, 7-0, in a non-conference game at the University of Bridgeport Soccer Classic. Meanwhile, the Lady Chargers lost to the visiting Wildcats of Wilmington University, 3-1, at the DC Soccer Field in Orangeburg.

THIS & THAT: The NYU School of Professional Studies, in collaboration with Fifth Generation Sports, is offering a special course focused on the evolving digital sports landscape. Five Monday evening sessions are scheduled: October 17, 24, and 31; November 7 and 14. To register, call 212-998-7150 or visit …

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