Red Raiders hope to gain ground despite challenges
The North Rockland High School football team, which is down a coach but not down on itself, is hoping that its second-half showing against Clarkstown North in a season-opening setback on the road will carry over into Saturday’s home opener against Scarsdale, which began its season in impressive fashion against once-mighty White Plains.
Kickoff is scheduled at 1 p.m.
The Red Raiders, who built a legacy of championship success over the years under now-athletic director Joe Casarella, are hopeful of turning around a program after a couple of down years.
The quest was made more difficult this year when Coach Tom Lynch spoke to the team on the first day of practice, informing them about health issues that will keep him sidelined, most likely for the season.
Lynch, a 17-year veteran, who had knee replacement due to the removal of a tumor, is now facing surgery to remove a cancerous kidney on September 18.
“It was a shock to all of us, it threw us for a loop,” said 22-year assistant and social studies teacher Greg Grasso, who has assumed interim head coaching responsibilities with the help of other long-term assistants Jeff Keeperman and Gary Dworkowitz, who both played at North Rockland under Coach Casarella.
Grasso, who played his high school ball under Bob Veltidi at Suffern and in college at Franklin & Marshall in Lancester, Pa., accepts the imposing task at hand and hopes for two things: primarily the health and recovery of Coach Lynch and, secondarily, a season in which pride carries the ball, so to speak.
“We want to win always. I’ve been here a long time and we had a lot of big wins with Coach Cas, 18 years or whatever,” Coach Grasso notes. “I know how it was and would like them (players) to experience the same thing as their brothers and cousins.”
Scarsdale, according to Grasso, putting on his scouting cap, runs the option and is pretty quick.
“We struggled with them last year,” continued Grasso, pulling no punches. “We improved in the second half against Clarkstown North, had a lot of breakdowns. We gave up 21 points in the first half, none in the second. We had four of five guys up front who were new to a varsity game, so it was a tough baptism. (North) was fast and runs a precise offense. They took it to us in the first half.”
North was powered to a 21-14 victory by Joey O’Hara, who had 18 carries for 154 yards and a touchdown as the home-standing Rams ground out 273 yards before intermission (332 total).
The Red Raiders will face Scarsdale without starting defensive tackle Gabe Canjura, who is out for the season, but Jake Hessler, who sat out the second half due to concussion protocol, is expected back along with offensive standout Jayden Cook, who also did not play after intermission in the loss to Clarkstown North.
Quarterbacking the Red Raiders is junior Jeff Abrams, who counts upon senior receiver Dylan Senatore, while senior Andre Francois is a key to the defense as a veteran and take-charge linebacker.
Clarkstown South 42, Ramapo 0: Quarterback Drew Tallevi’s highlight performance featured five completions for 63 yards and a touchdown to Don Bosco Prep transfer R.J. Lamarre. Tallevi, making his debut at home, finished 13 of 18 for 138 yards and two TDs. Kyle Walker made five carries worthwhile, totaling 87 yards and a touchdown while Sam Franco scored two TDs and recovered a fumble on defense.
Spring Valley 34, Horace Greeley 28 (OT): Xavier Miles threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another as the Tigers prevailed in a dramatic seesaw contest at the loser’s brand-new turf field in Chappaqua. Miles connected with Elijah Dean on a 25-yard touchdown in overtime for the decisive score. Teammate Jaquan Chambers, a sophomore, intercepted a pass in the end zone on the final play of overtime. Spring Valley trailed 14-0 before taking command, but was tied on a fourth-quarter TD. Reliable kicker Estive Bustos-Cevallos was in position to end regulation — his clutch kicks beat Port Chester and Fox Lane with field goals last season — but this time the effort was blocked.
Sleepy Hollow 34, Pearl River 21: Sean McCarthy went 13 for 22 for 214 yards and threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another to spark the Headless Horsemen.
Valhalla 31, Nanuet 7: Michael Ferrara caught five passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns and rushed seven times for 122 yards and a score to power the visiting Vikings.
Suffern 21, Mount Vernon 20: Zack Mabry threw a touchdown pass to Dan Amady on fourth down with 2:10 remaining as the Mounties completed a comeback from a 20-0 deficit at Suffern Middle School.
In other contests, Nyack was overpowered by Our Lady of Lourdes, 33-0, while Tappan Zee thumped visiting Brewster, 27-7, as Ralph Iannucci made his debut as head coach of the Dutchmen following the retirement of Andy DiDomenico.
- Sophomore Stephen Lauro of Suffern saw game action at linebacker as Worcester Polytechnic Institute routed visiting Anna Maria, 48-0, in its season opener at Alumni Stadium. The Engineers, who were led by Sean McAllen of Prospect, Conn., with 246 yards and four touchdowns, continue their season-opening three-game home-stand Saturday at 1 p.m. against former Liberty League rival RPI as part of Homecoming Weekend. RPI showcases Clarkstown South HS graduates Kyle Samuels of New City, a fullback/defensive back; linebacker Pat Naughton of West Nyack; and freshman punter Mike Tagaris of New City. Clarkstown North HS alum Brian Fuller is another defensive back at RPI while Dennis DeCicco of Blauvelt is a wide receiver.
- Tappan Zee HS alum Vincenzo Pagliaroli saw game action on the defensive line as SUNY Cortland outlasted visiting Augustana College of Rock Island, Ill., 34-32, on a 31-yard field goal by senior William Holscher of Commack. The Red Raiders travel to Framingham State (Mass.) University Saturday for a non-league contest at noon.
- Deja Smith of Suffern is a senior member on the women’s volleyball team at SUNY Cortland, which finished with a 2-2 record at its own 12-team Red Dragon Classic after falling in four sets to Rochester and winning in three sets over Utica during the second day of action.
- Goals by junior forwards Chris Estevez of Garnerville and Brad Neal of Hampshire, England, and junior back Luis Morales of Mendoza, Argentina lifted the St. Thomas Aquinas College men’s soccer team to a 3-2 victory at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. The Spartans, who also feature backs Paul Prena of Suffern and Nicholas Fiore of New City, begin a stretch of three straight and six-of-seven at home off Route 340 in Sparkill when American International visits for a 3 p.m. start on Saturday. Their East Coast Conference schedule begins at home on September 16 at 2 p.m. against Daemen College in Amherst.
- Freshman midfielder Mekenzi Moreau scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the St. Thomas Aquinas College women’s soccer team overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat visiting Post University, 4-3. Also connecting for STAC was North Rockland HS aluma Kathryn Kerrigan of West Haverstraw, a senior midfieler. The STAC lineup also includes senior forward Deja Tingling of Spring Valley, senior back Brianna Flores of Hillburn, and freshman midfielder Kyra Greenbaum of Suffern.
- The SUNY Cortland men’s cross country team, infused with freshmen Kevin Diaz Lopez of Haverstraw and Sean Sorohan of Pearl River, opens its season on Saturday in Clinton at the Hamilton Short Course Meet. The race is set to start at 11:35 a.m.
THIS & THAT
- Tom Collins, retired athletic director at Albertus Magnus and Pearl River high schools, is accepting visitors at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw following a long stay in the Cardiac Care Unit of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
- The third Nyack HS Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will be held on Thursday night, October 12 at the Patriot Hills Clubhouse in Stony Point beginning at 6 p.m. The 10-member class includes Roger Brown, who became one of the greatest defensive tackles in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. For information contact the Nyack athletic office at 845-353-7135.
- The Rockland Boulders, an independent baseball team based at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona, are looking to fill the position of comptroller/VP of finance. Send info to [email protected]
- The Joe Dugandzic Memorial Barbeque will be held Saturday at The Kennelly’s Grill House (outdoor
pavilion) from 1-5 p.m. Kennelly’s is located at 962 South Route 9W, Congers. Dugandzic, well-known in the Rockland running community, was a valued
scorer on the 1980 Pearl River state championship cross country team and coached at Pearl River as well as Clarkstown South HS and St. Thomas Aquinas College. He passed away in January from a heart attack at the age of 52 leaving a wife (Maureen) and two college aged children (Kerry and Richie).