Hudson Valley Sports Report

FOOTBALL’S BACK! HVSR previews, power rankings, predictions and more

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

Let’s go.

The day we’ve waited for for almost 10 months has finally arrived.

When the Carrier Dome in Syracuse closed its doors on the final New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship football game last November, coaches, players and fans immediately began looking to 2013.

RELATED: HVSR Power Rankings; HVSR First String, our top 11 players in the area; and HVSR’s Week 1 Fearless Forecast

Well, here it is.

Welcome to Hudson Valley Sports Report’s weekly Football Thursday package, featuring this story breaking down the week’s big games; making the Fearless Forecast predictions; charting the always popular, sometimes controversial HVSR Weekly Power Rankings; and picking our HVSR First String, the 11 players we feel are the best in the Hudson Valley at a given moment each week.

Ready? Let’s do it !

GAME(S) OF THE WEEK
Somers at Poughkeepsie, Friday, Sept. 6 – Ah, what a way for new Pioneers coach John Castellano to break in, by returning to Section One to face his old buddy Tony DeMatteo of Somers. This is a matchup of the last two defending Section One, Class A champions. Poughkeepsie was hit hard by graduation, and had all that turmoil in the offseason, but it’s awfully hard to stop the Pioneers’ skill position players.

New Rochelle at Ketcham, Saturday, Sept. 7 – The defending state champions pay a visit to Wappingers Falls to take on RCK in what should be a great game. The Huguenots have lost a few notable players from the title team, while Ketcham has a boatload of returners. Upset special?

Millbrook at Spackenkill, Saturday, Sept. 7 – This has become a nice little rivalry between Class C and B teams. The host Spartans have been to consecutive Section Nine, Class B title games; the Blazers won the Class C crown in 2010.

ON THE HOT SEAT
Roy C. Ketcham. Hey, we didn’t put them there. Their coach did. Pat Keevins said another mediocre 4-4 finish would not be acceptable, and went as far as to say it was “Put up or shut up” time for the Indians.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Joe Pillitteri, Wallkill. The senior quarterback threw for 1,455 yards and 15 touchdowns last year and is one of the better returning signal-callers in the area.

UNSUNG PLAYER TO WATCH
Joe Daley, Millbrook. Given his dual role of running back/receiver, Daley might be the most valuable player on the Blazers. He’s sneaky fast and has good hands.

BY THE NUMBERS
1,300 – There are a pair of 1,300-yard runners coming back this fall, Bryce Gioia of Lourdes and Henry Cardinal of Millbrook.

80/20 – The ratio of runs to passes you can expect to see from both Millbrook and Poughkeepsie, both of which are running the Wing-T offense.

9 – The average margin of defeat for Arlington last year during its dismal 1-7 campaign.

3 – Of the 31 schools in the Hudson Valley Sports Report coverage area, only three – Pawling, Poughkeepsie and Red Hook – will debut new coaches.

DOT, DOT, DOT
After years of suffering through practices and games at such remote outposts as Spratt Park and Fred Stitzel Field in the city of Poughkeepsie, Our Lady of Lourdes will open its new turf facility and stadium for football Friday night against Putnam Valley …. Marlboro coach Rich Ward ran into some roadblocks in the offseason, as the Southern Ulster Times reported that several former players and coaches accused the coach of being verbally and physically abusive. The school cleared Ward of all accusations. All he’s done is win 29 games in three years and put his team in three Section Nine, Class B championship games, winning the last two …. Roosevelt is moving down a class, from AA to A, due to shrinking enrollment. The downsizing will most certainly help.

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