Hudson Valley Sports Report


With Days To Go Before Regular Season, A Breakdown Of Several Teams

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

Nearly every Hudson Valley high school football team was in action on Scrimmage Saturday, the traditional point two weeks after the first official practice where teams can strap on the pads and hit somebody other than themselves.

Here’s a breakdown of about a dozen of those schools, with help from their respective coaches, heading into Week 1 of the season on Friday night.

The defending New York State Class A champions and the No. 1 team in the Hudson Valley Sports Report preseason power rankings, the Dragons actually kicked off Friday morning as they traveled to Shenendehowa with John Jay and Monroe-Woodbury.


Cornwall is breaking in a new coach but returns arguably the top quarterback/running back duo in Section 9 with Aidan Semo and Amin Woods.

“We wanted to leave the scrimmage first, and most importantly, healthy,” said new coach Ryan Baldock, who came over from Monroe-Woodbury and will face his former team in Week 1. “We stressed to players how we wanted to see them compete against schools with twice as many students as us and they did not disappoint.  We were physical and competitive.  The offensive live really set the tone for the day with their physicality.  Amin Woods ran hard behind the line and looked every bit of the D1 running back he is. We are just like everyone else at this point as we have plenty to improve on.  We are just focused on our next practice and trying to improve each day.”

Woods received an offer from Marist College in July.

Bill Bianco didn’t mess around. Either with his scrimmage opponent or has postgame assessment.

The Goldbacks went up against perennial state power Troy on Friday and came away with, well, basically everything still on the table.

“This early in the season there isn’t a thing or aspect we don’t have to continue to work on,” said the coach of HVSR’s No. 2 team in the preseason power rankings. “I’m not ducking the question, but really every aspect is in the early stages of development.”

Bianco said Nick Patterson ran the ball well offensively and Tyler Rafferty was very active on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker.

The Huskies scrimmaged at Wallkill and coach Josh Tatum was looking to acclimate his younger players to the speed of the varsity game.

“We have a handful of guys who are being asked to step in and contribute as sophomores,” Tatum said. “It’s a big jump.”

The defense looked good, ahead of the offense, as linebackers and defensive backs were getting to the right spots in coverage and the defensive line put more pressure on the Wallkill quarterback than the Huskies did in last year’s loss to the Panthers.

Tatum singled out sophomore running back Osei Adoma, who ran for 20-plus yards on his first carry and later showed some toughness when he was hit at the line of scrimmage and still turned it into a four-yard gain.

The Blue Devils scrimmaged Albertus Magnus and sixth-year head coach Ryan McConville said the trip to Rockland County taught his team “how to handle playing on the road and dealing with adversity.”

The Blue Devils, coming off a 7-2 sectional championship season last fall, are young due to a lack of seniors. But they have a dynamic junior class ready to lead.

“We are looking to (quarterback) Dan Santos, (running back) Darrin Santos and (wide receiver) Doug Donaghy to be our leaders on offense,” McConville said. “And have a bunch of young players with great athleticism to make plays as well.”

MV coach Kevin Gallagher kept Scrimmage Saturday in the family – the Warriors traveled to Maine-Endwell, where Gallagher’s brother matt coaches.

Kevin most definitely left happy.

“I thought our offense looked very good and our line is really coming around and looking good,” he said. “I was very happy with our young defense (only one returning starter). I thought they really started to come together and play team defense.”

And, no need to ask – sophomore young gun quarterback Kai Colon looked sharp as did receivers Johnny Mack, Jake Romano, Dylan Guyette and Tom Mazany.

“And, running backs Kyle Killenberger, Nick Marrotto and Ethan Gallo showed we can move the ball on the ground,” Gallagher said.

In order to beat the best you need to play the best. That was the philosophy of head coach Tom O’Hare and the Section 1, Class AA runnerup. Jay is ranked No. 3 in the HVSR rankings.

“Our primary goal was to face high level programs, and evaluate our athletes in their ability to execute our basic offensive and defensive schemes, as well as see how they react when placed in competitive situations,” O’Hare said. “Our offense moved the ball with some success, and was up-tempo with an ability to get maximum repetitions.”

John Jay is expected to contend for the sectional crown this year again.


“We had moments on each side of the ball where we looked strong, but we need to eliminate penalties and mental mistakes in order to have success with the schedule that we have in front of us,” O’Hare said.

New head coach James Sciarra was blunt after the scrimmage at Shenendehowa that included Cornwall and John Jay.

“Let’s just say we have some work to do,” he said. “We have a long way to go and a lot to work on to be ready to compete at Cornwall.  They are a well-coached team with a lot of great athletes. Our inexperience showed as we are still putting together the pieces on a team that graduated almost every starter from last year.”

Sciarra pointed to tight end/defensive lineman Vincent Quintana, who “showed a lot of heart and fight.”

The Raiders went north to Taconic Hills to also scrimmage Coxsackie-Athens, Delaware Academy and Rondout Valley. Head coach Scott Ricketson said offensive lineman Joey Clark and linebacker Zac McGee both had strong efforts, and the offensive and defensive lines are improving.

“We stayed focus on the next play and kept moving forward throughout the day,” Ricketson said. “We need to clean up the little things and work on the details.”

Coach Brian Vegliando called it a productive day for the Panthers.

“I thought we ran the ball very well. The offensive line played really well, as did our running backs,” he said. “Defensively, we were very physical up front. Our defensive line did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage for the most part and the second and third level pursued to the football very well.”

The Bombers scrimmaged at Millbrook, where Spackenkill, Dover and Pawling also joined in.

Injuries, both previously and during the scrimmage, were most certainly a storyline for the teams, including Pine Plains – the Bombers scrimmaged with 17 healthy bodies on a current roster of 22 players.

Pine Plains starts a new quarterback in Calab McCaul, but “we’ll go as far as our offensive and defensive lines take us,” head coach Rob Scott said. “Overall we were very satisfied with the scrimmage and very impressed with all the teams. Our division is going to be very tough.  Pawling Is going to be a force as well as is Spackenkill with all their athletes.  They are both big and fast.”

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