Hudson Valley Sports Report


Here’s How HVSR Sees It Two Months Before Practice Officially Begins










By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

Preseason practices, camps, passing scrimmages and linemen challenges have been underway for weeks in high school football.

Organized Team Activities? Even longer.

So it seems like a perfect time to start setting up the 2019 season with the HVSR Way-Too-Early Power Rankings.

Keep in mind this first list was based mostly on results of last year and returning players. We will update the rankings periodically prior to the official start of practice in August if factors such as injuries play a role.

10) TIE, NEW PALTZ and JAMES I. O’NEILL – Both teams had fine seasons, but both teams had the same issue – the Huguenots ran into eventual state champion Cornwall in the Section 9, Class A title game, and the Raiders ran into state semifinalist Marlboro in the Class B championship match.

9) LOURDES – The Warriors lost a 19-18 shocker to Somers in the Section 1, Class A quarterfinals last year, a surprising ending to what was a promising season. The big question for the Warriors will be, can they can overcome graduation losses like star running back Jaheim Jones.

8) ARLINGTON –The Admirals made it to the Section 1, Class AA semifinals last year before getting shut out by John Jay. Like OLL, the Admirals will need to overcome key losses from last year, including quarterback Xavier Powell – but there’s plenty to choose from.

7) MONROE-WOODBURY – The Crusaders had a terrific season but ran into a Newburgh program that won its fifth consecutive Section 9, Class AA title. Monroe-Woodbury also lost head coach Ryan Baldock, who left for Cornwall, but the Crusaders got a terrific leader back in coach James Sciarra.

6) TIE, TRI-VALLEY and HALDANE – In a season where eight area programs made the transition to eight-man football, Tri-Valley mastered it the best with a Section 9 title in the inaugural year of the league. This year, there will be 12 teams playing eight-man but T-V still has the best quarterback in place with the return of the ridiculously talented Keegan Streimer. Defending Section 1, Class D champion will look to overcome the loss of standout back Sam Giachinta with the two-headed offensive combination of Daniel and Darrin Santos.

5) CHESTER – Chester overcame a strong Spackenkill team – twice, in fact – to win the Section 9, Class C championship. The Hambletonians made it to the state quarterfinals before falling to state finalist Dobbs Ferry.

4) MARLBORO – 2018 was the season coach Rich Ward was looking to with the hopes of making it to the Carrier Dome. Ward wasn’t around to see it, let go from his duties, but Brian Beck stepped up and took the team to the state semifinals before losing to eventual champion Glens Falls. The Iron Dukes lost a ton from that team but multi-talented Christian Diorio is back.

3) JOHN JAY – A Section 1, Class AA runnerup to perennial power New Rochelle last season, this could be the Patriots’ year. Jay returns plenty of beef on the line, including Colin Prendergast, Anthony Matovski and Joe Griggs, who just might be the best two-way lineman in the area. Offensively, Luke Mahon played several positions last year, had to step in at quarterback due to a variety of injuries, and ended up accounting for 25 touchdowns and emerged as one of the most exciting players in the Hudson Valley. But the biggest bonus could be a group of sophomores moving up to varsity for their junior season that could tip the scales in Jay’s favor.

2) NEWBURGH – It would be too easy to drop the Goldbacks lower, given their offensive losses. But this is a program that reloads, not rebuild. Safety Tyler Rafferty leads a strong defensive unit. Syncere Tatum will get even more touches this upcoming season at running back as NFA goes for its sixth straight Section 9, Class AA crown.

1) CORNWALL – The Dragons won the Class A state championship last season despite what could have been a tumultuous year in which head coach Mike Connolly abruptly resigned after a 5-0 start. Assistant Eric Holzapple stepped in and led the team to seven more consecutive wins, including the state crown. The Dragons return arguably the best 1-2 offensive punch in the area with quarterback Aidan Semo and running back Amin Woods. And the rich get richer – when Holzapple decided he wanted to go back to being an assistant, Cornwall lured Monroe-Woodbury’s Baldock to take over. Baldock won 30 of 42 games with the Crusaders.

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