Westchester Football Preview: What To Look Forward To In Section 1
It’s finally time to talk football again.
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After what may have felt like a long wait through the offseason, training camps around Section 1 are almost underway with teams gearing up for the 2014 season. With some coming off state championship appearances and others hoping to rebound from disappointing finishes, all teams have one thing in common: a clean slate. Though it may be too early to separate the contenders from the pretenders, we’ve surveyed Section 1 to see what the upcoming season has in store for teams from each class.
Coming off of a section title and state semifinal appearance, it would seem like White Plains is the favorite to dominate class AA once again. However, they’ll have the difficult task of replacing a plethora of impact players on both sides of the ball, including starting quarterback and MSG Varsity’s Section 1 Player of the Year, Cameron Crabbe. With 19 seniors graduated from last year’s 37-man roster, it will be up to returners like Will Ahearn (Sr. LB) and David Ventura (Sr. OL) to lead the charge with hopes of winning another section championship. This inexperienced team has many holes to fill, but there’s little reason to think that they won’t be able to compete at a high level throughout the season under the leadership of 2013 Coach of the Year, Skip Stevens.
Head Coach Skip Stevens on what to expect from the 2014 schedule:
“I’m not sure if one game stands out, but it is the first time in school history that we don’t have a Westchester school on the regular season schedule. Every team on our schedule is very good and well-coached.”
Though not especially known for perennial football dominance, Horace Greeley could be an interesting pick to make some noise this year. In its first season as a member of Class AA, it’ll be led by senior quarterback Cameron Ciero. Ciero’s ability as a dual-threat should deliver plenty of offensive production, but Greeley will also rely on stout defense in order to compete with Class AA juggernauts. Expect this team to compete on a weekly basis and maybe even pull off some playoff surprises later in the year.
Head Coach Tim Sullivan on his 2014 team:
“This is a great group of motivated youngsters that are ready for the challenges of moving up to Class AA.”
Rye came up short in last season’s sectional title game, falling to a tough Somers team, but the Garnets are hoping for a better outcome in 2014. Though they too have several holes to fill, they’ll be lead by an experienced three-year starter in senior quarterback Andrew Livingston. Livingston will be the focal point of the offense and probably the key to Rye’s success, but he’ll also have a great luxury in throwing the ball to All-Section receiver Tim DeGraw. Rye will have a tough opening schedule and a difficult road back to the Class A finals, but their fate rests on the shoulders of some extremely talented and capable stars.
Head Coach Dino Garr on what to expect from his team in 2014:
“I am confident we will be in the hunt for the league championship. We need to develop a good running game to go with our ability to throw the football, but also need to play sound defense and tackle well.”
Ardsley could use 2014 as another opportunity to establish a presence in Section 1 under the leadership of coach Colin Maier. They’ve developed some talented stars over the last few years (QB Dan Stein in 2011, WR Gabe Kardish in 2012, and RB George DeFiore in 2013), but they’ll need a solid team effort to emerge at the top of Class B this season. Returning quarterback Joe Deguardia will lead the charge, but the Panthers will be hard-pressed to replace a number of impact players from last year. As a program that’s been on the rise, it’s important that Ardsley continues to build on its recent success without taking any big steps back in 2014.
2013 was a magical year for Rye Neck football. They won the Class C title and made it all the way to the state finals, falling just short against a dominant Chenango Forks team from upstate New York. Another crack at a state title could certainly be in the cards for 2014, though. With a solid core of returning starters, including last year’s leading rusher, Dom Brescia, and standout linebacker, Pedro Jose Cueto, the pieces are in place for Rye Neck to dominate Class C once again. Throughout training camp, they’ll harness the sting of falling a couple yards short of last year’s state title and hope to improve upon that result in 2014.
Head Coach Nick Ianello on his team’s memorable run in 2013:
“Last season was quite a ride. Even though there were plenty of ups and downs, it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding seasons that I have been a part of in my whole career. We had great support from the school’s administration and the entire community, which helped us succeed.”
Coming off a solid 2013 campaign, Bronxville football is looking to take another step forward in 2014. Last season they lost in the first round of the sectional playoffs to the eventual state finalists from Rye Neck, but they ran through the majority of their schedule with ease. If they want to be serious contenders, they’ll need to fill the shoes of last year’s leaders like quarterback Will Duncan and running back Pat Bisconti. A tough schedule will provide a challenge, but the Broncos have reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season.
Head Coach Jeff Napolitano on player development during the offseason:
“Our student athletes get bigger stronger and faster as they mature into young men. Coaches see potential and are hopeful their players will meet those expectations.”