New Paltz poised for regional contest
Section 1 champion Pleasantville tough obstacle for Hugies
A quarterback that can run and has a good group of receivers. A team with size on the offensive and defensive lines.
That describes New Paltz High’s football team.
It also describes Section 1 champion Pleasantville, the Huguenots’ opponent in today’s 7 p.m. Class B regional semifinal matchup at Dietz Stadium.
The first-round game of the state tournament is one of three contests at Dietz this weekend. On Saturday, Roscoe will play host to Section 1’s Haldane in a Class D game at 3 p.m. That will be followed at 7 with a Class AA showdown between Newburgh Free Academy and Troy of Section 2.
Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for students. Only State Passes will be accepted. Section 9, 1 and 2 Passes and also Section 9 Gold Cards will not be honored.
The winner plays in a regional final (state semifinal) 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at Dietz. Glens Falls and Peru play 5 p.m. Saturday at Schuylerville to earn a spot in that game.
New Paltz is 8-1 after ending Marlboro’s five-year title reign with a 33-17 triumph for the Section 9 championship. It’s the first sectional crown for the Huguenots in six years.
Pleasantville is undefeated at 10-0 and ranked sixth in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association poll after holding off defending champ Westlake 28-21 for its section title.
The Huguenots are ranked 12th in the NYSSWA poll.
Jimmy Verney led the Hugies over Marlboro by passing for 237 yards and three touchdowns and running for 129 and one TD. Kumar Singh, Joey DiMarco and Christian Burda all caught TD passes.
“We’ve been playing together for a long time,” said Verney, who also plays defensive back. “Our whole starting defense with the exception of Guy (Soumah) has played together since we were eight or nine years old.
“And Guy is just another asset to the team.”
New Paltz, led by the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Soumah at end and speedy strong safety DiMarco,
did a terrific job defensively against Marlboro. It forced four turnovers and had sacks by Burda and middle linebacker Brian Kenney.
The Hugies established things early by sealing off the ends to take away Marlboro’s sweep and pitch runs.
The Panthers are led by sophomore quarterback Jack Howe, who threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to put his team ahead against Westlake. The backfield features Charlie McPhee and Declan McDermott. McPhee ran for 101 yards on 20 carries and McDermott had a pair of big third-down carries to clinch the section title.
McPhee and junior middle linebacker Nicholas Salzarulo led the Pleasantville defense. A disruptive force on the line is 6-6 tackle Tim Driscoll. Teams might bring him down, but he can still trip up runners with his long arms.
Another tall player for the Panthers is tackle Will Frawley.
Westlake scored 56 points in two games versus
Pleasantville. The Panthers allowed just 13 points in their other contests all season.
New Paltz’s only loss (146) was to John S. Burke Catholic in week four. A contributing factor was an injury to senior right guard Chris Bendell the week before at Millbrook and the team was still working out the kinks of a revised offensive line.
“We stubbed our toe with a big injury at Burke and since that moment we’ve just been moving forward day by day and they’ve just had a great attitude,” Hugies coach Tom Tegeler said. “Filling his shoes for the next week, we really didn’t have a plan and it kind of hurt us.”
New Paltz’s revamped line features senior Phil Dorman at center, junior Isaac Savelson at left tackle, sophomore Tanner Johnson at left guard, 6-3 305-pound junior Max Lunati at right guard and Soumah at right tackle.
“We moved Max from the left side and a young JV kid (Johnson) to play left guard and we’ve kind of
been going since,” Tegeler said. “We were searching that day.
“The line’s dominant. Jimmy makes it look easy. We can pass. We can run the ball. I’ve always said it’s hard to stop a quarterback running and the running back running and also be able to throw the ball a little bit.
“It’s tough and that’s why we’re able to put up 33 points a game.”
New Paltz is currently averaging 37.3 points per contest and allowing just 11.9, thanks to game plans devised by offensive coordinator Scott Ricketson and defensive coordinator Sam Phelps.
“We can do a lot of different things. It’s coach Ricketson. It’s coach Phelps. It’s everything,” Tegeler said. “It’s a cliche, but it’s a team effort from top to bottom. I take pride in that we’ve been doing this for 16 years and it’s a history of winning. We don’t always win the section title, but we’re always in the playoff. We grind it out at New Paltz and they’re good kids.
“We really, really are doing a lot of things right.”
Quarterback Jimmy Verney leads New Paltz into tonight’s Class B regional contest against Pleasantville at Dietz Stadium.