If the high school football scores aren’t pouring onto your local newspaper’s website as usual this weekend or the roundups in the morning edition on your doorstep seem thin, it might be that you’re a day or two late.
The observance of Yom Kippur on Friday caused a number of schools to push up their games to Thursday afternoon or evening. All 54 Long Island games between New York State Public High School Athletic Association teams and the full Section IX slate were moved up. More than 30 Section I games were also scheduled for Thursday, as were half a dozen apiece in Sections II and V.
The challenge was particularly daunting for five Section I teams that played their season openers on Sunday and were scheduled to be back in action Thursday, leaving them with the bare minimum time to recover physically and prepare mentally. Briarcliff (Manor, N.Y.)
, Byram Hills (Armonk, N.Y.)
, North Rockland (Thiells, N.Y.)
and Westlake (Thornwood, N.Y.)
all crammed their preparation into just three days.
"You always hope that even on a short week once the first whistle blows the kids are going to respond," Westlake coach Rich Hennessy told The Journal News
. "But we're creatures of habit. We don't like change."
Well, then he really didn’t like Thursday’s developments. Weather caused postponements for Westlake and Briarlake, and the other other short-week schools all lost. North Rockland suffered a 14-6 setback to Clarkstown North -- the Rams’ first victory over the Red Raiders since 1979 – while Marlboro topped Byram Hills 6-3 and Our Lady of Lourdes rolled past Irvington 47-24.
One side effect of the disruption is that the league and section officials who built the schedules in the spring for the most part succeeded in avoiding marquee matchups. The biggest game of the week is on Friday between St. Anthony’s, ranked No. 2 in Class AA in the inaugural New York State Sportswriters Association rankings, and No. 10 Holy Cross, and there are only five other matchups between the state’s 105 ranked teams across five classes.FIRST SET OF STATE RANKINGSMonroe-Woodbury (Central Valley, N.Y.)
, coming off two strong showings to open the season, snared the top spot in Class AA as the NYSSWA kicked off the 44th year of its football ratings.
The other No. 1 squads are defending New York State Public High School Athletic Association champions: Sweet Home-Amherst
(Class A), Hornell
(C) and Randolph
(D).MORE TEAMS SITTING OUT 2010
Add Brocton to a list that includes Saratoga Catholic, Hamilton, Bishop Grimes, Southern Springs, Jerico and A. Philip Randolph.
All have dropped varsity football since the start of two-a-days in mid-August due to small turnouts
Brocton’s departure from Section VI play comes with a bitter twist. Superintendent John Hertlein sent out an announcement late last week that there was not a sufficient number of healthy and experienced players to continue.
"Circumstances have taken us to a point that to continue with the numbers of players and the age and experience of these players, it could become an unsafe situation to continue with the current schedule and contest," he said in his e-mail to The Dunkirk Observer.
The tipping point came when four players were KO'd for the month by injuries and another four quit the team. That left just 10 healthy players.
Brocton was unable to field a team a year ago and nearly didn't make it to the starting line this fall because of district budget issues that necessitated a fund-raising drive by boosters to salvage the program. The Bulldogs opened this season with a 57-0 loss to Chautauqua Lake.
Having players quit after parents and boosters worked hard to save the sport from the chopping blank did not go over well.
"There were a couple kids with no heart," coach Terry Presto told the paper. "For the kids, I think we would have done great against Sherman. But there are a group of kids who don't care and it's sad for the other kids. These kids have no remorse for what the community did for them."
Said senior captain Derek Head: "We are all disappointed. The town came together to get the team back and these kids showed no commitment. They have no heart."
In New York City, it appears the Harlem Hellfighters – a magnet program for players from Manhattan schools too small or dysfunctional to field their own team – are toast. The Hellfighters played under an affiliation with A. Philip Randolph last year, but their working agreement fell apart over the summer.COACHING NEWS
Bob O'Connor, who retired after 29 seasons in Buffalo as St. Joseph's coach, is the offensive coordinator at Buffalo Bennett this fall. "It's different, but kids are kids, players are players. I'm having a ball coaching them," he told The Buffalo News
Wayne Carroll has told his Bath players he will retire after this season, his 24th. He has long excelled at reviving and maintaining small-school programs beginning with an impressive stint at Romulus where players came and went with stunning frequency because of changes in deployments at what used to be the Seneca Army Depot.
His son Nick is a senior linebacker/running back who is attracting some Division I college interest.FUTURE CHANGES POSSIBLE
Eight Dutchess County schools may seek to change affiliations, shaking up the landscape in Sections I and IX.
Arlington, Roy C. Ketcham, John Jay-East Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, Our Lady of Lourdes, Beacon, Dover and Pawling face a Nov. 30 deadline to apply for membership in Section IX in time for the 2011-12 school year, with approval then possible by January.
It would be the third major reconfiguration of Section IX, following the defection of Rockland County schools to Section I in the 1980s and the addition of six Dutchess schools in the late 1990s,
Section IX Executive Director Bob Thabet told the Times Herald-Record
he has met with Dutchess representatives, who in large part are concerned about travel and competitive disparities. He has been collecting data from the eight schools so that the section's membership can analyze the potential repercussions.
Section I alignments are based primarily on geography, while the Section IX leagues — the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association and Mid-Hudson Athletic League — are based on enrollment.
The shift of a handful of Class AA and A schools would smooth out some of the imbalance between the regions. Section I could drop from 20 Class AA football team to 18 and from 24 Class A squads to 21. The Section IX numbers would groe to 12 and 10 respectively.
The sections would also be almost identical in size in Classes B and C.John Schiano, who has written about high school sports in western and central New York for more than 25 years, covers New York for MaxPreps. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org