Top 10 Week: Next Season's Best
22 Although it seems like a million years away, football camp opens in nine months.
Continuing "Top 10 Week" on the blog, which I hope you folks are enjoying, are the Top 10 Things to Look Forward to Next Season (I've got to work on finding a shorter name).
10. A New Class AA Playoff Format: Okay, I'm starting the list with something that might not even happen. But I can dream, can't I? Let this be another plea for the powers that be in Class AA to restructure the conference into a four-league format where two teams from each qualify for the playoffs. Heck, that doesn't have to be it. I'll take anything at this point other than what we have. So would Clarkstown South.
9. Irvington's Aerial Attack: Until you read it on this blog today, I'm sure you had no idea about the ridiculous passing numbers Irvington QB Justin Myers put up in the postseason. For those who didn't: the junior threw for 758 yards and eight TDs in three games. Not only does Myers return next year, so do his top three receivers in Francis Skehan, Dan Malone and Nick Nedwick. Irvington will go into next season with a ton of expectations.
8. Anonymous No More: Who was Joe Denti before this season? I didn't know either. But Blind Brook's junior running back will be among the top rushers again next season after piling up 1,208 yards and 11 touchdowns in just eight games. He went over 185 yards rushing in a game four times before being slowed by injuries. If healthy next year, he's a heavy favorite to capture the area's rushing crown.
7. On A Crusade: After a rocky 3-7 season, Stepinac should be back in the fold in the CHSFL's AA Division next season with two of the most underrated running backs around. Junior Rashaad Slowley and sophomore Maurice Easterling are going to be a dynamic duo for Stepinac. Their athleticism alone will keep the Crusaders in every game.
6. Confidence in the Spread: John Jay might graduate Ryder Bohlander, but don't assume they're headed for a sub-.500 season. The Indians will feature two potential stars in QB Chris Bocklet and RB J.K. Filauro. Both players made their stamp in the AA title game this year 2 Bocklet passing for a touchdown and catching another, and Filauro catching four passes for 174 yards and a score. Tyler Granelli will also be in the mix. Another spread offense team, Clarkstown South, will also return a potent pair in QB T.J. Kilcarr and RB Antoine McGill.
5. Mandelbaum Under Center: Edgemont junior David Mandelbaum led the area in receiving yards this season. Next year, he probably won't catch a pass. That's because the explosive playmaker will be moved to quarterback for the Panthers, who'll likely have him carry the ball 20-25 times a game. Mandelbaum and Matt Paskalides should each put up tremendous numbers.
4. Pop Warner Icons: Although Rashaad Slowley, Calvin McCoy, Jayson Holt and Darlos James all play for rival CHSFL schools, their football roots trace back to the same place. The talented foursome all played for the same Mount Vernon Razorbacks team three years ago. Slowley is a RB/DB at Stepinac; James is a junior RB at Iona Prep; Holt is a QB at Mount; and McCoy is a RB at Fordham Prep.
3. Huguenot Hellraisers: Although Class AA champion New Rochelle graduates the bulk of its roster, there are two reasons to be optimistic for next year 2 Markell Rice and Paris Walker. Rice really developed this year in a big-play threat and should see more touches, as both a wing back and a receiver, next year. Walker is durable, reliable running back who established himself as the featured back in a deep corp of New Rochelle runners
2. The Dynasty Continue: Could Dobbs Ferry be headed for a Seventh Heaven? With what the Eagles return, there's no reason to think otherwise. Dobbs Ferry, which is playing for a Class C state title on Saturday, seems like a shoe-in for a seventh straight Section 1 title next year, which would be an incredible accomplishment. The Eagles return a strong core of players, including their entire backfield with running backs Devonte Brailsford, Matt Higbie and Frank Scatteretico, and quarterback Trevor Saunders. If they find some formidable linemen, there's no telling how good they'll be.
1. The Mike Mathews Show: There's no doubt who the most hyped and heavily recruited player in the area will be next season. Fox Lane quarterback Mike Mathews will enter his fourth season as a starter with 3,299 career yards passing with 38 touchdowns. He probably doesn't have a shot at breaking Rob Higle's Section 1 passing record (5,469 yards), but it will be fun to see how close he comes.
This was tough. Anybody have anything else to add?
Okay, going to sleep now. Check back tomorrow for my Final Top 10 Rankings.