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Coach Bernie Connolly to face his alma mater

Posted Monday, September 03, 2012 by 845 Varsity

Football notebook: M-W's Connolly to face his alma mater

Goshen RB Dykwan Wells, left.DOMINICK FIORILLE/ Times Herald-Record

Times Herald-Record

Monroe-Woodbury coach Bernie Connolly will return to his alma mater on Saturday, taking on Stepinac and, more importantly, honoring a fallen friend and former player.

Connolly, Stepinac class of 1974, served as an assistant at the Catholic school in White Plains in 1978-79 and was the head coach from 1984-87. Joe Riverso, a two-way lineman, captained the '84 team and went on to coach with Connolly.

They became close friends and kept in touch after Connolly left for Monroe-Woodbury in '88. Riverso was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York at the age of 34.

"It's bittersweet," said Connolly, who played defensive back at Stepinac. "Stepinac was a big part of my life and it's great to go back. But because of Joe, it has even more meaning. It's even more special."

Each year, Stepinac plays one game under portable lights called the Joe Riverso Game. Stepinac hosts Monroe-Woodbury in the game at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Riverso died on the 103rd floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, where he worked as a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald. Part of the proceeds from the game will be donated to Sept. 11 charities.

"It's a big game, I think it's a big deal," said Monroe-Woodbury quarterback Kevin Carr said. "I'm proud to play in it. I think coach Connolly will be nervous and excited. I know he will want the win."

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