Coincidence? Tom Tegeler thinks not.
Before the summer began, the New Paltz High School football coach took his team to the Gridiron Football Camp in Washingtonville. The Huguenots, James I. O’Neill and the host Wizards trained and prepared for the season, fine-tuning anything and everything.
So, it doesn’t seem strange that all three teams are undefeated through the first three weeks of the season.
“All three coaches — we have been texting each other all year, since we’ve been winning. It’s kind of cool,” Tegeler said. “We put a lot of time in.”
New Paltz, too, is among three teams locally, along with Red Hook and Arlington, which are unbeaten through Week Three.
So, what’s been the secret of the early season success?
For New Paltz, it’s been physicality.
For Red Hook, the offense has ignited the entire team.
For Arlington, it’s been about maturation.
“It comes down to their relationships before football and off the field,” Red Hook coach Bill Stutz said of his team. “When they get together on the field, it’s compounded. They play for each other.”
The Raiders’ team chemistry was evident in their latest win.
Red Hook torched Rondout Valley on Friday, 69-22, led by quarterback Nick Morrissey, passing for four touchdowns and rushing for two more. He received backup in the form of James Flood, who caught three touchdown passes and rushed for one. Tristen Schiafo and Hunter Cole also wound up in the end zone before the night was over.
Multiple weapons on offense, Stutz said, has benefited Red Hook.
“It’s so dynamic. There’s guys on the left, right and in the back who can score,” Stutz said. “It opens the playbook, because many times in high school you have a couple of stars. We happen to have a lot of stars sprinkled all over the place.”
New Paltz is also seeing stars through its proverbial telescope lens.
Jimmy Verney had 12 rushes for 111 yards and three touchdowns in the Huguenots’ 37-12 Friday win over Millbrook, which last year was a Section 9 Class C finalist. Joey DiMarco had 44 yards on one carry with a touchdown, as well as 15 tackles on defense. Christian Burda gathered 40 yards and a touchdown on four rushes.
It’s the team’s physical presence that has not only impressed Tegeler, but other coaches.
“We work hard at it,” Tegeler said. “The biggest thing I hear from other coaches is that we’re extremely physical. It’s a great feeling to have a group of guys that’ll jump through a wall for you.”
And then there’s Arlington.
A week ago, Admirals coach Mike Morano admitted that even he was a bit surprised that his team had won its first two games.
With a rebuilding program and a relatively inexperienced squad, the first-year head coach hoped the Admirals could win one of those two and stay afloat while things settled.
“But being 3-0 right now isn’t as much of a surprise,” Morano said on Friday, after his team scored a 17-7 win over rival John Jay. “Our team is maturing at a fast pace and we’re starting to gel at the right time. I feel confident taking the field with this group every week.”
Against John Jay, the Admirals took control in the second quarter and iced the game with a late touchdown from Paul Serino. Ricardo Yolas also tallied 149 yards and had a touchdown. The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak for Arlington against its rival from Wiccopee.
Arlington hosts Mahopac Friday, looking to keep its streak intact.
For New Paltz to stay unbeaten, the Huguenots will have to top John S. Burke Catholic in Goshen Saturday. Burke is coming off a 16-point loss to Marlboro. Red Hook likewise plays Saturday, and will have to beat perennial Class B power Marlboro at home to remain undefeated.
Top Week Three game
Highland 13, Monticello 12 — In what Huskies coach John McFarland termed a nail-biter, Mike Malheiro got his body up and blocked what would have been a walk-off field goal for Monticello in the game’s closing seconds. Malheiro also performed well on the ground with 135 rushing yards. Additionally, Isiah Daubon shined with three catches and 43 rushing yards, while Anthony Hegedus had a 22-yard touchdown reception.
Week Three scoreboard
Top Week Four matchup
Roy C. Ketcham at John Jay, Friday at 6 p.m. — No matter the situation, sparks fly when the Wappingers Central School District rivals clash. In this case, both teams are in a situation in which the phrase “must-win” should be considered. The Patriots will look to bounce back from Friday’s loss to the Admirals, while Ketcham, at 1-2 despite an impressive opening-week win, will need to even its record if it wants to stay in the playoff hunt.
Week Four schedule
Ketcham at John Jay, 6 p.m.
Dover at O’Neill. 6:30 p.m.
Wallkill at Poughkeepsie, 7 p.m.
Lakeland at Highland, 7 p.m.
Spackenkill at Pine Plains, 7 p.m.
Mahopac at Arlington, 7 p.m.
Hendrick Hudson at Lourdes, 7:30 p.m.
New Paltz at Burke, noon
Haldane at Pawling, noon
Roosevelt at Washingtonville, 1 p.m.
Marlboro at Red Hook, 1:30 p.m.
Millbrook at Dobbs Ferry, 1:30 p.m.
Byram Hills at Beacon, 1:30 p.m.
Three of the top football performances in Week Three. Nominate performances by using #PJTop3 on Twitter.
Camron Abalos, Spackenkill: The quarterback had 21 carries for 173 yards with three touchdown runs in beating host Dover. Abalos was also 5 for 7 for 89 yards through the air with two touchdown passes.
Jimmy Verney, New Paltz: The quarterback carried the ball 12 times and racked up 111 yards for three touchdowns to defeat Millbrook. He completed five passes in 10 attempts for 97 yards and on the defensive side of the ball, recovered a fumble and brought it in for a touchdown.
Nick Morrissey, Red Hook: The quarterback rushed for two touchdowns and passed for four in a victory over Rondout Valley.
Football Huddle appears every Monday in the Poughkeepsie Journal, breaking down the weekly stories on the gridiron. A.J. Martelli: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports. Sports reporter Stephen Haynes contributed to this report.