In Section 1 football’s Class AA this year, you might get away with one slip. Two will probably be too many in a league where only four of 15 teams will make the playoffs.
Clarkstown North had its slip last week. Carmel had its slip Saturday.
North ruined unbeaten Carmel’s homecoming with a solid and convincing 41-0 victory in front of an estimated 2,500-plus spectators. Both teams are now 3-1 — and still on the bubble.
“It’s crazy,” Clarkstown North coach Joe Trongone said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. We can’t worry about that. We’ve got to just take it one game at a time and we’ve got to win football games. That’s all it comes down to.
“We had a tough loss last week against Ramapo — a lot of mental mistakes and I think it was just big to have a turnaround day. Kids came to play today. We had a great week of practice and we told them, ‘If you practice well, you’re going to play well on Saturday.’ We certainly did.”
North has its showdown with Clarkstown South next week.
On this day, though, North did just about everything right — big and small.
Matt McMullin rushed for 99 yards on just nine carries, scored on touchdown runs of 53 and 12 yards and caught a 51-yard pass from quarterback Frank Regalbuto, whose only other completion was a 48-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Termine (who did some of his best play on the defensive side). Regalbuto also scored on a 34-yard run. Billy DeLay added 89 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and completed an option pass for 25 more.
“Normally we’re not that type of (big-play) team,” said Regalbuto, who was as proud of the zero on the other side of the scoreboard as he was of the 41 on his side. “A lot of little things normally add up, but today we had some big plays.”
Eddie Ruckel recovered an early fumble and DeLay scored from 11 yards out. Then McMullin caught a 51-yarder and finished off the drive with a 12-yard run, and followed that with a 53-yarder for a 21-0 lead after Carmel failed to convert a fourth-and-long. With 29 seconds left in the first half, Termine caught a short pass and broke away down the right sideline to make it 27-0.
Regalbuto scored late in the third, and Liam Donagan returned an interception 22 yards for the final touchdown in the fourth.
North’s defense made it a long day for Carmel freshman Carmel quarterback Joe Rodriguez (8 for 17, 79 yards) and running back Anthony Bria (11 rushes for 29 yards).
“It was a nightmare,” Carmel coach Todd Cayea said. “I mean, anything we could have done wrong we did wrong. We turned the ball over early, we made mental mistakes early, we missed tackles. It was everything you’re not supposed to do, and we don’t have the offense to come back from getting in a deficit like that.
“Clarkstown physically took it to us, we had a couple of kids banged up (in the first quarter) today. So it was a nightmare.”
North remains in what promises to be a crazy race for one of the four available playoff spots.
“Coach Trongone always tells us, you can’t lose so many games because we can’t get into the playoffs if we do,” McMullin said. “So we have to keep working hard and believing in our coach; he believes in us.”
“We’re aware of (the situation),” Regalbuto said. “But we try to not pay too much attention to it. We just go out, play our game, and in the end what happens, happens.”