When John D’Arco believes a Tuckahoe team is worthy of harboring state playoff dreams, he uses the regular-season schedule as a gauge. As one of only three Class D programs in Section 1, the Tigers play a predominantly Class C schedule littered with state-ranked programs and past and future state champions. D’Arco figures if his team plans on winning in November it should win plenty in September and October, too.
On Saturday, Tuckahoe produced one of its most impressive regular-season efforts in a decade. The Tigers piled up 445 yards of offense despite having two long touchdowns called back and rolled to a 38-14 victory over Dobbs Ferry, the defending Class C state champ.
Tuckahoe (4-0) not only remained unbeaten, it snapped Dobbs’ 14-game winning streak. The Tigers avenged last year’s 40-0 loss to the Eagles, beating them for the second time in three seasons.
Their 2010 win over Dobbs (3-1) preceded a Class D state championship.
“There’s a fine line between the good teams and the great teams,” D’Arco said. “And we’re closing the gap slowly but surely, week in and week out.”
They did so Saturday behind senior Nick Reisman, who had 211 of his team’s 333 rushing yards on just 11 carries, two of which went for touchdowns. Reisman unburdened Tuckahoe during its only true moment of tension. Two plays after a key fourth-down stop by teammate Kayvon Reid, he raced 52 yards to give the Tigers a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“We had a great week of practice. Everybody was playing hard, working hard. Our scout team prepared everybody to play,” said Reisman, whose sentiment was echoed by D’Arco. “We just had a great week.”
The Tigers said they were fueled by last year’s 40-0 loss at Dobbs Ferry — a result D’Arco dubbed “embarrassing.” Despite Saturday’s offensive output — including first-half touchdown passes from Michael Castracucco to Darrel Taylor and John Paulino that helped build a 22-0 halftime lead — that emotion was best exemplified by the defense. It limited Dobbs Ferry to 263 total yards, holding junior fullback Tim Soave to 101 yards on 25 rushes.
Soave’s power running, two forced turnovers and a 54-yard halfback pass from Brian Gardner to Kenyon Roberts closed the gap in the second half, but the Tigers regained control.
“The whole thing was to stop (Soave),” said Reid, a senior linebacker. “Without their plan A, it’s hard from them to get to their plan B and C.”
“I think we have a long way to go, but I also think they’re a real good team,” Dobbs Ferry coach Jim Moran said. “They’re definitely the best team we’ve faced all year. I’ve seen a bunch of teams we haven’t played. They’re the best in my eyes.”