PLEASANTVILLE – What rust?
Najee Smith had Dobbs Ferry sitting pretty when he brought the opening kick back 69 yards and Jibril Kapadia was in the end zone three plays later. A three-week layoff had no ill effects on the Eagles, who rolled to a 35-0 win over Woodlands on Saturday at Pace University in the Section 1 Class C championship game.
It’s the school’s first title since 2011.
“We really wanted to come out here and play our best,” Smith said. “We had three off to prepare for this. We came out here ready to fight. And when Jibril scored that first touchdown it got us all fired up to achieve our goal.”
Dobbs Ferry practiced with Blind Brook and Byram Hills to stay in stride for the championship game.
“The kids have been great,” Eagles coach Jim Moran said. “They’ve been very focused. We had a lot of bumps and bruises, so having time off actually helped us. There was never any confusion, like what are we going to do with these guys.”
Kapadia rumbled 12 yards for another touchdown with 2:05 to go in the first quarter. He also threw a scoring pass to Hadi Darvish in the final seconds of the half and Dobbs Ferry was up 21-0.
The Eagles extended the lead when Smith took an interception back 52 yards for a score midway through the third.
“It was a long break,” Kapadia said. “We didn’t change anything. We stayed focused. We definitely were anxious, but when we got here and saw the stadium, it was like, ‘All right, we’re back to football.’ “
Dobbs Ferry plays the Section 9 winner in a NYSPHSAA quarterfinal Nov. 14 at Dietz Stadium at 3 p.m.
The extra time could help the Eagles, who expect injured quarterback Christopher Cipriano to return to practice on Thursday.
Player of the game: Kapadia. Dobbs Ferry. The senior fullback had 119 yards on 26 carries. He ran for two scores and threw 15 yards for a third.
Turning point: Woodlands gambled, hoping to extend its opening drive on fourth-and-one near midfield. A swarming Eagles defense brought quarterback Amari Bilal down at the line of scrimmage, taking over at their own 45.
Kapadia went in from 12 yards away in a matter of minutes, then added the conversion run, giving Dobbs Ferry a quick 14-0 lead.
Stat line: The Falcons were stuck in neutral in the opening half, gaining just 27 yards. … Smith had two interceptions.
Quotable: “I really have to give a shout to my line,” Kapadia said of his big day running the ball. “They got a strong push against a big defensive line. I’m so blessed to have those guys in front of me.”