Through three games, the Mahopac football team had watched its grand expectations for the season put on hold.
The Indians had opened camp with championship dreams, but they struggled to a 1-2 start. Their offense had sorely missed starting quarterback Dan Foley, producing just one more touchdown through those first three games (three) than the defense.
Mahopac took a proactive approach to that punchless start by tweaking its starting lineup. Coach Tom Donahoe returned his son, Christian, a senior who started the season as Foley’s replacement, to running back. He moved senior Chris Kocovic from fullback to guard. And he slotted junior Andrew Ryan in as the starting quarterback.
What those changes wrought were two straight victories heading into Friday night’s regular season finale at unbeaten New Rochelle. The Indians scored 65 points during their mini-streak, which was highlighted by four offensive touchdowns in last week’s 27-14 victory over last year’s Class AA runner-up Arlington.
Although Ryan attempted just seven passes in the two wins, the rushing game appeared to have found a surge of momentum. Senior Joe Cavaciuti has emerged from a backfield-by-committee as the every-down back and has been complemented by the dangerous Donahoe. Donahoe, who had never played quarterback in a varsity game prior to this season, has also no longer carried the burden of running plays as a novice under center.
The new alignment has had a chief beneficiary in Cavaciuti. After he earned just 13 carries in the first three games, Cavaciuti rushed the ball 40 times for 220 yards and seven touchdowns the last two weeks. He had a 130-yard, four-touchdown day in Mahopac’s 38-6 win over Greeley, then followed with 90 yards and three scores against Arlington.
Cavaciuti has been flanked by Donahoe and junior Dino Milazzo, who have been Mahopac’s main perimeter threats. Donahoe, who was the Indians’ top speed back last season, looked like his old self last week, rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown against Arlington.
The offense had been jumbled this preseason when Foley, an all-section player as a junior, was unable to recover from an offseason back injury. The quarterback/defensive end suffered his injury playing lacrosse.
Foley is a three-sport athlete, but he committed to play lacrosse at C.W. Post.
Foley said he intends to play football at some point this season. In the meantime, Mahopac appears to have found a productive solution.