The Clarkstown North offense is something of a throwback — a prototypical wing-T system operated in an era where other local football teams have turned elsewhere for a jolt.
The Rams remain committed to the offense’s main principals, diversity and deception, but there’s little question who they want with the football on that key third down.
Running back Michael Porco, a two-year starting halfback, has served as the focal point this season for a Clarkstown North offense has rushed for an almost unfathomable 2,110 yards through its first seven games. Porco led the Rams in rushing with 685 yards and nine touchdowns entering Friday’s Class AA quarterfinal against Clarkstown North.
“I have good linemen and a good coaching staff,” Porco said modestly, despite averaging 8.35 yards per carry. “I just run the ball. I can’t really talk much about myself.”
Porco’s play probably speaks for him, anyway. The senior was first pulled up to the varsity late in his sophomore year and started one game at linebacker, but he’s evolved into a two-way standout the last two seasons. Porco’s work at running back and free safety has been integral in Clarkstown North’s 6-1 start, which earned it the No. 3 seed in the Class AA playoffs.
The Rams’ lone loss came by a touchdown at New Rochelle earlier this month. Porco had a team-best 91 yards of offense in the defeat, but his speed made a difference against the unbeaten Class AA favorite.
For Porco and his team, this season has been a pleasant surprise — just not a major one. After missing the playoffs in the last game of the regular season last year, North returned 23 seniors, including key players on both sides of scrimmage and both up front and at the skill positions. That experience resulted in six regular season wins, all of them by two touchdowns or more.
“Seeing everyone work as hard as they worked for hours over the summer, it was a good start,” Porco said. “It’s not that we expected this, but we thought if we worked hard we could do very well.”
The defense has been superb, surrendering just 41 points all season. The offense has averaged 301.4 rushing yards per game, totaling 230 or more in all six wins.
Porco wouldn’t pinpoint what the Rams need to challenge for a Section 1 championship. Just like they have all season, they refuse to look very far ahead.
“We just have to work together and play for the person next to us,” he said. “We don’t rush things. We take it one game at a time.”