Each week, football writer Josh Thomson will give his opinion on the best high school football teams playing in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties. Stepinac began the season No. 1 and has remained atop this week’s rankings, but New Rochelle climbed to No. 2 thanks to its performance in the clutch, on the road, against the defending Class AA champs.
Week 2 lohud football rankings
Top 10 overall
1. Stepinac (0-0) – The area’s top team finally gets underway Friday night when it travels to Newburgh, last year’s Class AA state runner-up. It is a meeting between two of the state’s top teams; Newburgh thumped fellow 2014 state playoff participant Henninger 64-0 last week at the Carrier Dome.
2. New Rochelle (1-0) – The Huguenots earned perhaps the best win of the season’s opening week when Greg Powell hit Rashon McNeil on a 52-yard touchdown on fourth down with 90 seconds remaining. That clutch 18-16 win on the road against defending Class AA champ John Jay-East Fishkill was a great sign for a team with a propensity for starting seasons slowly.
3. Iona Prep (0-0) – Like Stepinac, the Gaels were idle last week. They will debut a new offense with mostly new pieces on Saturday at home against Brunswick, which will test Iona Prep’s stamina and depth.
4. John Jay-East Fishkill (0-1) – Life won’t get any easier for the Patriots, who will need to beat Mahopac on the road to avoid an 0-2 start. The key thing for them will be jumpstarting the passing game. Star quarterback Ryan Schumacher was just 2 for 9 for 50 yards passing against New Rochelle.
5. Mahopac (1-0) – The Indians had to survive with a less dynamic, less diverse offense, but they showed impressive resolve in winning on the road against Mamaroneck by scoring three touchdowns in less than four minutes in the fourth quarter. Still, their ceiling will be limited until quarterback Dan Foley (back) can return from injury.
6. Scarsdale (1-0) –Last week’s 35-14 victory over Ketcham was a solid opening statement, but the real test comes this week at Arlington, last year’s Class AA runner-up. If the Raiders are serious contenders, they should be strong enough to beat a very challenging opponent on the road.
7. Clarkstown North (1-0) – When the Rams stormed out to a three-touchdown lead over rival Clarkstown South in the first quarter, they opened plenty of eyes quickly. They were quiet offensively from then on, but it will be the defense that leads them and that unit was rock solid in closing out an emotional opening win.
8. Arlington (1-0) – The Admirals certainly were within inches of losing, but going on the road and winning at North Rockland was nothing to sniff at, no matter how it happened. The offense will be heavily dependent on new dual-threat quarterback Justin Leigh, so his health could be a key to Arlington’s season.
9. Rye (1-0) – The early-season gauntlet will only continue for the Garnets, who, after opening with a blackout-marred win at Somers, will play Sleepy Hollow this week and Yorktown next week in its tour of perennial Class A playoff teams.
10. Yorktown (1-0) – Like Clarkstown North, Yorktown opened its season with a flourish. The ‘Huskers were somewhat quiet in the second half, but they went to Lourdes and showed the reigning Section 1 Class B champs why the jump to Class A is so difficult.
On the bubble: Mamaroneck (0-1), Nyack (1-0), North Rockland (0-1), Carmel (1-0).
Class AA – 1. New Rochelle, 2. John Jay-East Fishkill, 3. Mahopac, 4. Scarsdale, 5. Clarkstown North, 6. Arlington, 7. Mamaroneck, 8. North Rockland, 9. Carmel, 10. White Plains.
Class A – 1. Rye, 2. Yorktown, 3. Nyack, 4. Sleepy Hollow, 5. Somers, 6. Panas, 7. Eastchester, 8. Lourdes, 9. Brewster, 10. John Jay.
Class B – 1. Nanuet, 2. Westlake, 3. Ardsley, 4. Irvington, 5. Pleasantville.
Class C/D – 1. Dobbs Ferry, 2. Woodlands, 3. Rye Neck, 4. Tuckahoe, 5. Haldane.
Catholic/Private – 1. Stepinac, 2. Iona Prep, 3. Rye Country Day, 4. Hackley, 5. Kennedy.