With semifinals and finals being held this weekend in Section 1, this week’s predictions have been expanded. There are eight Picks of the Week this week, plus predictions on the rest of the area’s games.
For all but eight teams in Section 1, this week is the end of the road. In fact, no more than 14 teams in our coverage area will still play football after Saturday afternoon. Incredible.
Now, here’s our coverage plan for the weekend, followed by my predictions for every game on Friday and Saturday.
Class AA semifinal: No. 3 Clarkstown North at No. 2 John Jay-East Fishkill, 6:30 p.m.: Mike Dougherty (@hoopsmbd)
Class A semifinal: No. 5 Yorktown at No. 1 Rye, 7 p.m.: Josh Thomson (@lohudinsider)
Class A semifinal: No. 3 Lourdes at No. 2 Eastchester, 1 p.m..: Josh Thomson (@lohudinisder)
Class AA semifinal: No. 4 Scarsdale at No. 1 New Rochelle, 1:30 p.m.: TBD
Class C championship: No. 1 Dobbs Ferry vs. No. 2 Woodlands at Pace University, 4 p.m.: Mike Dougherty (@hoopsmbd)
Class D championship: No. 1 Tuckahoe vs. No. 2 Haldane at Pace University, 7 p.m.: Mike Dougherty (@hoopsmbd)
Josh Thomson’s 2015 predictions –
Picks of the Week: 30-7 (3-1 last week)
Overall: 235-60-1 (30-9 last week)
Class AA playoff predictions
Games of the Week
Semifinal: No. 3 Clarkstown North (7-1) at No. 2 John Jay-East Fishkill (7-1), Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Why Clarkstown North can win: The Rams have a terrific defense and should be able to handle the physical challenge of playing John Jay. They are also pretty athletic in the secondary. I think their ultimate success could depend on whether they can stop Ryan Schumacher from scrambling when pass plays break down.
Why John Jay can win: The Patriots, the defending champs, have a lot of experience in big games and should feel comfortable playing at home. They also have a more balanced team offensively that can play from behind or ahead. If they win, Schumacher will be the difference.
Prediction:Clarkstown North 13, John Jay 10. I’ve thought hard about this one all week and, frankly, I see it going either way. I don’t expect either team to win by more than a touchdown. I mentioned earlier Schumacher’s ability to scramble. I think in Cameron Conrad, Jack Abrams and others, the Rams have the athletes to counter some of what John Jay does offensively. The game could be determined by whether or not North can run the ball successfully.
Semifinal: No. 4 Scarsdale (6-2) at No. 1 New Rochelle (8-0), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Why Scarsdale can win: The Raiders beat New Rochelle just two years ago, so they know they can do it. I think they’ll need to open it up and make some big plays downfield, but they have players who are capable of it. Their success will depend on getting a good mix on offense, both run-pass and also in terms of the contributors in the running game.
Why New Rochelle can win: Other than the fact that the Huguenots look like Class AA’s best in general, they also have the athletes to defend Scarsdale. They’ll be well-schooled in how to defend the triple-option and the offense should be capable of beating the Raiders for big plays in the passing game.
Prediction:New Rochelle 27, Scarsdale 14. I think New Ro has the more complete team. The defense will be ready to stop Scarsdale’s main back and I’m not sure Scarsdale can contain New Ro’s offense.
Class A playoff predictions
Games of the Week
Semifinal: No. 5 Yorktown (6-2) at No. 1 Rye (8-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Why Yorktown can win: The Huskers have some terrific athletes. Rye has a solid team, but doesn’t have a handful of players who will take over the game. Yorktown might.
Why Rye can win: The Garnets proved during the regular season that they could slow down Nick Santavicca. They also have enjoyed plenty of success throwing the ball deep on Yorktown. Until the Huskers can stop it, expect Dino Garr to keep testing them.
Prediction:Rye 31, Yorktown 14. Despite Yorktown scoring on two pick-sixes last time, Rye still won 31-20. Judging on that, I just don’t see a different outcome in the rematch.
Semifinal: No. 3 Lourdes (6-2) at No. 2 Eastchester (8-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
Why Lourdes can win: Lourdes has arguably the best passing quarterback in the section this year and enough skill players to produce big plays. The Warriors have played the more difficult schedule so they should be well-prepared.
Why Eastchester can win: The Eagles offense has been unstoppable so far this season. Andrew Schultz could be a very tough matchup for Lourdes — especially on defense where he will roam center field. In fact, Eastchester’s secondary has been excellent at forcing turnovers and Lourdes will not be shy to throw.
Prediction:Eastchester 34, Lourdes 27. If this isn’t one of the section’s best games this year, I’d be surprised. No matter who wins, it should be very explosive. Expect plenty of big plays on both sides. Because of that, I’ll take Eastchester, which makes more big plays than anyone.
Class B playoff predictions
Games of the Week
Semifinal: No. 5 Putnam Valley (6-2) at No. 1 Nanuet (8-0), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Why Putnam Valley can win: If this is a defensive struggle, as many Nanuet games are, Putnam Valley seems well-prepared. The Tigers have been great on defense late in the season, allowing just 23 points in their last four games. If they can keep the game close into the second half, anything can happen.
Why Nanuet can win: The Golden Knights are so big and physical, most Class B teams can’t withstand them. They can wear teams out, but they’ve also shown an ability to score on defense and special teams, which is something Putnam Valley must guard against this week.
Prediction:Nanuet 13, Putnam Valley 0. This will be the fourth meeting between these teams since 2010. The previous scores were 18-0, 12-0 and 14-0. And I’m not sure any of those Nanuet teams were as good as this one.
Semifinal: No. 7 Albertus Magnus (6-2) at No. 3 Westlake (6-2), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Why Albertus can win: Albertus will enter the game confident after a six-win season that was capped by a great defensive performance in the semis. I think the Falcons believe they can play with anyone in Class B, and rightfully so. If their defense can be as opportunistic as it was last week, they will have a chance. Westlake has had problems with turnovers at times this season.
Why Westlake can win: The Wildcats are definitely the favorites here. They are more explosive and have competed against tougher competition all season.
Prediction:Westlake 23, Albertus Magnus 9. If the Wildcats protect the ball, they should win. They will be the best team Albertus has played all season. But they’ll need to be careful and not let the Falcons build any early momentum.
Class C playoff predictions
Game of the Week
Championship: No. 1 Dobbs Ferry (6-0) vs. No. 2 Woodlands (4-3), 4 p.m. at Pace
Why Dobbs can win: The Eagles should certainly come out well-rested after not having played in three weeks. They have two terrific running backs in Jibril Kapadia and Najee Smith, who are difficult enough to stop when they aren’t as fresh as they’ve been all season.
Why Woodlands can win: The Falcons are pretty big up front and Amari Bilal has really carried them down the stretch. He could be the most impactful player on the field Saturday considering his contributions running and passing and also with his effort on defense. Also, if it’s a defensive struggle, Woodlands might be better equipped to make the game-changing play, especially because of its passing game.
Prediction:Dobbs Ferry 20, Woodlands 13. I’m still not sure who the Eagles will have at quarterback or whether or not they will show any rust coming off a three-week layoff. Still, I think they have been Class C’s best team all season. They are the more complete team and that should be enough for the storied program to get back on top of Class C.
Class D playoff predictions
Game of the Week
Championship: No. 1 Tuckahoe (1-6) vs. No. 2 Haldane (2-5), 7 p.m. at Pace
Why Tuckahoe can win: The Tigers usually do win in this spot, but, remember, this is a young team with a new coaching staff in place. They struggled this year, albeit against a very brutal schedule that included tough non-league games against Hackley and Chester. If anything, they should be prepared.
Why Haldane can win: This isn’t a vintage Tuckahoe team. Haldane proved that back on Sept. 12. The Blue Devils led 12-7 going into the fourth quarter before falling 21-18. They forced four turnovers and probably can’t expect that again, but they aren’t a four-TD underdog here. This will be a competitive game.
Prediction:Tuckahoe 26, Haldane 14. Although last game was close, consider that Tuckahoe had the four turnovers and Chris Corrado, who ran for 157 yards and three TDs, had two other touchdowns called back. The Tigers could’ve won by a wider margin and I’d expect them to prove it on the big stage. They have played a challenging schedule and have always shown an ability to turn the page from that come playoff time. Plus, Haldane is still very young with a sophomore QB and freshman running back as its go-to guys. The Blue Devils’ best chances to win the section are still ahead of them.
Other Week 9 games:
Thursday, Oct. 29 —
Riverside 19, Lincoln 12
Nyack 22, Ramapo 13
Arlington 14, Clarkstown South 7
Somers 31, Hen Hud 20
Friday, Oct. 30 —
Mahopac 21, Carmel 7
White Plains 20, Spring Valley 13
Ossining 33, Peekskill 19
Hackley 37, Cardinal Spellman 6
Valhalla 34, Yonkers Montessori 6
Harrison 27, Byram Hills 13
Xaverian 29, Kennedy 13
Saturday, Oct. 31 —
Mamaroneck 41, Port Chester 13
Pleasantville 35, Briarcliff/Hamilton 7
North Rockland 14, Suffern 6
Pearl River 21, Tappan Zee 14
Rye Neck 33, Roosevelt 13
Fox Lane 20, Ketcham 19
Rye Country Day 34, St. Luke’s 14
Ardsley 22, Bronxville 13
Stepinac 49, Chaminade 14
Iona Prep 33, St. Peter’s 20
Hudson River Football League championship
Gorton 27, Saunders 13
Have an opinion on this week’s games? Let Josh Thomson know about it on Twitter.