SCARSDALE Through three weeks, each Scarsdale football game has been a familiar chapter in what coach Andy Verboys hopes is the story of his team’s season. Start slow, learn, and finish strong.
With just four starters back and facing one of Section 1’s most challenging schedules, the Raiders couldn’t really expect much more.
“You see it in our games,” Verboys said. “We’ve been slow starters because of that. And when you don’t have a schedule that gives you a couple games here and there, it’s tough. Even Ketcham (a 35-14 win). The size of the school. They have a good coaching staff now. And they have athletes.”
Entering Friday night’s date with defending Class AA champ John Jay-East Fishkill, Scarsdale had been confronted with challenges. There was a Week 2 loss at Arlington, last year’s runner-up, that saw the Raiders fall behind 28-7, then rally to tie the score only to watch the Admirals return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. They moved the ball, but couldn’t score and lost 35-28.
Last week produced a different result, but followed a similar formula. Scarsdale was shocked early and eventually found itself in a 20-0 hole at White Plains. The Raiders came from behind again and ultimately won 36-26.
“White Plains happened to be 0-3, but that’s the best 0-3 team I’ve ever seen,” Verboys said. “They were fast and they were big.”
The Raiders have shown an ability to adjust quickly after falling into an early deficit. It isn’t a welcome habit, but one they hope builds character.
“The thing is with these kids, they are resilient,” Verboys said. “They don’t give up. They’re tough. They’re strong, quick and smart. I can make adjustments and they’re catching on fast. It’s a very intelligent and smart team.”
The team’s captains – returning starters Michael Rolfe, Sam Squadron, Stephen Nicholas and Andrew Liskin – have been at the forefront of Scarsdale’s respectability, but Scarsdale believes it can continue to grow. As a top-13 team in Class AA, it automatically has a berth in Section 1’s new playoff qualifying round.
“To play the way we’ve played, I feel good,” Verboys said. “As long as we continue to progress to the end of the season, we’ll be ready for the playoffs.”