Four weeks prior to last Friday’s program-defining win at John Jay-East Fishkill, Scarsdale and Barry Klein had a moment to dread. The Raiders had rolled up 49 first-half points in what appeared to be a blowout win over rival White Plains, but the Tigers kept playing in the second half and Scarsdale made enough mistakes that coach Andy Verboys inserted his quarterback back into the game.
During a broken play in the third quarter, Klein took off running toward his sideline. He was grabbed, spun and thrown to the ground by a defender. Klein landed on his left wrist and suffered a radius fracture and dislocation.
“I thought I was done for the year,” he said.
Instead, Klein missed a game, sat most of another, and has had to completely change how he takes snaps under center. Despite those challenges and what can be intense pain, the senior is back. He proved it, guiding Scarsdale on three scoring drives in four possessions to lead his team to arguably its best win in Andy Verboys’ 11 years as coach.
The fifth-seeded Raiders will head back to Dutchess and visit No. 1 Arlington at 6 Saturday night. It’s a prime chance to qualify for their first Section 1 championship game in the state-playoff era (1993-present).
“John Jay is a team that we have not been able to beat,” said Verboys, whose team reached the Class AA semifinals for the second straight year. “So, yeah, I would put it up there at the top.”
Scarsdale had to overcome a physical disadvantage at the line of scrimmage, but the offensive and defensive lines held their own against Section 1’s most physical team. Despite wearing a brace on his wrist, Klein was also key, making decisive reads in the team’s option offense.
On the go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter, Klein completed a 66-yard pass to tight end Robert Keith that helped set up a 1-yard keeper for the winning score.
“I think it was a great team win,” Klein said. “We’re on to Arlington now and we’re going to have a great week of practice.”
And maybe a new winning plan. Because of the long bus ride, Verboys scheduled the team for a pregame workout at THE FIELD, an indoor sports complex in Poughkeepsie.
“It was about letting the kids get their cobwebs out,” he said, “and I think it was successful.”
Mahopac to host championships again — for now: After a year hiatus, all five Section 1 championship games will return to Mahopac High School on Nov. 4-5. The Class D and C finals will be held at 4 and 7, respectively, on Nov. 4. The Class AA, B and A finals are scheduled for 12, 3:30 and 7, respectively, on Nov. 5.
Section 1 had held almost all of their football championships at Mahopac from 2002-14 before the games were moved from there last year. Football chairman Chuck Scarpulla said at the time the decision was made because of the recent history of high-profile racially-charged incidents that had involved Mahopac’s teams.
On Monday, Section 1 executive director Jennifer Simmons said there was more to the decision. The coaches have expressed interest in trying to find a bigger, different venue. One was chosen last year, Dutchess Stadium, but the playing field was deemed unsafe just five days prior to the Class AA, A and B finals. That forced the three games to be played at different venues.
“We again tried to get a bigger venue this fall, but were unsuccessful in securing one for this year,” Simmons said. “Mahopac agreed and applied to be the host once again and we agreed. The coaches association and football committee are working on securing possible sites for the future.”
Week 8 Player of the Week: Jack Guida, Brewster. His Class A brethren from Yorktown (Brett Makar) and Somers (Messiah Horne) made a strong case as well, but Guida shined during his team’s 42-28 win over Hen Hud in the Class A quarterfinals. The Super 11 senior rushed 28 times for 228 yards and four touchdowns, including a can-you-believe-it 66-yarder where he rolled over a defender and kept running without his knee touching the ground. Guida also kept busy on defense and helped extinguish Hen Hud’s last-ditch effort with an interception. The Ivy League recruit now has 1,368 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground for the 8-0 Bears.
Week 8 Coach of the Week: Steve Boyer, Valhalla. Boyer’s team seemed to teeter on the brink all afternoon with its offense regularly backed up to the Nanuet goal line. But his Vikings managed the situation with care, then rallied after Nanuet went ahead 21-14 with 3:32 to play. Quarterback Ralph Gonzalez engineered a 15-play, 81-yard drive that was capped by Kevin Williams’ 9-yard touchdown catch on fourth down with 24 seconds remaining. Boyer then made the bold call to go for the two-point conversion and it paid dividends when Gonzalez found fullback Evan Parker for the go-ahead score. No. 6 Valhalla needed every minute and every yard to beat No. 3 Nanuet 22-21 in the classic Class B quarterfinal.