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Ossining Takes on Poughkeepsie in Class A Semis

OSSINING N.Y. – Injuries, crazy weather, upset wins and local rivalries have marked the football season for the Ossining Pride football team, so Wednesday’s visit to Arlington High School to meet Poughkeepsie for the Class A semifinal is just one more challenge for head coach Dan Ricci and his comebacks kids.

“After last season’s 2-7 record we had hopes of a better year, then had several key injuries, overcame them and we’re here,” Ricci said after Ossining’s 35-26 comeback win over Gorton in last Thursday’s Class A quarterfinal. “Now we’re facing a machine with Poughkeepsie. We’ll just prepare and take our shot.”

The Pride (6-2) will travel to meet the Pioneers in an unusual 3 p.m. start to earn the right to advance to the Class A title game this weekend at Mahopac High School. The teams have played two common opponents, both defeating Brewster easily. Ossining lost its game to Harrison 31-0 and Poughkeepsie defeated the Huskies twice, once in the regular season and again last week in a 41-6 Class A quarterfinal matchup.

Poughkeepsie (8-0) has outscored opponents 292-68  (26.5 to 8.5 per game) – a margin that predicts a potent offense and an even more powerful defense. Ossining has had to struggle and make comebacks in several wins, proving that it can overcome adversity. The Pride has outscored opponents 198-181, proving it knows how to win close games.

“We’re having some fun with this,” Pride quarterback Brian Connelly said. “We have had injuries and a few close games and everyone has contributed to the team when players were injured. We’re going to be ready to play.”

Ossining has recovered nicely after losing all-everything running back Steve Candaleria during Week 3, with running backs Josh Aldomovar (375 yards) and Marc Clancy (485 yards and eight touchdowns) taking up the slack. Connelly can throw the ball to extend defense and has rolled up 875 yards and eight touchdowns, six of them to his favorite receiver Sam LaCour.

Quarterback Joshua Oliver is the Pioneers offense, completing 40 of 72 passes for 870 yards and 12 touchdowns, while rushing for 640 yards and eight more scores. That’s production.

If the Pride can contain Oliver, while no one else has so far, it will have a chance. This game will be determined by how well Ossining can defend.

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