OSSINING, N.Y. The Ossining varsity football team begins the Section 1 Class A playoff season with renewed confidence in its revamped backfield and will host Gorton of Yonkers in an opening-round game Thursday at 6 p.m.
Gorton is a well-coached, much-improved team with great athletes, Ossining coach Dan Ricci said. They like to run the ball and are very dangerous on special teams.
Ossining (5-2) has been a resilient team, suffering several key injuries on the defensive side of the ball and losing its lead running back Steve Candelaria after a victory at Sleepy Hollow in the fourth game of the season. Ossining suffered a 31-0 loss to Harrison in Game 5 without Candaleria but has rebounded for two straight wins into the playoffs.
Ossining has found two capable running backs to fill the void left by Candalerias season-ending injury. Marc Clancy and Joshua Aldomovar have combined to help Ossining average 185 rushing yards per game with Clancy as the closer, scoring seven touchdowns. Quarterback Brian Connelly has completed 33 of 81 passes for 730 yards and six touchdowns with Sam LaCour his prime receiver.
Gorton (6-1) has had a major revival under Coach Dan DeMatteo, losing just once after having lost 16 straight games over the last two seasons. The Wolves lone loss was a tough 8-6 loss on opening day.
Many of the kids hadnt won a game in their varsity careers, so Im so proud of the way they have stayed with it and become winners, DeMatteo said. We want to win a playoff game or two now.
The Wolves boast an athletic backfield with speed to burn led by quarterback Tyrone Bannister, a lefty who can throw or pull the ball down and run. Vaquan Tyree, Jasaun Ward and Daniel Liriano fill the backfield and are also targets for Bannisters passing game.
Ossinings defense has allowed more than 20 points per game against a tougher schedule than the Wolves have faced. Gorton has allowed just 55 points and has shown the ability to chase and tackle.
Expect Ossining to run the ball and control the clock and for Gorton to let loose and use its run-and-gun offense to move the ball. Turnovers will be a key to the outcome.
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