WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Rye Neck and White Plains high school football teams are prepared for their first state playoff semifinals with a chance to win a visit to the state championship game at the Syracuse University Carrier Dome next week.
Rye Neck, unbeaten in 10 games, will represent Section 1 in the Class C semifinal against Hoosick Falls High Schools (11-0) of upstate Section 2 at Dietz Stadium in Kingston Saturday, Nov. 23, in an 11 a.m. start.
The Panthers, who have used the nickname "Black Hats" this fall (in reference to the color of their helmets), won the school's first-ever Section 1 championship in a decisive win over 2012 champion Woodlands two weeks ago and advanced to the semifinal with last week's 47-6 victory over Burke Catholic in the quarterfinal round.
Tom Pipilo, Rye Neck’s tough 5-foot-6 quarterback, tossed three touchdown passes in last week's win. Pipolo has a strong set of running backs -- Ryan Morningstar, Jakob Calvini and Pedro Cuevo -- each a threat to move the ball on the ground.
While Rye Neck is new to state playoffs, Hoosick Falls, the defending Class C state champion, has made the state quarterfinals four of the last five years, including a loss to eventual state champ Dobbs Ferry in 2011. Hoosick relies on quarterback Garrett Wright and running backs Brandon Hodges and Mike Matatt, who are quick.
If Rye Neck can get past Hoosick Falls, the Black Hats play the winner of Section 4’s Chenango Forks and Section 5’s Cleveland Hill on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 12 p.m. at the Carrier Dome for the state championship.
White Plains (8-1) won its first Section 1 Class AA football championship in 34 years with a 20-11 victory over North Rockland High School two weeks ago, had a bye in the quarterfinal and will face Monroe-Woodbury High School (Section 9) at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, in Kingston. The Tigers (8-1) will play in their first state tournament playoffs which began in 1993.
White Plains quarterback Cameron Crabbe is a tough man to stop. He can run and he can pass the ball. Running back Chris Jordan will be called on to help control the ball on the ground. Crabbe's top receiver Matt Berube, also a standout on defense, suffered a broken leg in practice and will not play. The Tigers defense is led by defensive lineman Lukas Repetti.
The winner will face the winner of Section 4’s Elmira High School and Section 5’s Aquinas Institute on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Carrier Dome for the Class C state championship.