VIDEO: Boys’ soccer season preview

For the full scoop on the Varsity845 boys’ soccer season preview, be sure to click on over to on Friday.

For now, check out the video above to watch Monroe-Woodbury and Goshen’s top returning players talking about what it’s like trying to find team chemistry with an entirely new group of players.

I’ll be tweeting scores and news throughout the season ahead, so for the latest, check out my Twitter page: @THR_Montgomery.

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On the camp trail: Pine Bush (with video interviews)

PINE BUSH – There is no secret to Pine Bush’s game plan on offense.

The Bushmen run a hard-charging Wing-T and the philosophy is pretty simple: Here it comes. Go ahead, try to stop it.

The Wing-T, in part, helped Pine Bush win its first Section 9 Class AA title two years ago. Last season, the Bushmen missed the playoffs, but lost competitive games to Newburgh and Monroe-Woodbury – the top teams in Class AA.

Expect Pine Bush to be right back in the mix in Class AA Division I with its Wing-T clicking. Senior Dylan Eller reprises his role as bruising fullback. He rushed for 1,000 yards last season and is only bigger and better.

Eller’s talented counterpart in the backfield, Mike Martin, a Varsity845 first-team all-star last season, has graduated. So now what? The Bushmen are rolling out a small army of wing backs to complement Eller.

Look out for Donovan Mayers, Marcus Barnes, Roland Smith and Dens Cine coming out of the backfield. We talked to Eller about the team on Wednesday at camp. Check it out:

Since I was at Pine Bush, I had to check in with the “Scotchtown Four.” Mayers, Barnes, Cine and defensive back Will Rondon make up the group. When you come up with your own nickname, you better be pretty good. Expect the “Scotchtown Four” to live up to their advanced billing this all.

Pine Bush opens the season next Friday at Valley Central. It should be a good game and likely where I make my debut on the sideline during the regular-season. Looking forward to it. Stay tuned for more camp reports.

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On the camp trail: Cornwall (with video interviews)

CORNWALL – New coach, of course, no problem at Cornwall. The coach Mike Connolly era has begun and nothing has changed for the Green Dragons.

They are still the team to beat in Section 9 Class A and looking good during preseason camp. Of course, the Green Dragons have won three straight Class A titles, reaching the state semifinals each time. Cornwall graduated some prime time players last season, including quarterback Mike White, his BFF, wide receiver Chris Bauer, and powerful linemen Moiset Santos and Brandon Lupo.

However, there is still plenty of talent to go around. See quarterback Jason Bailey, running back Kevin Gangemi, wide receivers Tyler Peddie and Kobie Thomas, offensive lineman Brendan Rose and linebackers Quinn Zsido, Matt Robinson and John Roth.

Cornwall opens the season with three challenging games, but you know the Green Dragons: They aren’t backing down. Cornwall opens the season on Sept. 6 against Amsterdam of the Albany-area at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The Green Dragons face Cardinal Hayes of the Bronx in Week 2 and take on Class B power Marlboro six days later.

Cardinal Hayes last season won its first Catholic High School Football League Class AA title since 1981. Cardinal Hayes senior offensive lineman Jaelen Vazquez has secured a scholarship to Division I Old Dominion, and at 6-foot-3, 265 pounds runs the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds. Hayes junior running back Timothy Poindexter, who rushed for 1,372 yards and 17 touchdowns a year ago, reportedly has received D-I scholarship offers from Rutgers, Fordham, Ohio, Old Dominion and Toledo.

At Cornwall camp, I spoke to offensive lineman Brad Prunier and Robinson. Check it out:

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On the camp trail (with video): Newburgh at Camp Lokanda

GLEN SPEY – Summer camp is, among other things, a chance for teammates to bond.

It’s why many teams spend a couple of days going off on an excursion to train during preseason practice. Newburgh Free Academy, one of the top teams in Section 9, has picked a pretty good locale for its getaway: Camp Lokanda.

I visited the Goldbacks at Camp Lokanda, located in Sullivan County, on Monday and was ready to check in for the rest of the week. The place is gorgeous, situated in the middle of the woods, on a lake. Newburgh returns home on Thursday after a three-night stay.

Camp Lokanda, a summer camp, has operated since 1937. I talked to several Goldbacks at camp. Forgive me for the S’mores questions.

In addition to Camp Lokanda, we talked to new Newburgh quarterback Tyriek Washington a little about himself. He is one of the most intriguing players in Section 9 and could be a dynamic playmaker for the Goldbacks.

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Busy day for Monroe-Woodbury boys’ soccer

Michelle Bulla, center, leads the cool-down portion of a yoga workout before Monroe-Woodbury soccer practice on Mon., Aug. 25, 2014. (Will Montgomery photo).

I stopped by Monroe-Woodbury boys’ soccer practice on Monday morning as the Crusaders were in for a special treat.

A yoga session led by Michelle Bulla, wife of head coach Pat Bulla.

After a hard first week of practice with plenty of conditioning built in, the players needed something a little soothing and relaxing to get them ready for another grueling set of practices. The Monroe-Woodbury players aren’t exactly yoga masters, but they appreciate the benefits it brings on the pitch.

For the full story, follow this link.

At the end of practice, the Monroe-Woodbury coaches also undertook the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after having been nominated by the girls’ soccer team over the weekend. I caught that part on video…check out the results below.

The Section 9 boys’ soccer season kicks off on Friday with the first Donald V. Andrews Memorial Tournament at Wallkill. It’s a loaded field with Goshen, Newburgh Free Academy and Washingtonville also joining in on the action.

Look for the Varsity845 boys’ soccer season preview package in the paper on Friday morning.

I plan to be at Wallkill for the championship and consolation games on Saturday, so check out my Twitter feed for score updates: @THR_Montgomery.

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On the camp trail: Goshen (with video interviews)

GOSHEN – Linebacker Matt Mauriello and several of his teammates sported bleached blonde mohawks at practice on Monday.

For that, we give the Gladiators style points. Now, Goshen is hoping it can put more points up on the scoreboard this season than last.

The Gladiators are certainly looking to kick it up a notch in 2014. A year after making the Class A playoffs, Goshen missed the postseason in 2013, winning two games.

Here is what Mauriello and running back/linebacker Louis Mongilia had to say about bleach jobs and the 2014 season:

Goshen will compete in Class A Division I with Port Jervis, Saugerties and New Paltz, up from Class B this year. It could get interesting in the league without a clear favorite (Port Jervis or New Paltz would get the nod at this point). Still, we will learn a lot about Goshen in the first few weeks of the season. The Gladiators have a tough schedule, opening with rival John S. Burke Catholic on Sept. 6.

Goshen follows with Warwick in the Spirit Trophy game and gets a bit of a breather with Monticello in Week 3? As for Week 4? Goshen plays this team you might have heard of: Cornwall. Of course, Goshen isn’t backing down.

Check back for more camp reports on the V845 blog and follow me on Twitter @justinrod845

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Video: Monroe-Woodbury takes part in The Ice Bucket Challenge

CENTRAL VALLEY – There were plenty of so-called Gatorade baths to go around for a great cause at Monroe-Woodbury on Friday.

The Crusaders took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has become a viral hit on Twitter and Facebook. Monroe-Woodbury coach Bernie Connolly and his staff submitted to being doused on an overcast day. So did Monroe-Woodbury captains Jesse Kaffenberger, Cole Gennett, John LaBella and Brandon Lewis.

Gennett challenged Monroe-Woodbury’s girls’ soccer team to The Ice Bucket Challenge and gave them 24 hours to comply. It’s on!

The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised millions of dollars and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Connolly said with the help of the Monroe-Woodbury Football Parents’ Club and donations from the team, about $1,000 was raised on Friday.

Kristi D’Aliso, the daughter of Monroe-Woodbury offensive coordinator Pat D’Aliso, formally challenged the team when she completed The Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday night. Here is what LaBella (on the left) and Lewis (right) said about participating in The Ice Bucket Challenge.

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On the camp trail: Wallkill (with video interviews)

WALLKILL – When you think of Class A contenders, you of course think about feisty Wallkill, a model of consistency over the last decade.

The Panthers have reached the Class A title game eight times in the last decade, winning twice (2004 and 2010) in a division that has been owned by rival Cornwall. As intriguing as Wallkill vs. Cornwall has been lately, things could get even more interesting in Class A this fall, with Poughkeepsie moving into Section 9.

Poughkeepsie, Wallkill in Cornwall will all compete in Class A Division I. Yes, it could be a great battle. Now, back to Wallkill.

The Panthers lost plenty of talent last season, including quarterback Joe Pillitteri, defensive back Zack DeCarlo, wide receiver Nick Rohl, linebacker David Baker and running back/wide receiver Sean Puleo. However, Wallkill still possesses some prime time players, and will contend for championship glory again.

There is wide receiver Nick Gomez, running back Zach Slater and defensive back Will Ryder, among others. Wallkill will also roll our one of Section 9’s top new starting quarterbacks, sophomore A.J. Dembroski. He’s a good one.

At camp on Thursday, I spoke with Dembroski, Gomez and two-way lineman Josh Kuliszewski. Check out the interviews:




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The video: J-Rod interviews the other J-Rod

PORT JERVIS – It was a monumental day at Port Jervis training camp on Wednesday.


Two of Section 9’s heaviest hitters came face to face: That would be J-Rod and J-Rod.

Of course, there is your favorite sportswriter, that would be me, Justin Rodriguez of Varsity845 fame. Or something like that. Then there is the Justin Rodriguez with slightly more game than yours truly.

That would be Port Jervis junior running back/defensive lineman Justin Rodriguez. That’s right, J-Rod. Here is my conversation with the man himself, J-Rod, the Port Jervis version:

As for Port Jervis, this could be a big season for the Red Raiders. Port Jervis returns 10 starters on offense and five on defense. Expect the Red Raiders to compete for the Section 9 Class A Division II title, which also includes New Paltz, Goshen and Saugerties.

Port Jervis went 4-5, 3-3 Class A last season, beating rival Middletown 14-7 in the Erie Bell game. Watch for the Red Raiders and, of course, J-Rod this fall.

Follow me on Twitter @justinrod845 for daily camp updates, news, stories, video etc.

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VC quarterback Kenny Gray talks about wide open Class AA Div. II

MONTGOMERY – Up for grabs: That would be the best way to describe the race in Class AA Division II entering the season.

It could be the most wide open league in Section 9. Think about it: Who is the favorite? Depends who you talk to.

Seemingly four teams can win the division, Washingtonville, Valley Central, Minisink Valley and defending champion Warwick. And don’t count out Roosevelt, which returns to Class AA, after spending 2013 in Class A.

It should be a lot of fun this fall with some great games. Of course, I will be chronicling Division II action and much more this fall.

I had the opportunity to talk to one of Division II’s prime time players, Valley Central quarterback Kenny Gray, at camp. Check it out:

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  • Blog Authors

    Ken McMillan

    Ken McMillan has been covering sports since he got his first writing job in 1979. He has covered Section 9 athletics for most of the past 28 years. He reports on college sports, including Army and Marist College. He also writes on TV/radio sports ... Read Full

    Sal Interdonato

    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full

    Kevin Gleason

    Award-winning columnist Kevin Gleason brings you his unique views on the world of sports. Read Full

    Justin Rodriguez

    Justin Rodriguez has covered high school sports in the 845 for over a decade. He offers interesting insight, opinions and features on his blog. Read Full

    Will Montgomery

    Will Montgomery covers boys' soccer, girls' basketball, boys' and girls' swimming and diving, boys' lacrosse and baseball (including the Hudson Valley Renegades) for and the Times Herald-Record. Prior to joining the TH-R in November ... Read Full
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