On the camp trail: Marlboro, the three-time defending Class B champs

MARLBORO – I took a trip to title town, also known as Marlboro, to catch up with the Iron Dukes during camp.

Marlboro is the three-time defending Section 9 Class B champion, reaching the state semifinals the past two seasons. Of course, the Iron Dukes are gunning for a fourth title in a row, and are the favorites to pull it off.

Marlboro is aware of the contenders, including John S. Burke Catholic, the defending Section 9 Class C champion. Burke Catholic moved up to Class B and hasn’t been bashful about making it known they want a shot at Marlboro.

“We have our eye on Marlboro and we plan on knocking them off,” Burke Catholic linebacker Mike Martinelli told me this week. “It’s just that everyone thinks that they are top dog and they need to know that we are here.”

Marlboro is certainly aware of Burke Catholic. Although they weren’t as pointed as Martinelli, a few Marlboro players I spoke to referenced Burke Catholic as a big game. The teams’ are set to meet in Class B showdown on Oct. 17.

Below is what Marlboro linebacker Ryan Greavan had to say about the 2014 season. I also talked to Marlboro quarterback Ray Pacella and running back/safety Matt Tamburri at camp. Click on the play list (left corner) to see their video interviews.

Marlboro graduated several talented players, including quarterback Ryan Cary and running back Marsallis Faircloth. Still, the Iron Dukes have plenty of talent, including Greaven, two-way lineman Robert Papuli and running back Matt Marquis. Pacella, a first-year starter, should make plays for the Iron Dukes.

Marlboro will, of course, be a Class B contender again.


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Video: Meet Cornwall’s new quarterback, Jason Bailey

CORNWALL – Last year was the year of the quarterback in Section 9, at least, that’s what I dubbed it.

And ran with it.

Still, last year produced, perhaps, the best lineup of quarterbacks in the history of Section 9. From Mike White, to Ryan Cary, to Kevin Carr, to Donovan Fields, to Vinny Aloi and Brad Garcia, the list went on and on.

Of that group, only Aloi returns. So it’s time for the next batch of star signal callers. There are potential of candidates, including Cornwall junior Jason Bailey. Bailey, pressed into duty during the Class A state semifinals against Queensbury last year when White went down with an injury, was impressive.

Indeed, Cornwall, loaded once again, is expecting big things from Bailey. Check out the V845 video on Bailey and look for my story on Bailey on Tuesday, which includes a list of other potential breakout first-year quarterbacks.

Stay tuned for much more coverage from camps across Section 9. And, remember, follow me on Twitter @justinrod845

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Camp report: Chester (with video interviews)

CHESTER – In what has become a tradition, my first stop on my Varsity845 preseason football tour, the 2014 edition, was Chester.

Hitting Chester first makes sense for a lot of reasons: The perennial Class D power starts preseason practice bright and early, Chester coach Ron Stover and his assistants and players are always accommodating, and the Hambletonians are a powerhouse.

Once again, Chester is the overwhelming favorite to win Class D in a landslide. Sure, Chester graduated plenty of talent from last year’s Class D state runner-up team, but there are still lots of prime time players to go around.
We talked to three of them: quarterback Vinny Aloi, running back Angel Suarez and wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Sadlier before Monday’s first practice:

Aloi returns for his third year as Chester’s starter and should be even better than last season. He is already the stuff of legends at Chester, throwing for seven touchdowns in the Class D state semifinals over Moriah last year.

Suarez is a dynamic player, he’s fast, athletic and tough. He takes over for Lawrence Young, who graduated, as Chester’s featured running back. Watch out!

Sadlier is also entering his third year as a starter. He’s a great wide receiver, blessed with great hands and jumping ability. He makes all kinds of plays in the secondary.

Check out the Aloi, Suarez and Sadlier playlist below:

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V845 preseason football rankings: NFA opens the season No. 1

It’s the moment you have all been waiting for: The Varsity845 preseason football rankings. Newburgh, last year’s Section 9 Class AA runner-ups, opens the year in the top spot.


Because the Goldbacks are loaded: From running backs Anthony Dubose, Aaron Forbes abd Natore Dennis, to linebacker Will Dencker, to an experienced and steady offensive and defensive lines. Newburgh is the real deal.

Of course, Newburgh has to still go out and earn it. I’m sure the Goldbacks are up for the challenge. Enjoy the rankings and good luck this season! Have a great preseason.

See you at camp! Follow me on Twitter @justinrod845 for news, stories, blogs, videos etc. during preseason. Looking forward to it – Justin Rodriguez

1. Newburgh: The Goldbacks won’t get too high on themselves after opening the year in the top spot. Why? Three words: Coach Bill Bianco. He will keep talented NFA level-headed.

2. Monroe-Woodbury: M-W has a new quarterback (Ryan O’Malley) and, basically, new offensive and defensive lines. Not a problem. The Crusaders have been hit hard by graduation before and kept rolling, like they will this season.

3. Cornwall: The Mike White era is over, but it’s time to unveil another star in the making: “Jay Bay.” That would be athletic junior quarterback Jason Bailey. Of course, as always, there is plenty of talent to go around at Cornwall: From linebacker Quinn Zsido, to offensive lineman Brendan Rose, to wide receiver Kobie Thomas.

4. Pine Bush: The Bushmen are starting to develop quite the connection with the service academies. Former running back Mike Martin is at Navy Prep and another June graduate, lineman Scott Flanick, plays for Army Prep. Running back Dylan Eller is making an unofficial  visit to Army next month.

5. Poughkeepsie: Will make an impact in Section 9 Class A right away, as in, compete for the title this year. Potown is definitely a Class A game changer.

6. Marlboro: Looks to win its fourth Section 9 Class B championship in a row. It could very well happen, but not without some competition. From who? Keep reading the rankings: Can you stand the suspense?

7. Washingtonville: For seemingly once, the Wizards don’t lose their entire team to graduation. Their backfield could be one of the deepest in Section 9 with three strong players: Tony Via, Kendall Hicks and Peter McWeeney.

8. Valley Central: Class AA Division II could be as wide open as it has been in years. Among other things, what VC has going for it, is junior quarterback Kenny Gray. He has the potential to be the real deal.

9. Minisink Valley: Lacrosse star Joe Sessa is playing running back for Minisink Valley this season. If he stays healthy, the expectation is for him to be a prime-time difference maker.

10. Burke Catholic: Moves up from Class C to Class B and the belief is that the Eagles can give mighty Marlboro a run.

Honorable mention: Wallkill; Warwick; Chester.


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MW’s Kaffenberger and Gennett talk about 2014 season

Talk about dangerous two-way threats in Section 9 and you have to mention Monroe-Woodbury’s Cole Gennett and Jesse Kaffenberger.

Both established themselves as prime time players last season, leading the Crusaders to the Class AA state championship game. Gennett, a bruiser, played running back and linebacker. Meanwhile, Kaffenberger made plays at wide receiver and defensive back.

For their efforts, Gennett and Kaffenberger were both named Varsity845 first-team all-stars in 2013. They return this year as seniors and are expected to keep Monroe-Woodbury at the top of Section 9 with rival Newburgh and other contenders.

We talked to Gennett and Kaffenberger earlier this week:

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Coaches Mike and Bernie Connolly reunited on field for 7-on-7 game

CENTRAL VALLEY – It’s become a familiar scene at Monroe-Woodbury’s football field.

There was Monroe-Woodbury coach Bernie Connolly directing his charges near midfield with his son, Mike, at his side on Tuesday night. Except, unlike previous years, Mike Connolly wasn’t there to lead his dad’s defense.

Mike Connolly is now the head coach of another Section 9 powerhouse – Cornwall. He previously served as Monroe-Woodbury’s defensive coordinator for two seasons, and was in the program for six.

Monroe-Woodbury, Cornwall and Suffern took part in a 7-on-7 on Tuesday. Before the scrimmage, Mike Connolly caught up with, among others, his dad, some Monroe-Woodbury players and another one of his mentors – Pat D’Aliso. D’Aliso, Monroe-Woodbury’s former head coach, is now the Crusaders’ offensive coordinator.

We talked to Bernie and Mike Connolly before the scrimmage and it was a good interview. To check out the Coach Connolly’s video, click on the upper left corner (play list) of this Kevin Carr-Mike White video:

Mike Connolly seems to be the perfect fit at Cornwall and he is already receiving rave reviews from his new players. At 29, he’s young, smart and passionate. Coming from Monroe-Woodbury, Connolly is, of course, a winner.

He helped Monroe-Woodbury to the Class AA state championship game last season, where the Crusaders lost to juggernaut Rochester Aquinas. Connolly replaced Marcus Hughes at Cornwall, who went 67-13, and won six Section 9 Class A titles in seven seasons.

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Important state meetings this week

The central committee of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association will be holding its summer meeting in Lake Placid from Tuesday through Thursday.
Among the items for consideration are raising the number of allowable basketball games to 20 in time for the 2015-16 season; approval of the weight throw for the indoor state track and field championships; a reduction of contests needed for post-season participation; and, amending penalties for wrestlers who exceed the 20 allotted points or six allotted tournaments per season.
State championship sites seeking formal approval are the 2015 bowling event at Mardi-Bob Lanes in Poughkeepsie and the 2015 and 2016 indoor state track and field championships at Cornell, which has been the long-time host.

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NFA girls’ basketball is Chillin’ 4 Charity

Remember the Harlem Shake? Well, the latest viral video craze is all for a good cause.

The Newburgh Free Academy girls’ basketball team recently made a Chillin’ 4 Charity video. Check it out in the player above.

University of Arizona head coach Niya Butts got the ball rolling when she challenged her Pac 12 counterparts to the challenge, in which coaches and players get dumped with ice water and the results captured on video. It’s all to support the Kay Yow Foundation, which raises money for breast cancer awareness. Yow, the Hall of Fame head coach from North Carolina State, passed away in 2009.

The way it works is that a coach who has already been soaked will challenge another coach. If the challenged coach accepts, the challenging coach donates $50 and the freshly-soaked coach will challenge someone else. If the challenged coach declines, they’re “obligated” to donate $250 instead.

For more on the Chillin’ 4 Charity story, follow this link.

Newburgh Free Academy head coach Rich Desiderio was challenged by Ossining’s Dan Ricci. Desiderio has responded by challenging Cornwall’s Chris Miller and Goshen’s Gus Lawson. Will they rise to the challenge?

If you’d like to check out some other Chillin’ 4 Charity videos, check out this list on YouTube.

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All-State baseball team for 2014 announced

The annual All-State baseball team was announced by the New York State Sportswriters Association on Wednesday.

Class AA

Second team

John Cain, LHP, Pine Bush, Sr.

Third team

James Karinchak, RF/RHP, Valley Central, Sr.

Fourth team

Pat Dorrian, SS, Kingston, Sr.

Fifth team

Evan Lieberman, RHP, Pine Bush, Sr.

Sixth team

Charlie Todd, 1B, Warwick, Sr.

D.J. Mendenhall, P, Warwick, Sr.

Seventh team

Kashaun Curry, P, Middletown, Jr.

Class A

First team

Joe Pillitteri, RHP/1B, Wallkill, Sr.

Fourth team

Sean Puleo, OF, Wallkill, Sr.

Fifth team

Austin Hekking, OF, New Paltz, Sr.

Sixth team

Nick Klumack, 1B/3B, Cornwall, Sr.

Class B

First team

Justin Etts, SS/CF/P, Spackenkill, Sr.

Second team

Billy Winnis, C/2B/P, Spackenkill, Sr.

Kory Hutchins, SS/P, Rhinebeck, Sr.

Third team

Kevin Crill, SS/P, James I. O’Neill, Sr.

Fourth team

Ben Jenkins, 1B/P, Spackenkill, Sr.

Fifth team

Nick Hoynes, 1B/CF/P, Rhinebeck, Sr.

Seventh team

Pat Pierce, 1B/P, Sullivan West, Sr.

Class C

First team

Ryan Cabrera, SS/P, Chester, Sr.

Second team

Jake Kinley, CF/P, S.S. Seward, Sr.

Third team

Alex Brown, P, Tri-Valley, Sr.

Fourth team

Chris Wittekind, 1B/P, Chester, Sr.

Fifth team

Joe Pillmeier, P, S.S. Seward, Sr.

Sixth team

Kyle Marco, Util., Chester, Jr.

Seventh team

Colin Marco, C/P, Chester, Fr.

Class D

First team

Bray Curreri, SS/P, Eldred, Sr.

Jim LaValle P/1B, John A. Coleman Catholic, Sr.

Second team

Nate Gray, 2B, John A. Coleman Catholic, Sr.

Dylan Taggart, C/P, Livingston Manor, Jr.

Third team

Doug Terrone, CF, John A. Coleman Catholic, Sr.

Kevin Davis, LF, John A. Coleman Catholic, Sr.

Fourth team

Jake Halter, IF/RF, Eldred, Jr.

All-State certificates are available from Perry Novak. The cost is $5 for one, $4 extra for a second and $3 per certificate each after that. Make checks payable to NYSSCOGS and send to Novak at 3350 Rt 28, Herkimer, NY 13350. Perry’s email is nysscogs@yahoo.com if you have questions.

Update: If you’re looking for the full All-State teams, click on over to the NYSSWA website here.

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Middletown-Newburgh-Poughkeepsie area ranked among top 50 swim cities

A recent study by USA Swimming named the Middletown-Newburgh-Poughkeepsie metro area as one of the top 50 swim cities in the nation. Our area ranked 46th on the list, which took the number of active swimmers and clubs, the amount of accessible pools and the volume of top-level swimmers from an area into account.

Ann Arbor, Michigan was ranked No. 1 in the study. For the full list, click here.

The Hudson Valley was the top-ranked area in New York State. Rochester placed 49th on the list.

For more details on the study, follow this link.

That’s a credit to all the young swimmers locally registered with clubs as well as the high school swimmers who go off to college.

The girls’ swim and dive season is just around the corner. Newburgh Free Academy hosts the Hudson Valley Kickoff Classic on Sept. 6.

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    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

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