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The football season in the Hudson Valley is less than three months away. Over the summer, MSG Varsity will be providing the most extensive coverage of football across the Hudson Valley, including summer camp, combine and 7 on 7 updates.
To kickoff the summer, MSG Varsity football expert Kevin Devaney Jr. ranks his top teams in Section 1 and 9. KDJ will update his rankings throughout the summer.
PRE-SUMMER HUDSON VALLEY FOOTBALL RANKINGS
Section 1 Rankings
1. North Rockland: The defending champs graduated a lot but still have a strong base of talent, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.
2. New Rochelle: The Huguenots have one of the area’s top quarterbacks in Khalil Edney and linemen in Justin Douglas.
3. Arlington: Parker Howard is out for another 1,000-yard season as the Admirals aim to build off last year’s late-season success.
4. Clarkstown South: While it will be difficult to duplicate last season’s success, Thomas Lent leads a veteran group of skill players.
5. Ketcham: Kevin Duke is one of the area’s most unheralded quarterbacks. Look for the junior to lead the Indians into contention.
1. Harrison: On paper, the Huskies have the most talent and depth returning. But winning Class A is a brutal endeavor.
2. John Jay-CR: The Indians have two of the area’s most dynamic talents in quarterback Tyler Keech and receiver Jack Lambert. If they find a durable running back, they could be the favorite.
3. Poughkeepsie: A senior-laden Pioneers squad went unbeaten in Section 1 and captured a title last fall. But they’ll need young players to step up quickly to repeat.
4. Yorktown: The Huskers have consistently gotten great line-play under coach Mike Rescigno, and quarterback Nick Mariano is poised for a big year.
5. Somers: Many believe this could be the Tuskers’ year. Stefano Bicknese and Joe Lombardo are a punishing RB/LB tandem. And there’s plenty of depth.
1. Lourdes: There will be a debate all season whether the Warriors have the best offensive and defensive lines in Section 1. They’ll certain be among the biggest with potential Division I recruit Devlin Brennan.
2. Croton-Harmon: The two-time champs have plenty of holes to plug, in personnel and leadership. But the Tigers have built a program. By the postseason, they’ll be dangerous.
3. Irvington: Another program on the rise, the Bulldogs were the breakout team of Class B last season. Although they lose a talented senior class, few teams at this level are putting in the amount of time this offseason as Irvington.
4. Nanuet: It’s hard to imagine another season without Nanuet in the playoffs. Look for junior quarterback Ryan Hanney, a second-year starter, to build off last year’s positives.
5. Pleasantville: The Panthers have hit some bumps the last two seasons. But based on their speed and precision at the Big Apple 7 on 7, don’t expect it to continue.
1. Dobbs Ferry: The defending state champs were hit very hard by graduation. But no team with Tim Soave carrying the ball should be counted out. If they can fill holes around them, look out.
2. Bronxville: The Broncos may have more overall talent returning this season than Dobbs Ferry. How it all meshes together will dictate their success.
3. Tuckahoe: This is one of those years for Tuckahoe. The Tigers have a slew of returning starters and a bona fide star in RB Shyheim Nixon.
4. Haldane: The reigning champs lost the core of their team. But there's definitely been a shift in the program. Even though Tuckahoe is primed for a big year, the Blue Devils will contend.
5. Woodlands: The Falcons took a major step towards prominence last season, reaching the Class C semifinals. And it all started with their commitment in the summer. If it continues, so will the progress.
Section 9 Rankings
1. Newburgh Free Academy: The defending Section 9 champs are on the brink of a dynasty. So many sophomores and juniors contributed to last year’s run to the Dome. A return trip seems very possible.
2. Monroe-Woodbury: The pressure is finally off the Crusaders, who have a new coach in Bernie Connolly. But they’re still the most feared team in the section.
3. Warwick: One of the most fun teams to watch loses record-setting QB John Garcia but will have younger brother Brad step in.
1. Cornwall: The Dragons will vie with Newburgh all season for the right to be called the Hudson Valley’s best team. Yes, Cornwall is that good.
2. Wallkill: With defending champ Cornwall returning so much talent, it’s tough to find a legit contender at this point. But Wallkill had many underclassmen contributors last season, especially on the line.
3. Monticello: It’s only a matter of time before a building Monticello squad makes its mark in Section 9. This could be the year.
1. Marlboro: The reigning champs had a good mix of young and veteran stars last season. The program under third-year coach Rich Ward continues to get better.
2. Spackenkill: Replacing K.J. Williams will be a difficult task. But running backs Nick Celestino and Wayne Bowden will find ways to carry the load.
3. New Paltz: The Huguenots have a stud running back in Khariff Laboy. If they can find guys to take the pressure off him, New Paltz will be right in the mix.
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org