You all seemed to really enjoy the first installment of the conference outlooks, the Class AA preview. But if you’re not from Rye, you likely won’t like these very much.
I think there’s enough respect for Rye from the other 11 teams in Class B, so perhaps there won’t be the backlash I’m preparing for. But who knows?
Anyway, here’s an in-depth look at Class B, a one-team conference:
The favorite: Rye. And right now, nobody else is even close. The Garnets have won two of the last three state championships and are poised to go back-to-back this season with a large group of returners.
Top contender: Pleasantville. Graduation might have claimed the key pieces to last year’s team. But there’s still plenty of talent coming through the system. Expect the Panthers to improve throughout the season and make a run at a berth in the sectional finals.
Next in line: Byram Hills. The Bobcats are experienced in the right spots and, as they’ve proved in the past, they aren’t the least bit intimidated by Rye. R.J. Medeo is poised for a big year.
Sleeper: Kennedy. It’s been a while since the Gaels were relevant. But talented running back Eric Mercado is back and has some help around him. Anthony Spinola started at quarterback as a sophomore but didn’t play last season because of a hip injury. He’s back behind a senior offensive line. Dylan Shuck could make a major impact.
Super-sleeper: Edgemont. Why would you ever think the Panthers wouldn’t work their way into the mix? They have solid group of underclassmen moving up from the lower levels and, under coach Brian Connolly, they always seem to find a way to compete.
Biggest turnaround: Kennedy. Again, there’s good talent coming back from a 1-win team and the Gaels are playing in a league full of inexperienced teams.
Unit breakdowns (Brace yourself… Rye wins every category)
Best skill players: Rye. Kyle Ramalho alone cements the Garnets as the most dangerous team on the ground. Connor Eck is a prodigy at quarterback, and Patrick O’Callaghan, Donald Keough and Cole McCormack all played significant roles last season. Next in line: Byram Hills, Pleasantville.
Best offensive line: Rye. Center Ryan Rossi is the best offensive lineman nobody really knows about. Guard Rob Santangelo improved dramatically as the season went on, and Charlie Rollins and Malcolm Walker each have decent size. Next in line: Pleasantville, Putnam Valley.
Best defensive line: Rye. Ramalho, William Ramsey, Topher Triano, Luke O’Malley, and Clark Antico will all see time up front on what is annually the Garnets’ strongest unit. Next in line: Pelham, Briarcliff, Nanuet.
Best linebackers: Rye. Rossi and Santangelo are an excellent tandem, and Keough really came into his own in the second half of last season. Next in line: Pleasantville, Nanuet.
Best secondary: Rye. This unit ranks among the most athletic in Section 1. There’s so much depth and experience with O’Callaghan, T.J. Storino, Paul Resiner, Matt Foristel and Brogan Matthews. Next in line: Byram Hills, Irvington.
Super 11 picks: Kyle Ramalho, FB/DL, Rye.
Top 10 players not picked Super 11:
1. Ryan Rossi, OL/DL, Rye
2. Donald Keough, WR/DB, Rye
3. Rob Santangelo, OL/LB, Rye
4. R.J. Medeo, RB/LB, Byram Hills
5. Matt Bonomolo, OL/DL, Nanuet
6. Patrick O’Callaghan, RB/DB, Rye
7. Sean Carter, RB/DB, Nanuet
8. Charlie Howe, RB/LB, Pleasantville
9. Luke O’Malley, WR/DL, Rye
10. Tim Orr, QB/S, Briarcliff
Five names to learn
1. Gabe Wittenberg, LB, Edgemont
2. Anthony Spinola, QB, Kennedy
3. Erik Britz, QB, Byram Hills
4. Michael Morra, LB, Pleasantville
5. Brogan Matthews, WR/DB, Rye
3. Byram Hills
5. Putnam Valley
Predicted playoff picture:
B1: Rye, Byram Hills, Nanuet, Pelham
B2: Pleasantville, Briarcliff, Putnam Valley, Kennedy
Rye over Nanuet
Pleasantville over Byram Hills
Rye 28, Pleasantville 7
Beyond sectionals: Rye will get back to the Dome and face Chenango Forks for the fifth time in six years. The Garnets prevail again.