MAHOPAC, N.Y.— On a foggy Friday night under the lights at Mahopac High School, where at times it was hard to see the field of play, what people saw in attendance were two teams going back and forth with each team’s offense on display.
In the end, it was White Plains’ ground game that bested Mahopac’s air attack by a single point, 38-37, on Oct. 21 in a non-playoff game.
The season hasn’t gone the way Mahopac (2-6) wanted, with key injuries on both sides of the ball, especially defensively.
“We lost three of our starting linemen last week (against Clarkstown South),” Mahopac coach Mark Langella said. “At one point, we virtually had all underclassmen on defense that played the entire game.”
Despite the injuries, his team played well enough to win, but key plays down the stretch didn’t go their way.
“We had a couple of good stops defensively, but we had some drops,” Langella said. “That’s part of football. It will be a learning experience and they’ll learn from it and be better for it.”
Things didn’t start so well for both teams as each had a turnover on back-to-back possessions. White Plains (3-5) got the ball deep in Mahopac territory and scored on a touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Winston to tight end Anthony Russo for an 8-0 lead after a two-point conversion.
Mahopac’s offense had trouble getting going as Ryan Dugan and Andrew Ryan split time behind center, but was able to tie the game. Dino Milazzo scooped up a loose ball from a bad snap and raced 30 yards while halfback Tim Cegielski scored on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 8-8.
After White Plains drove 65 yards on nine plays with another two-point conversion, the Mahopac offense finally struck with Dugan behind center and Ryan playing receiver, connecting for a 63-yard touchdown and two-point conversion on a run from Cegielski, tying the game at 16-16.
Dugan completed six passes for 61 yards, including a 7-yard pass to Andrew Ryan on a roll out on fourth down and another two-point conversion gave the Indians a 24-16 lead at halftime.
White Plains came out in the second half and got its running game back in gear with Glenmour Osbourne. He was a workhorse for the Tigers all game long, finishing with 268 yards rushing, including 197 in the second half. His 24-yard run set up fullback Angel Rivera from one-yard out and broke through for a 51-yard score after the defense got a three-and-out to regain the lead for the Tigers at 30-24.
Mahopac answered back with some playmaking of its own as Ryan got past the White Plains secondary on an out-and-up move down the sideline as Dugan hit him in stride for a 32-yard touchdown and after a three-and-out by the defense, he took the punt 60 yards for a touchdown as Dale Heady had a solid block that led to the open lane.
A successful extra point by Chris Dalo regained the lead for the Indians at 37-30 with 1:36 remaining in the third quarter.
White Plains answered back with another 9-play, 65-yard drive with Osbourne once again leading the way with seven carries on the drive. His 11-yard touchdown and two-point conversion reclaimed the lead for the Tigers at 38-37.
Despite losing possession on an onside kick, the Mahopac defense came up big to get the ball back to the offense. The Indians drove downfield to the Tiger 11-yard line where they had a fourth-and-5.
Ryan got the ball in his hands behind the line of scrimmage and reversed field, throwing the ball in the end zone to Dalo. The wide receiver outjumped a White Plains defender covering on the play and had the ball in his hands, but lost control as he hit the turf and the ball fell from his grasp to turn the ball over on downs with 3:45 remaining in the contest.
The defense tried to get the ball back, but the White Plains rushing attack got three first downs to run out the clock.
Dugan finished the game completing 16 of 30 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns, all to Ryan, who had eight catches for 161 yards.