MAHOPAC, N.Y. - It wasn’t the fall season the Mahopac High football team was looking for, but after finishing 3-6 and out of the playoffs, the Indians and Head Coach Dom DeMatteo are hoping the foundation has been laid for a solid future.
“It was a disappointing season as far as wins and losses, but considering where we are as a program, we found success in other ways,” DeMatteo said. “I was very pleased with how we built our senior class. The seniors came together as leaders and brought the team together. We had a lot of first-time players—73 percent of our team was playing football for the first time.
“I think we created a lot of excitement with the program,” the coach added. “We had to come together quickly, and our seniors took a leadership role and made that happen.”
Zach Esteves, a senior captain, was named All-Conference, and earned team awards for Most Outstanding Receiver, and team MVP. Esteves played in the Section 1 Exceptional Senior game on Sunday and had four receptions in a winning effort for the North team.
Junior Vin Bastone earned All-League honors. Bastone also won the Justin Wagner Award, and was named Most Outstanding Offensive Back by the team. Junior Dom Perricone earned All-League honors, and the team’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award, and Matt Puckhaber also earned All-League honors, and the team award for Most Outstanding Defensive Back.
“All four of them truly epitomize the concept of student-athlete,” the coach said. “They’re all very hard workers, they all contributed on offense and defense, and they are all very high character kids. They’re all leaders, and all four of them had a very productive season.”
The Indians lose 18 seniors to graduation, including 11 starters, but DeMatteo is looking for good things next fall.
“We return 25 players—16 juniors and nine sophomores—and many of them were in the rotation this season,” the coach said. “I’m very optimistic about next year, and I’m also excited that our JV went 7-1. Overall, we’ll have more kids with experience, and that means everything.”
The coach said he like the way his team competed this season and is looking forward to a planned move from AA to Class A competition next year.
“I’m very excited about it,” DeMatteo said. “It’s where we should be. I think it will be very competitive for us, with teams like Somers, John Jay, Yorktown, Rye and Brewster. We play those teams in our youth leagues, and those are the teams our players want to play. I think we’ll have a chance to play in front of big crowds, and I think it’s pretty exciting.”
Mahopac closed their season with a come-from-behind 22-18 victory at Ramapo.
“I think our highlight was the Ramapo game,” DeMatteo said. “We had our share of adversity, we played there on a Thursday night and tried to finish it out the right way. And I think we did. Zach [Esteves], Henry Botchway, Jack Carey—they led us as seniors.
“And I thought it was great that we maintained a positive vibe throughout the season,” DeMatteo added. “When you’re not good with wins and losses, the big question is: Are the kids still engaged? Our kids were, and I’m very proud of them.”