2017 Section 9 Football Insider Defensive All-Stars


Defensive line

  • Name: Kyiev Bennermon
  • School: Spackenkill
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 6-5, 290
  • First-team credentials: Most teams tried running away from the Boston College-bound Bennermon, but he still finished the season with 79 tackles, including 11 for a loss, and four sacks. Bennermon’s killer blend of size and athleticism is what made him so dominant.
  • Name: Anton Juncaj 
  • School: Minisink Valley
  • Year: Junior
  • Height/weight: 6-4, 215
  • First-team credentials: Juncaj was a force for Minisink Valley’s standout defense. He had 105 tackles, 10 sacks and forced three fumbles for the Warriors.
  • Name: Dan McNally

    Warwick - Dan McNally
    Photo Credit: Gregory Sirico
  • School: Warwick
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 6-2, 230
  • First-team credentials: McNally missed most of last year with an ankle injury, but returned this season with vengeance. He had 61 tackles, 11.5 sacks and a blocked punt and a blocked extra point in Warwick’s historic season-opening win over Monroe-Woodbury.
  • Name: Brandon Handforth
  • School: Cornwall
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 6-1, 260
  • First-team credentials: Handforth was especially tough against the run, helping Cornwall post four shutouts this season. He finished the season with 23 tackles, including five for a loss.


  • Name: Myles Barrington
  • School: Marlboro
  • Year: Junior
  • Height/weight: 5-10, 210
  • First-team credentials: Marlboro’s leader on defense had 95 tackles with five sacks and an interception.
  • Name: Billy Williamson
  • School: Marlboro
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 6-0, 215
  • First-team credentials:A 1,000-yard rusher last season, Williamson moved to defense and shined, registering 63 tackles and nine sacks.
  • New Paltz running back/linebacker Kenny Verney

    Name: Kenny Verney

  • School: New Paltz

  • Year: Junior
  • Height/weight: 5-8, 220
  • First-team credentials: Coming off a breakout sophomore season, Verney was dominant again, registering 95 tackles. He was also a weapon on offense out of New Paltz’s backfield.

Defensive backs

  • Name: Vern Smith
  • School: Newburgh
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 5-9, 180
  • First-team credentials: Smith was one of Section 9’s best cover guys and could also hit. He had 63 tackles with two interceptions and also made plays at wide receiver for the Goldbacks.
  • Name: John Perugino

    photo credit Joe Tompkins
  • School: Marlboro
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 6-0, 190 pounds
  • First-team credentials: The hard-hitting defensive back always covered opponents’ best wide receiver. He had 32 tackles with three interceptions and also helped spark the Class B champions on offense.
  • Name: Tyler Toledo
  • School: Monroe-Woodbury
  • Year: Junior
  • Height/weight: 6-1, 180
  • First-team credentials: A two-year starter, Toledo made 76 tackles at free safety for the Crusaders. He made all of the secondary calls and aligned Monroe-Woodbury’s defense.
  • Name: Uh’Charion Hanson *Player of the Year
  • School: Newburgh
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 6-0, 170
  • First-team credentials: The dynamic Hanson played safety, finishing with 61 tackles, 11 pass deflections and three interceptions. Few teams dared throwing at the three-way threat. Hanson also caught 15 passes for 415 yards and seven touchdowns. He returned the opening kickoff of the season against Kingston for a touchdown and few teams kicked to him for the rest of the season.


  • Name: Pete Matthews
  • School: Newburgh
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 5-10, 180
  •  Matthews played on four Class AA championship teams, finishing his career with a Sect
  • First-team credentials:ion 9 record 207 kicking points. He kicked four field goals for the Goldbacks this year and averaged 37 yards per punt. Matthews put 15 punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line.


  • Name: Erik ManfrediErik Manfredi
  • School: Millbrook
  • Year: Senior
  • Height/weight: 5-11, 150
  • First-team credentials: Manfredi made a name for himself as a running back, rushing for 1,376 yards and 16 touchdowns, but he also played every game in the secondary for the Blazers. He made 71 tackles and had two interceptions and returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the Class D state quarterfinals against Tuckahoe.


  • DL: Soph. Dylan Teneyck, Marlboro: The up-and-comer created mismatches all season, finishing the year with 43 tackles, eight sacks and three fumble recoveries.
  • DL: Sr. Leo Horrego, Goshen: Anchored Goshen’s offensive and defensive lines. Horrego had 30 tackles, including five for a loss, with three sacks and a forced fumble.
  • DL: Jr. Edjren Jorge, Ellenville: An active player, Jorge led Ellenville’s offensive line, and had 55 tackles with six sacks on defense.
  • DL: Sr. Cameron Graboff, Cornwall: Graboff made 36 tackles and had four sacks for the Green Dragons, who held Section 9 Class A opponents to an average of 4.8 points per game.
  • LB: Jr. Steve Gazzillo, Cornwall: Led the Green Dragons’ feared defense in tackles (67) for the second year in a row.
  • LB: Jr. Dom Valeri, Newburgh: The two-year starter had a great nose for the ball, making 96 tackles, including seven for a loss.
  • LB: Sr. Mike Piscitelli, Port Jervis: Piscitelli racked up 113 tackles and also made plays at fullback for the Raiders.
  • DB: Sr. Ray Younger, Ellenville: Had seven interceptions this year, including three in one game.
  • DB: Jr. James Tehui-Matautia, O’Neill: Splitting time between linebacker and defensive back, Matautia had 61 tackles with three sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. He rushed for 1,542 yards and 16
  • DB: Sr. Henry Bowers, Port Jervis: Bowers, who also played running back, receiver and returned kicks, made 53 tackles with three interceptions. On offense, he had 976 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns.
  • DB: Jr. Eric Borchert, Marlboro: One of only two Marlboro players to go both ways, Borchert made 58 tackles and was solid in coverage.
  • K/P: Sr. Max Heinrich, Goshen: Built like a lineman (6-3, 200), Heinrich averaged 45 yards per punt. He kicked three field goals and has 12 touchbacks.
  • Ath: Sr. Dominick Vetrano, Minisink Valley: A two-way player, Vetrano scored touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns, a fumble recovery and an interception return. He also had rushing and receiving scores. 

Honorable mention: Sr. DL Ryan Hines, Cornwall; Sr. DL Andrew Wierzbicki, Warwick; Sr. DL Brandon Salmi, Saugerties; Jr. LB Jared Cassel, Goshen; Sr. LB Jayden Kyler, Pine Bush; Sr. LB Owen Chambers, Monroe-Woodbury; Jr. LB Monte Walker, Marlboro; Soph. DB Aidan Hoffman, New Paltz; Sr. DB Josh Delgado, Chester; Sr. DB Max Olavarria, Cornwall; Sr. DB Elijah Hewitt, Roosevelt; Sr. DB Jeniel Foster, Middletown; Sr. DB Collin Hauschild, Roscoe, Livingston Manor, Sullivan West, Downsville; Jr. K/P Mike Boyle, Monroe-Woodbury; Sr. K Kevin Roberts, Valley Central.