By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
In talking about Section 9 Class B football, Spackenkill coach Clint DeSouza compared it to college football’s Southeastern Conference, perhaps the best league in the nation.
“To me, Class B gets the short end of the stick competition wise,” DeSouza said. “Class B is like the SEC conference. Every week, anyone can knock anyone off, it’s a good league.”
Keeping with the SEC theme, DeSouza compared Marlboro vs. New Paltz to Alabama taking on Georgia for the SEC championship. New Paltz hosts Marlboro at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in a Class B showdown. Both teams enter the game 6-0.
It might not be ‘Bama vs. the Bulldogs, but the New Paltz-Marlboro showdown has created a buzz in Section 9. Even coaches are talking about it.
“I think it’s going to be great,” said first-year Red Hook coach Scott Ricketson, who served as New Paltz’s offensive coordinator last year. “It’s something that has built up since last year and has come to fruition. I think people have to remember that this is just Round 1. There is probably going to be a second round (in the Class B championship next month). But it’s going to be a fun game to watch.”
Three teams, Spackenkill, Liberty and Red Hook, have had to play New Paltz followed by Marlboro in back-to-back weeks this season. First-year Liberty coach John Stevens sensed that the Iron Dukes were trying to one up New Paltz when he played Marlboro on Sept. 23. Marlboro won 44-20.
“Marlboro trailed 14-7 at halftime and they were not happy about that,” said Stevens, a former Goshen standout. “They put up some numbers at the end. I think Marlboro was trying to weigh themselves against New Paltz without playing them.”
Like the rest of Class B, Stevens was impressed with both teams. Asked what the key to the Marlboro-New Paltz showdown is, Stevens said: “For me, the answer is defense. We have seen some high-powered offenses this year. It’s just going to come down to what defense can hold down the other offense down the most.”
DeSouza said he thinks the game could come down to ball control and tempo.
“New Paltz has more dudes that go both ways,” DeSouza said. “New Paltz wants to run the ball and run the clock. If they can do that, they have a chance. But if Marlboro controls the pace and all of sudden the no huddle offense is on the field again, it can get out of control for a team quickly. Whoever controls the ball wins the game.”
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