Erik Manfredi

Manfredi’s big plays propel Millbrook past Tuckahoe in Class D state quarterfinals

Erik Manfredi
Millbrook’s Erik Manfredi scores a touchdown against Tuckahoe last week in the quarterfinals of the Class D state playoffs as teammate Drew Jackson looks on.

Cornwall, Marlboro both lose in quarters on Friday night

By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider

Like everyone else at Mahopac High School on Friday night, Millbrook’s Erik Manfredi was freezing.

However, Manfredi found a way to get his mind off the bitter cold: Break off a 61-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half. Manfredi’s big play helped Millbrook put away Tuckahoe 44-20 in the quarterfinals of the Class D state playoffs.

Millbrook (6-5) moves on to play defending state champion Cambridge (10-1) in the Class D state semifinals at 4 p.m. on Friday at Faller Field in Middletown. Cambridge defeated Moriah 54-20 in the quarterfinals on Friday night and have outscored opponents 583-129 this season.

“I think my kick return kind of took our mind off how cold it was out there,” Manfredi said. “It was freezing. I couldn’t have done it without all of the good blocks I had, but that kick definitely helped us. I think it was also a shock to Tuckahoe because I don’t know if they expected us to be in this.”

Millbrook defeated Tuckahoe 35-34 last month, but the Blazers still felt that many fans pegged the Westchester County power as the favorites. The Blazers only led Tuckahoe (7-3) 22-20 at halftime. Manfredi’s kickoff return extended the Blazers’ lead to 28-20.

He also had touchdown runs of 48 and 63 yards. Tuckahoe is now 10-3 all-time against Section 9 opponents in the state playoffs.

“Our team fed off Erik’s kickoff return,” Millbrook coach Sean Keenan said. “and I think it took Tuckahoe out of its game plan. I think are team played incredible tonight, on both sides of the line, we were real physical. We did a great job against a very good team.”

Section 9’s two other teams playing in the state quarterfinals on Friday night, Cornwall and Marlboro, lost. Both teams entered the quarters 9-0. Yorktown (11-0) put away Cornwall in Class A 38-14 behind 212 rushing yards and three touchdowns by Brett Makar. Makar now has 1,523 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.

“The difference was the running back (Makar),” Cornwall coach Mike Connolly said. “He is a special talent. He is just put together differently and plays at a different speed. Yorktown is well coached and they did a nice job getting (Makar) involved in different ways. I hope they do well in the state playoffs and end up winning it all.”

Entering the Yorktown showdown, Cornwall, making its seventh straight appearance in the Class A state playoffs, had allowed just 67 points this season, including 28 in a win to Class AA champion Newburgh.

“We didn’t play our best game of the season,” Connolly said. “We turned the ball over more than we did all year and we didn’t make the stops. That’s not going to be enough against a team like Yorktown.”

Marlboro led Pleasantville (10-1) 22-19 at halftime in the Class B state quarters, but the two-time defending Section 1 champions scored two touchdowns in the second half to pull out a 33-22 win. Pleasantville quarterback Jack Howe throw four touchdowns, including two in the second half to Declan McDermott and Jack Minerva.

Pleasantville defeated New Paltz 56-20 in last year’s Class B state quarters.

Follow Justin Rodriguez on Twitter at jrodsportshs