By Sean Lynch
Section 9 Football Insider Staff
WARWICK — High school football season is fast approaching as the first competitive action in Section 9 was the Hudson Valley Shootout; a 7-on-7 scrimmage at Warwick High. Seventeen teams from Section 9 took part in the event. The schools were divided into groups by their class. All Class AA and A schools were playing for the large school title. The class B, C, D and jayvee teams played for the small schools title.
Minisink Valley entered the Hudson Valley Shootout with two teams. A “B” team and an “A” team. Eighth grader Kai Colon started at quarterback for the “B” team. Colon used his 6-foot-1 frame to his advantage, finding receivers running in between defenders. In the small school title game against Burke Catholic, Colon threw for three touchdowns, including a game-winning touchdown on a stop-and-go route.
(Minisink Valley coach Kevin Gallagher talks to his players at the Hudson Valley Shootout)
The B team consisted of backups from the Minisink Valley football team, including Colon who will back up Ryan Johanson this season.
“I feel great knowing that as a soon-to-be varsity quarterback I can read defenses from very good varsity teams,” Colon said. “Today was a great confidence booster for me and also my teammates.”
“Colon was phenomenal today,” said junior varsity assistant coach Dave Fenner. “He was our starting quarterback last year and led us to a comeback win at the end of the season; he has a really bright future.”
Colon has two things he will work on over the summer— his velocity and understanding the playbook.
“I want to be able to get balls in tighter spaces, and to do that I have to get the ball out of my hands quicker, and to be on the same page as my receivers I have to know where they’re going,” he said.
Almost immediately after Colon led the “B” team to victory, the “A” team had their big school title game against Newburgh Free Academy.
It would’ve been tough for junior Ryan Johanson to match his backups’ title game performance, but he did just that. He threw for three touchdowns in the 21-0 title win over Newburgh Free Academy.
“We really wanted to make a name for ourselves today,” said Johanson. “Our record last year was terrible but it didn’t indicate how talented we were.”
The Warriors finished 3-6 last season. Four of Minisink Valley’s six losses were by seven points or less.
“We have a lot of skilled players with great chemistry,” said Minisink Valley head coach Kevin Gallagher. “Coming into today I wanted to see what our guys could do on the field and to be in contention for the (large school) title, and I’m ecstatic that we won.”
The Warriors finished the Hudson Valley Shootout undefeated with wins against Washingtonville, Middletown, Monroe-Woodbury, and Newburgh Free Academy.
Minisink Valley’s “A” and “B” team advance to the state 7-on-7 tournament on July 14th in Ithaca.