Red Hook to play as an independent in 2018 with eye on successful future

By Justin Rodriguez

Section 9 Football Insider

Like so many other players in Section 9, up-and-coming Red Hook quarterback Dylan Bayliss has a list of goals for the season.

Making the playoffs isn’t one of them.

No, Bayliss hasn’t set the bar low for his junior year: In an effort to help jump start the program, Red Hook has opted to play an Independent schedule this year, which will prohibit the Raiders from qualifying for the playoffs. Red Hook expects to play a Class B schedule next year.

“I wasn’t excited about it at first,” said Bayliss, who threw for 1,448 yards with 12 touchdowns last season. “I don’t think a lot of people were, but it’s best for the team. We basically had a jayvee team last year. Playing an independent schedule allows us to regroup and gain experience. I think it is a smart thing to do and we will be a good team next year in the future.”

Red Hook went 2-7 last year under first-year coach Scott Ricketson. Ricketson was a star quarterback at Kingston in the late 1990s and previously served as New Paltz’s offensive coordinator. Prior to that, he was a longtime assistant with Kingston.

(Red Hook quarterback Dylan Bayliss.)

Red Hook had eight freshmen and 10 sophomores on its roster last season and did not field a jayvee team. The Raiders will not have a jayvee squad in 2018, either. Ricketson said Red Hook has two seniors this season, lineman Declan O’Callaghan and defensive back Mike Picciullo. The Raiders have 26 players in the program.

“One of the toughest things in my career was to tell those two seniors that that can’t make the playoffs,” Ricketson said. “It was not a fun thing to do. Part of it was a safety issue. We didn’t want to put the kids in that situation. But our program is developing and growing, and I think we will take advantage of this.”

Red Hook lost to Class B’s five top teams last year, Marlboro, New Paltz, Spackenkill, James I. O’Neill and Liberty by a combined score of 226-69. The Raiders’ schedule is more forgiving this season, but it is still challenging. It includes: Monticello (Class A), Ellenville (B), Spackenkill (C), Chester (C), Woodlands (C), Highland (B), Onteora (C) and Millbrook (C).

“I think anything Scott Ricketson touches will eventually be successful,” New Paltz coach Tom Tegeler said. “He is one of my favorite people that I have met in 23 years of coaching. Scott is level-headed. He never gets too high or low and he is confident, which he should be. Scott will turn the program around and I wouldn’t want to play Red Hook in a few years.”

Follow Justin Rodriguez on Twitter at jrods9insider; Email: jrod845sports@gmail.com