Return of Pisciotta has helped fuel New Paltz’s run to Class A title game

By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider

New Paltz running back Mike Pisciotta immediately scoured the Internet for a recovery time after he sustained a high ankle sprain during the Huguenots’ preseason scrimmage in late-August.

Pisciotta, a senior, didn’t like what Google had to offer. The prognosis was that he would miss five to eight weeks. However, if anyone knows Mike Pisciotta, they know how tough he is.

Pisciotta returned after just five weeks and his relentless running has helped sixth-seeded New Paltz reach the Section 9 Class A championship game at 7 p.m. Friday at Faller Field in Middletown. The Huguenots (4-5) take on heavy favorite Cornwall (8-0), the seven-time defending champion which hasn’t lost to a Section 9 Class A opponent in more than seven years.

“It was terrible not being able to play and I was worried that I wouldn’t heal,” Pisciotta said. “I have been playing with this group since I was a kid and it really was tough. But I just had to deal with everything and it was a really good feeling to be back. I’m healthy and we are playing well, so everything worked out.”

Pisciotta, a three-year starter, returned to the lineup on Sept. 28 against Monticello, but wasn’t at 100 percent. He is at full strength and has helped fuel New Paltz’s run to the Class A championship game. Using a ball control offense and hard-hitting ‘D’, the Huguenots upset Warwick, the third-seed, 21-6 in the quarterfinals and edged second-seeded Goshen 17-13 in the semifinals last week.

“Mike is Mr. Dependable for us,” New Paltz coach Tom Tegeler said. “He has breakaway speed and great vision. Mike runs extremely hard through the hole and is just a great football player. His return really made us multi-dimensional.”

Pisciotta has rushed for 498 yards and six touchdowns this season. His re-emergence has allowed star linebacker Kenny Verney to take less carries out of the backfield. Pisciotta rushed for 884 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2017, helping New Paltz to the Class B championship game.

Pisciotta knows that New Paltz’s feel good run is expected to end against Cornwall, but don’t expect him to crown the Green Dragons without a fight.

“We are going to hopefully play as good as we can and make no mistakes,” Pisciotta said. “We are going to go out there and play like a family, and see what happens. The underdog role is great. Nobody expects us to come out on top and we have no pressure.”

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