By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Section 9 preseason football camps open next Monday and just 18 days later comes the moment that we have all been waiting for: The start of the season.
Grueling summer sessions serve as the prelude to our own version of “Friday Night Lights.” Section 9 has plenty of prime-time players returning this fall. So who are the ones to watch?
There are plenty of good ones, but here are the Top 30 Players to Watch this fall:
- Sr. QB/RB Terry Anderson, Newburgh: A converted running back, Anderson used his speed to dice opposing defenses last year. He could be even better this year.
- Sr. LB Myles Barrington, Marlboro: Barrington’s passionate play helped Marlboro reclaim the Class B title last year. He had 95 tackles with five sacks and an interception.
- Jr. QB Dylan Bayliss, Red Hook: Rebuilding Red Hook has a fearless signal caller in Bayliss, who rushed passed for 1,448 yards and 12 touchdowns last year.
- Sr. RB/WR/DB Eric Borchert, Marlboro: Borchert is undersized and also fearless. He was one of only two Marlboro players to go both ways last year and is also dangerous on special teams.
- Sr. QB Steven Campione, Monroe-Woodbury: Had a breakout year in 2017, passing for 1,256 yards with 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Campione also rushed for 589 yards and nine touchdowns and had a 116.5 quarterback rating.
- Sr. WR Jack Dembia, Monroe-Woodbury: One of six Monroe-Woodbury players to catch a touchdown last year, Dembia (269 yards, three touchdowns) is the only one returning. He could evolve into Campione’s favorite target.
- Jr. RB Kymanni Dennis, Liberty: A combination of power and speed, Dennis rushed for 667 yards last year as the Indians’ No. 2 running back.
- Sr. OL Nick Esposito, Marlboro: Esposito made plenty of big blocks for the Iron Dukes last year and is even better this season.
- Sr. LB Steve Gazzillo, Cornwall: The model of consistency, Gazzillo has led Cornwall in tackles the last two years.
- Jr. QB Matt Giordano, Goshen: Started as a sophomore and progressed nicely during the year, throwing for 885 yards and six touchdowns. He served as one of the faces of Goshen’s youth movement.
- Sr. RB Solomon Hemingway, Burke Catholic: Hemingway made a name for himself in the postseason last year, finishing the year with 543 yards and seven touchdowns. He will be the Eagles featured running back this year.
- Sr. RB/LB Giani Hill, Newburgh: Hill flourished when moved to fullback last year in the Wing-T. He rushed for three touchdowns in the Class AA championship game and made other big plays in the postseason.
- Sr. DL Robert Jackson, Pine Bush: Returns to Pine Bush after spending the last three years at St. Joseph’s (N.J.). Jackson, who is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, has received attention from Temple, Rutgers, Connecticut, Syracuse, Duke and Army.
- Sr. DL Edjren Jorge, Ellenville: Jorge played a big part in Ellenville’s revival last season, registering 55 tackles with six sacks.
- Sr. DL Anton Juncaj, Minisink Valley: Juncaj could be the best defensive player in Section 9. He was all over the place for the Warriors last year, putting up 105 tackles, 10 sacks and forced three fumbles for the Warriors. Juncaj was a second-team Class AA all-state selection last year.
- Sr. RB Dhyquem Lewinson, Spackenkill: Lewinson is starting to get Division I looks. He rushed for 1,525 yards and 22 touchdowns in eight games last season.
- Sr. RB Xavier Martinez, Pine Bush: One of the focal points of Pine Bush’s deep Wing-T attack, Martinez had 666 rushing yards last year. Anthony Potts and Chauncey Smith could also be weapons out of the backfield for the Bushmen.
- Sr. QB Haakon Meland, Pine Bush: Meland first saw playing time as a freshman and has always been durable. He has run Pine Bush’s offense seamlessly and rarely makes mistakes. Meland had 13 all-purpose touchdowns last season.
- Sr. QB Sam Mongelli, Marlboro: The dynamic signal caller put up 1,876 all-purpose yards and 24 touchdowns last year. Mongelli has earned the reputation of always making plays in the biggest spots.
- Sr. RB Mike Pisciotta, New Paltz: Barreled his way to 884 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
- Sr. OL Jayden Prina, Monroe-Woodbury: The leader of what is expected to be a strong Monroe-Woodbury line. The Crusaders return four starters up front.
- Fr. QB Aidan Semo, Cornwall: Semo is generating plenty of hype and the expectation is that he will live up to it. He is a two-way threat under center.
- Sr. RB Nasir Steward-Milligan, Spackenkill: Steward-Milligan and Lewinson could be 1,000-yard rushers this season. Steward-Milligan had 624 yards and four scores last year.
- Sr. RB/DB/LB James Tehui-Matautia, James I. O’Neill: Is one of the most explosive players in Section 9. Tehui-Matautia rushed for 1,542 yards and 16 touchdowns last year and made 61 tackles splitting time between defensive back and linebacker.
- Sr. DB Tyler Toledo, Monroe-Woodbury: Is expected to make all the calls in the secondary for the Crusaders. Toledo made 76 tackles at safety last year.
- Sr. QB Chandler Toth, Valley Central: The gunslinger quarterback enters the season with 4,402 career passing yards, which ranks him seventh all-time in Section 9 history.
- Sr. LB Dom Valeri, Newburgh: Enters his third year as a starter. Valeri made 96 tackles last year, including seven for a loss.
- Sr. LB Kenny Verney, New Paltz: A throwback player, Verney had 95 tackles last year. He is entering his third year as a starter.
- Sr. DL Josh Williams, Newburgh: Came on last year and could be a force in 2018. Williams had 55 tackles and five sacks last year.
- Jr. RB Amin Woods, Cornwall: Woods rushed for 364 yards and eight touchdowns as Cornwall’s No. 2 back last year. Expect the speedster to do damage as the featured back this fall.
Don’t forget about: Sr. K/P Andrew Bagley, James I. O’Neill; Sr. K/P Mike Boyle, Monroe-Woodbury; Jr. OL John Braunagel, Monroe-Woodbury; Sr. QB Matt Bucci, Saugerties; Sr. LB Jared Cassel, Goshen; Jr. Sr. OL Matt Guarneri, Burke Catholic; Sr. DB/WR Rashad Hames, Burke Catholic; DB/QB Aidan Hoffmann, New Paltz; Sr. OL/DL Ozzie Hutchinson, Spackenkill; Sr. QB Ryan Johanson, Minisink Valley; Sr. LB Derek Iorlano, Newburgh; Sr. OL Matt Jackson, Marlboro; Sr. QB/LB Luke Kilner, O’Neill; Sr. QB Vincent Martello, Washingtonville; Sr. LB Robert Maslanka, Warwick; Sr. OL/DL Bryce Moore, Valley Central; Sr. WR Shane O’Dea, Cornwall; Sr. RB Max Suarez, Goshen; Sr. RB Mike Sannino, Chester; Sr. WR/DB Noah Smith, Minisink Valley; Sr. RB Zay Stephens, Port Jervis; Sr. RB/LB Mike Triglia, Millbrook; Sr. WR/DB Louie Usera, Burke Catholic.