TUCKAHOE, N.Y. ? Tuckahoe High is back in the New York State Class D football regional playoffs after a year's absence. It faces old rival and Section 9 champions Chester in the regional quarterfinal Saturday at 3 p.m. at Dietz Stadium in upstate Kingston.
The Tigers (6-2-1), state champions in 2006 and 2011, had several setbacks this season playing larger Class C schools, losing to rival Bronxville and Section 1 Class C champion Woodlands before defeating Haldane last week to win the Section 1 Class D crown.
Quarterback Shyheim Nixon, who moved to the position over the last three weeks from his running back spot, has already given the Tigers added offensive punch, completing 13 of 18 passes for 256 yards. Nixon has great speed and quickness and has rushed for nearly 700 yards and five scores.
Chester (7-3) relies on its offense but will miss all-time single-season rushing leader Saxon Smith, who graduated. The Hambletonians, who scored 39 points per game against lesser competition in upstate leagues, have lost to Tuckahoe in the state playoffs in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Tuckahoe's Nick Reisman and Kayvon Reid join Nixon in the backfield and have been a powerful force this season. Reisman rushed for a team-leading 750 yards and nine touchdowns, and Reid can run inside and is a good receiver.
This match-up favors the Tigers, who have superior speed on offense and can stop the run on defense. A win propels Tuckahoe into next weekend's Class D state semifinals.