TUCKAHOE, N.Y. The expected annual meeting between Tuckahoe and Haldane for the Section 1 Class D football championship is set for Sunday at Mahopac High School with both teams prepared for a close battle in what has become an inter-county rivalry.
We have both been preparing for this, Tigers running back and linebacker Shyheim Nixon said. Of course we're ready. The week is going by so slow. We know theyre playing with a chip on their shoulder from last year. And we cant let up one bit if we want to win this game. The team is focused and progressing every day. This is what we been waiting for.
With so few teams in the small-school Class D category, Tuckahoe (6-2), the defending Section 1 and state champion, and Haldane (7-1) have become annual rivals in the Section 1 Class D finals with the Tigers winning the last three consecutive titles. Haldane, a Putnam County school, topped the Tigers in the 2007 Class D final.
In a quirk of common opponents, Tuckahoe shut out Rye Neck and Albertus Magnus in the first two games of the season and Haldane defeated Magnus and Rye Neck in the first two weeks of their regular season on alternate weeks.
Haldane has outscored its opponents 293-70 over eight games, while Tuckahoe has outscored its opponents 231-153 over a much tougher schedule that included Class Cs Dobbs Ferry, Bronxville and Hastings. Haldane's lone loss came to Class C Woodlands.
The Tigers boast a strong running game, led by Nixon, Kayvon Reid, Mike DiLago and Nick Reisman, who have combined for more than 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns. Reisman leads the way with 404 yards and eight touchdowns, but quarterback Mike Castracucco will use all of his backs. Castracucco has also completed 30 of 58 passes for 320 yards, with Gary Moss grabbing 21 passes and five touchdowns.
The Tigers defense, which has struggled against good offenses this year, must stop Haldanes double-threat quarterback Elias Lopez, who has rushed for 645 yards and six touchdowns and passed for 840 yards and 13 scores. Bryant Dain is the Blue Devils lead back with 736 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Haldane has not seen a good offense since losing to Woodlands and the Tigers have the ability to score with the big play. Tuckahoe has been tested by Dobbs Ferry and Bronxville and should be able to handle Haldanes offense.
Look for the Tigers to pull out a victory with special teams and the defense leading the way.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.