No team wants to start the season with a loss, but for Clarkstown South, this year’s Week 1 loss stung even more because of the opponent. The Vikings lost 26-8 to crosstown rival Clarkstown North, missing out on the Supervisor’s Cup for the first time since 2010.
That’s when South coach Mike Scarpelli challenged his team to look in the mirror.
“We know what the result was, and it left a bad taste in our mouth,” he said. “A void was missing after that game, and I said to the team and the staff, ‘I know that the team we just played is going to be in the playoffs. What I don’t know is if the team in front of me will be. If you want to see them again, we’re going to have to make a run.’ ”
The Vikings responded by winning their next five games to clinch a spot in the Class AA playoffs, which will begin at home at 7 p.m. Friday against No. 10 North Rockland.
A big part of their success has been a return to a spread offense after previously running the triple option under offensive coordinator Rich Conklin, who retired in the offseason.
“It was an easy transition because we have a quarterback (Matt Jung) who started as a sophomore, and we have two 6-4 receivers and some fast running backs,” Scarpelli said.
“It’s not so much about the offense, and that everyone is running it on the college level and things like that. It’s just that we’re moving the ball in the air, we’re moving the ball on the ground, we’re moving the ball when it rains. It’s leading to big plays, not so much us searching for the big plays. A little screen play can turn into a big gain because we’re so spread out.”
In a twist, seventh-seeded Clarkstown South (5-1) will enter the game as a favorite against North Rockland (1-5), which is traditionally a powerhouse in Rockland County.
The Red Raiders have struggled while playing a very difficult schedule, but Scarpelli said, “No matter what their record is, North Rockland is always Goliath.”
“Records go out the door,” he said. “It’s a Rockland team and my belief has always been that I’m a proponent of a Rockland league. Any time that we can play a Rockland team, the kids know that it’s important. This is the movie. This is the script. This is Friday nights light.”