HOPEWELL JUNCTION – Clarkstown North needed to play a perfect game to keep the season alive. The Rams only made a handful of mistakes Friday, but each and every one proved costly and contributed to a 21-7 loss to John Jay-East Fishkill in a Section 1 Class AA semifinal.
“We didn’t play well enough,” senior lineman Prince Emili said. “We gave up some big plays because we didn’t tackle properly.”
The Patriots will be defending their Section 1 title next Saturday at 6 p.m. against either New Rochelle or Scarsdale, who play on Saturday.
“It’’s awesome,” John Jay quarterback Ryan Schumacher said. Getting back to the championship is something we’ve talked a lot about. The game is at Dutchess Stadium this year, the first time in this county, so that’s pretty cool.”
Clarkstown North had to play without leading rusher Michael Porco, who suffered a gash on his elbow a week ago. He was not cleared to play by the school’s director of health services.
“He was cleared by his own doctor,” Rams coach Joe Trongone said. “It changes a lot. We didn’t find out until 2 o’clock today. It affects so much of what we do. It affects the whole team’s mentality, but that team and Schumacher are really, really good.”
John Jay went up 7-0 late int he first quarter when Travis Contreras snared a short pass, ran through a tackle and went 62 yards for the score,
Schumacher extended the lead late in the first half with a 2-yard run.
Jack Abrams connected with J.R. Levy for a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, and the Clarkstown North defense made a big stop on fourth down to set up a potential tying drive from its own 30, but a fumble two plays into the series doomed the Rams.
Schumacher went over from the 3 on the next play.
Player of the game: Schumacher had 17 carries for 88 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed eight passes for 136 yards and one touchdown.
Turning point: Clarkstown North pinned the Patriots deep in their own territory with an impressive defensive stand in the final minute of the first quarter. A short punt gave the Rams possession at the John Jay 34-yard line. Instead of mobilizing to cut into a 7-0 deficit, North went backward on all three plays in the series. John Jay took over and scored again to go up 14-0.
Stat line: The Rams did not have a single first down in the third quarter. … Schumacher was sacked three times. … Abrams had 63 yards on 12 carries to lead North. He also completed four passes for 68 yards.
Quotable: “Straight into the ground,” Emili responded when asked whether his heart sank when a fumble in the final minutes ended any hope of a comeback.