Haldane the new kings of Class D
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** Scroll to the bottom of a complete boxscore on the game **
Haldane coach Jeff Sniffen posed the question to his team that’s became their mantra after their post-game celebration on Saturday: “Who’s Haldane?”
Sniffen held up the Class D championship plaque and made an emphatic statement to break the silence.
“This is who Haldane is.”
A roar from his players reflected the emotion they played with all second half. The Blue Devils rallied back from a 14-point deficit and knocked off defending state champion Tuckahoe 25-14 in the Section 1 Class D title game Saturday at Mahopac High School.
“We had that ‘Who’s Haldane?’ slogan on a t-shirt we wore last year,” Sniffen said. “We’ve had a difficult few years, took some licks and it stunk. But we kept persevering. This is our year.”
Bryant Dain, one of 15 seniors on the Haldane roster, rushed for 109 of his 123 yards in the second half, and Peter Allen scored the go-ahead touchdown on an interception return as the Blue Devils (8-1) ended Tuckahoe’s three-year run as Section 1 champs.
“We had a long talk at halftime in the locker room,” said Dain, who’s team trailed 14-7 at the break. “We felt we could all just bring it in the second half and do our jobs. We brought it as a team.”
Haldane earned a spot in the state tournament for the first time in four seasons. The Blue Devils will face Section 9 champion Chester on Friday at Mahopac High School.
Tuckahoe led 14-0 in the first quarter thanks to great field position. A bad punt led to a 35-yard scoring drive, which quarterback Mike Castracucco capped with a 24-yard touchdown pass to L.J. Gallo.
Haldane fumbled on its next play from scrimmage, giving the Tigers the ball at the 15-yard line. Shyheim Nixon punched in a 7-yard touchdown minutes later.
The Blue Devils responded with a scoring drive on the ensuing possession, with Elias Lopez throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Henry Heintzman.
Tuckahoe was driving midway through the third quarter and had the ball at the Haldane 6 when George Fibble made a season-saving play, intercepting a pass at the 3 yard line. Dain finished an 86-yard scoring drive with a 14-yard score, but the extra point was block keeping Tuckahoe ahead by a point.
Things began to unravel for Tuckahoe after that. Peter Allen intercepted a pass and returned it 31 yards for a score to make it 19-14. On Haldane’s first series of the fourth quarter, it put the the game away with a Dain touchdown.
Section 1 Class D Championship
at Mahopac High School, Nov. 5
Haldane 25, Tuckahoe 14
T — L.J. Gallo 24 pass from Mike Castracucco (Mike Dilago kick)
T — Shyheim Nixon 7 run (Dilago kick)
H — Henry Heintzman 12 pass from Elias Lopez (Heintzman kick)
H — Byrant Dain 14 run (kick failed)
H — Peter Allen 31 interception return (run failed)
H — Dain 6 run (run failed)
Rushing (att-yards): Tuckahoe- Nick Reisman 9-42, Mike DiLago 14-39, Shyheim Nixon 11-35, Kayvon Reid 2-6, Michael Castrocucco 4-(-13). Totals: 40-109. Haldane- Bryant Dain 22-123, Elias Lopez 15-78, Nick Junjulas 12-47. Totals: 49-248.
Passing (comp-att-yards-TDs): Tuckahoe- Castrocucco 3-12-41-1, Nixon 0-1-0. Haldane- Lopez 2-10-19-1.
Receiving (rec-yards): Tuckahoe- LJ Gallo 1-24, Gary Moss 1-13, Nixon 1-4. Haldane- Henry Heintzman 1-12, Bobby Vahos 1-7.
TOTAL YARDS: Tuckahoe- 150. Haldane 267.