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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — From an opening-day loss at home to Bronxville to a jaw-dropping state championship victory, Dobbs Ferry’s ride through the 2011 football season was borderline epic. And its final stamp on the season goes down as one of the most dominant in state tournament history.
“We peaked today,” Eagles senior John Yozzo-Scaperrotta said. “As a team, our season peaked today. Today was the final puzzle piece.”
Dobbs Ferry’s 39-0 rout of Section 6 champion Jamestown Southwestern in Sunday’s Class C state championship at the Carrier Dome featured everything that made the Eagles great this season.
Three running backs went for over 100 yards rushing. Quarterback Spencer Avalos, the game’s MVP, completed 9 of 10 passes for 146 yards and a score and wasn’t sacked once. And the defense held Southwestern to just 98 total yards and six first downs. The Dobbs Ferry (11-1) offense piled up 567 yards and 30 first downs.
“You come into the state championship, you don’t expect something like this,” Dobbs running back Eddie Ritch said. “We had a great week of practice and they came out in the exact defense we thought they would. We were so prepared.”
The win was the fourth for Dobbs Ferry in school history and first since 2006. Only Caledonia-Mumford (5) and Aquinas (4) have won four more state titles since the tournament began in 1993.
Sunday’s victory was as convincing as football games come. The Eagles scored two touchdowns in the first quarter despite a turnover inside the Southwestern 5.
Dobbs Ferry extended the lead to 27-0 at halftime as Avalos completed his first nine passes, including a gorgeous 16-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Fleming with 47 seconds left.
“We felt really confident coming into the game that, if we put everything together, we’d win,” said Fleming, who caught five passes for 86 yards. “When we play perfect, nobody can stop us. We played perfect today.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Dobbs Ferry blew the game open in the fourth. Ritch ran in a 1-yard touchdown on the second play of the quarter, and Yozzo-Scaperrota capped the scoring with a 58-yard touchdown run with just over seven minutes to play.
Ritch ran for a game-high 127 yards on 15 carries, and Yozzo-Scaperrotta gained 118 yards and three touchdowns on 13 attempts. Tim Soave, a sophomore, ran for 110 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries as Dobbs Ferry averaged 6.9 yards per carry in the game. They didn't punt once.
“We’re a hybrid team. We can do a lot of different things,” Yozzo-Scaperrotta said. “We game planned everything. Our coaches are gurus.”
The Dobbs Ferry defense was just as good. The unit got interceptions from Avalos and Darien Bica. Matt Fata recorded a team-high seven tackles.
“I feel more of a sense of relief,” first-year coach Jim Moran said. “Once you set a goal like this and you see it snowballing, you want to see it come to fruition. I feel like right now that there’s a piano off my back.”
It’s understandable, especially considering the way the season started for the Eagles.
Dobbs Ferry came into the season with Section 1 — and even state — title aspirations. The Eagles graduated just two starters and had a roster that featured
But lost a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter on opening day to defending state champ Bronxville, due in part to team-wide leg cramps. The Broncos rallied for a crushing 15-14 victory.
“That was a turning point for us,” said Moran, whose team came back to beat Bronxville handily in the Section 1 title game.
“I think it was a very good thing we lost that first game,” Ritch said. “Everyone wants to win. But this is now the best feeling in the world.”
There was a large turnout at the Carrier Dome on Sunday for Dobbs Ferry, which was making a state-record seventh appearance in the title game.
“Dobbs Ferry football is a community thing,” Fleming said. “It’s not a team thing or a school thing. To come out here and put on a show like this, it’s amazing.”
Said Yozzo-Scaperrotta: “We’re going to walk into our schools and around our community as heroes.”
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org
CLASS C STATE FINAL
at Carrier Dome, Syracuse
Dobbs Ferry 39, Southwestern 0
Dobbs Ferry (11-1) 15 12 0 12 - 39
Southwestern (11-2) 0 0 0 0 – 0
DF – John Yozzo-Scaperrotta 10 run (Spencer Avalos run)
DF – Tim Soave 15 run (Brian Gardner kick)
DF – Yozzo-Scaperrotta 1 run (kick failed)
DF – Thomas Fleming 16 pass from Avalos (kick failed)
DF - Eddie Ritch 1 run (kick failed)
DF – Yozzo-Scaperrotta 58 run (kick failed)
Total yards: Dobbs Ferry 567. Southwestern 96
Rushing: Dobbs Ferry 61-421. Southwestern 18-49
Passing: Dobbs Ferry 146. Southwestern 47
First downs: Dobbs Ferry 30, Southwestern 6
Time of possession: Dobbs Ferry 30:41. Southwestern 17:19
Penalties: Dobbs Ferry 6-6. Southwestern 2-6
Third down conversions: Dobbs Ferry 5-10. Southwestern 1-11
Fourth down conversions: Dobbs Ferry 3-5. Southwestern 1-3
RUSHING: Dobbs Ferry – Eddie Ritch 15-127, John Yozzo-Scaperrotta 13-118, Soave 19-110, Spencer Avalos 8-42. Brian Gardner 3-15, Matt Fata 3-9. Southwestern – Jake Swan 6-25, Kevin Bellardo 3-15, Jake Pilling 7-6, Dan Petruccello 2-3.
PASSING: Dobbs Ferry – Spencer Avalos 9-10-146-0. Southwestern - Jake Pilling 7-26-54-2.
RECEIVING: Dobbs Ferry – Thomas Fleming 5-86, Tim Soave 2-18, Matt Fata 1-21, Eddie Ritch 1-21. Southwestern - Jake Swan 5-30, Ryan Schutte 2-24.
TACKLES: Dobbs Ferry – Matt Fata 7, Muhammad Hashami 5, Brian Gardner 4, Spencer Avalos 3, Thomas Fleming 3, Eddie Ritch 3, Matt Bohl 2, Tim Soave 2, Dennis Deleone 2, John Yozzo-Scaperrotta 2, Darien Bica 2, Rocco Cipiriano 1.
SACKS: Dobbs Ferry – Spence Avalos .5, Tim Soave .5.
INTERCEPTIONS: Dobbs Ferry – Spencer Avalos, Darien Bica.