by Kevin Brown
The Sleepy Hollow faithful high-fived and congratulated each other after an exciting season came to a close when Sleepy Hollow lost to Yorktown 28-13 in the second round of Section 1A playoffs.
“We started practicing and lifting last November, and I believe our record doesn’t reflect how good of a team we really are. What excites me the most is how close the team got,” Senior Captain Mike Lopez shared.
The Horsemen came into the game confident after dispatching Eastchester in the first round in dominating fashion, 28-0. Junior QB Sean McCarthy had shown improvement each week. He led with command in the playoff game.
“The game has definitely become slower, and I have become more comfortable with every snap. I felt myself maturing and am able to read defenses quicker and easier,” McCarthy explained.
And the results showed as he threw 11 for 19 with three TDs, including one to favorite target Kevin Borden and another to big contributor Malik Jones. Just like the last two seasons, Senior Captain Mike Lopez carried the big load rushing for 120 yards and a TD. Defense held stout as Zack Frank picked up eight tackles with two key sacks. Junior Luis Espinal continued his solid line backing with five tackles.
So, on to Yorktown for game two of the playoffs marched the Horsemen. The Huskers’ home field has been a sorry sight for Sleepy Hollow, faithful having suffered several season-ending losses in recent history. And expectations were dwindled with the site of two-way starters Malik Jones and Justin Torres sidelined with injuries.
“I cannot begin to list the unbelievable circumstances our team had to overcome. Some programs don’t have to deal with in a decade what we overcame this week.” Head Coach Steve Borys pointed out, along with the fact that Sleepy has made the playoffs for the 9th time in 14 years, which is no small feat.
The field was enshrouded with fog, and the breaks seemed to fall Sleepy Hollow’s way. After each team scored a TD, Yorktown had two TDs called back on untimely penalties. This helped keep the game close along with a Sleepy Hollow interception in the Yorktown end zone. With six seconds left in the first half, Yorktown tossed a bomb to take a 21-7 lead into the locker room.
But the Hollow came out of the locker room ready for battle with several sophomores filling in. They marched down field and scored to bring the game to 21-13 after three quarters. But at the start of the Fourth, Yorktown took off on an 80-yard TD run by QB Josh Boyer. Boyer and RB Brett Makar had punished the Horsemen in their regular season match up, and this night was no different. Makar put up an astonishing 201 yards on the ground and 80 more through the air. QB Boyer also ran for 115.
Sleepy Hollow finishes up the season after press time with an exhibition game against rival Ossining. Honorable mentions are certainly deserved for Senior DJ Owen for making almost all of his extra point attempts. Senior Jahmaali James emerged as a tackling machine as the season progressed. Juan Garcia and Angel Acosta battled on every down. And, along with the team members already mentioned, Seniors Isaac Newland, Joe May, Julian Gagliardi, Daymon Gaynor, Wade Monks, Ivan Capellan, Emmanuel Rodriguez, Diego Rodriguez, Dan Barros, and Biomar Delacruz graduate knowing they left it all on the field for Sleepy Hollow Football Fans.
McCarthy, who will be back at QB next year shared, “Nobody will replace these seniors as they have become family. But I am already excited for next year and will begin the long journey immediately.”
Mike Lopez added, “I live for Sleepy Hollow football and love going to battle with the guys I grew up with. It’s what I grew up around, and it has kept me out of trouble. It’s hard to believe it’s my last game for my home town, but I want to thank everyone who makes the football program so great from coaches, boosters, cheerleaders and of course, the fans!”
For those who have played in Coach Borys’ program, they know he always has a great story leading to a life lesson and is never short on colorful quotes.
“After all we went through; we went toe to toe with the #1 seed and did not blink. The boys in the end united as a family and fought like the mighty Spartans of old till the very end. They proved to be true warriors, and their heroic efforts will be remembered in Sleepy Hollow Football lore,” Borys said.