CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Croton's Section 1 championship football team embarks on the defense of its title Saturday when it hosts Pleasantville in a 2:30 p.m. season-opening kickoff.
The Tigers, who have been the best Class A football in Section 1 two of the last three years, went 11-1 and all the way to the state championship before losing last season. Croton has lost just six games in the last five years under coach John Catano and is moving into 2012 with a new set of players in starting roles.
"Eveybody is healthy," Catano said. "We have a group of players who were part of the last three years. If we play to our potential, we can be successful."
Catano will depend on several key players, like running backs Brian Soares and Nick Grous, fullback Trevor Wolstencroft, tight end Peter Miller and wideout Mark Carruba, to help move the offense alongside quarterback Ben Gelfand.
Linemen Alex Lamb, Alex Browser, Spencer Kissberg, Matt Generelli, Nick Crumb and Alec Pavloff are the inside strength on both sides of the line and Alex Starr and Jason Howald help anchor the defensive backfield.
Pleasantville, 4-5 last year and 3-6 in 2010 after six straight winning seasons under coach Tony Becerra, is poised to get back on the winning track. The Panthers will go to battle with junior quarterback Anthony Godino, and the two Nicks, halfback Nick Pedlow and fullback Nick Greto, leading the backfield. Receiver Charlie Montgomery, a standout basketball player in the winter, adds a passing threat.
Croton has very good speed on offense and should be able to move the ball. Pleasantville can not make mistakes and can keep the game close with a good offensive showing.