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Friday, Sept. 7, 2018: Want to be the best? Try beefing up the schedule

   Leading off today: I've always told anyone who'd listen that your team isn't likely to make it very far in the playoffs by lining up a bunch of cupcakes for the regular-season schedule.

   There's no need to schedule an endless string of impossible-to-win games, but a lot of smart (and successful) coaches have learned to use a few of the non-league slots on the schedule to take on opponents from larger classifications and historically tougher leagues.

   The experience is beneficial later in the season when league titles and sectional trophies are on the line.

   Chris Metcalf, regional sports editor for Batavia Newspapers, took a look at the strategy in girls soccer this week.

   Mark Stephens of Class B Livonia opted to start his season against a pair of Class A squads.

   "It only makes us better, it makes us realize what we need to do to get better," he said. "It highlights our flaws, it is morale building for the girls as a whole."

   Bennett runs to win: Four Buffalo Bennett running backs ran for over 100 yards apiece in the Tigers' 51-7 football victory against Lockport on Thursday.

   Semaj Clemons led the ground attack with 160 yards and two touchdowns. Djae Perry had 110 yards and two touchdowns, Ja'vair Walker ran for 115 yards and a touchdown and Justin Campbell totaled 101 yards and a TD.

   Defensively, Nukahri Funderburk made two interceptions in the win.

   Section 1 leader picked: Pearl River AD Todd Santabarbara will be Section 1's next executive director, Southern Westchester BOCES confirmed to The Journal News on Friday.

   Santabarbara will be recommended at the next SWBOCES meeting on Wednesday and is expected to start Nov. 26. He will work alongside current Executive Director Jennifer Simmons until her retirement at the end of March.


   "I'm grateful to have such an amazing opportunity and to be able to work on behalf of students through the position as Director of Interscholastic Athletics," Santabarbara said in a statement. "I'm eager to begin collaborating with students, school leaders and all stakeholders in the component districts we serve."

   Santabarbara began his teaching career in the Clarkstown school district, where he also coached football and girls lacrosse. He's spent eight years as Pearl River's AD and has served as Section 1's softball chairman. football site

   Teen runner hospitalized: The sister of the teen runner who was struck by a car in front of Northport High School has created a donation page to help with her brother's recovery.

   Miles Lerner, 14, was headed to cross country practice on when he was struck by school food service employee Janet Aliperti, 57, of East Norwich on Tuesday morning. Aliperti was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, operation while registration is suspended and uninsured vehicle.

   Lerner is in pediatric intensive care, where he is being treated for severe injuries, reported.

   More than $66,000 had been raised online as of Friday afternoon.

   Care to help? We ended publication of the New York State Sportswriters Association newsletter in the summer of 2012. Most of the membership fee up until then went toward the 46-50 newsletters per year, but what was left after printing and postage helped defray other expenses.

   Now, online ads cover the expense of providing rankings, news and reference material to readers of and its related sites such as, which has allowed us to drop the membership fee.

   If you enjoy our content and feel inclined to help, we do maintain a page that allows contributions via credit cards or PayPal transfers and encourage you to check it out.

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