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   Leading off today: Mike Libert tracks the New York City high school football scene for the New York State Sportswriters Association. Here's Mike's weekly rundown of where the top teams stand at the moment:

Class AA

Erasmus Hall (11-2)
Last Week: #2

Recap: The Dutchmen were flawless on Wednesday in the PSAL City Division championship game as four different Erasmus players ran for TD's, including senior QB Jordan Armstead who punctuated the game with a third quarter score as E-Hall finished the season not giving up a point in the final 24 quarters of play, defeating Tottenville for the title 27-0.

Next Season: While Armstead will graduate the cupboard is far from bare as Vincent Cajano looked to be a star in the making at the QB position and he'll be a sophomore next season, and with RB's Yaseen Murden and Rodsheen Ayer coming back as well, along with stud DE Jahzion Harris who is considered one of the top defensive recruits in the country in the 2021 class the expectation is more titles ahead for the Dutchmen.

2) Cardinal Hayes (8-5)
Last Week: #3

Recap: After falling in the CHSAA Class AAA State Championship Game 25-24 to Canisius on a last second TD up in Buffalo the Cardinals rallied back behind a pair of TD throws from QB Henry Belin to defeat Mount St. Michael on Thanksgiving Day 38-0 in the latest installment of their annual holiday contest.

Next Season: The future is promising for Hayes to stay among the best in NYC as Belin will be a junior come next season while his favorite target in WR Kuno Mendez. You can expect to see Zachary Mitchell take a bigger load at the RB spot next year, and while they will have to replace a good amount of the offensive and defensive lines the depth seems to be there to make yet another title winning run.

3) Tottenville (11-2)
Last Week: #1

Recap: Going into Wednesday's PSAL City Division title game against Erasmus Hall with a perfect league record and a win over the Dutchmen during the regular season gave Tottenville a lot of confidence coming in, but 2 early turnovers led to 14 quick points for Erasmus with the Pirates never getting back in the game, falling a game short of the championship losing 27-0.

Next Season: There will be a bit of a rebuild for Tottenville as RB Roland Dempster who was one of NYC's best this season is graduating, as is stud LB A.J. Roberts who led the defense. They do return their signal caller under center in Anthony Pucciarelli which will help. Jason Salcedo should take over at the RB spot, and with three of the offensive linemen returning a good core should help keep the Pirates solid.

4) Christ the King (7-3)
Last Week: #4

Recap: There were certainly expectations to get to the NYCHSFL Class AAA title game this season but a 43-6 loss to Archbishop Stepinac in the semifinals meant they were a little bit short of what their goals were coming into the season. They did show a lot of promise on both sides of the ball meaning the future is definitely bright for the Royals.

Next Season: Noah Bodden will come back for his senior season as the signal caller and CTK leader with one of his favorite targets in WR Stanley Oxford also due back for another year. Add in the fact that one of the top defensive players in the league in DL Chris King will again be creating a lot of havoc for the opposition as he will be a senior in a years time and Christ the King has a lot of reason to be excited about the 2020 season.

5) Curtis (9-3)
Last Week: #5

Recap: After beginning the year with 7 straight PSAL victories the schedule got tougher and the Warriors found themselves struggling down the stretch as they lost to their rivals from Tottenville in a heartbreaker, while also falling twice to Erasmus Hall including a 25-0 loss in the PSAL City Division semifinals.

Next Season: While Gennaro Basciano will graduate meaning Curtis will be looking for a new QB come the 2020 season there is a lot of other skill position players returning led by star. RB Sam Martin who will only be a junior next year, as will Maurice Hinton his RB mate in the backfield. Add in WR Alpha Linton coming back and the explosiveness should again be on display in 2020 from a talented Warriors group.

6) Abraham Lincoln (7-5)
Last Week: #6

Recap: Offensively the Railsplitters showed that they could hang with almost anyone as they were one of the few teams who could hang TD for TD with the very best in the PSAL. They struggled though on the defensive side to match up as was the case in Lincoln's 45-24 defeat to Tottenville in the PSAL City Division semifinals to end their season.

Next Season: Lincoln will need to replace RB Israel Abanikanda as he runs off to Pittsburgh where he should be an immediate force in the ACC though strong armed QB Jahzair Hubbard will come back to lead the Railsplitters, as will stud WR Quincy McDuffie meaning if the defensive weapons can be found another really strong PSAL season in 2020 could be on the way.

7) Midwood (6-5)
Last Week: #7

Recap: When you lose as much as Midwood lost coming into this season then expectations aren't expected to be all that high. They weren't which is why Midwood exceeded what many predicted from them as RB/WR David Stephens did a bit of everything as they almost shocked Lincoln in the PSAL City Division quarterfinals before falling late 24-22 in a heartbreaker.

Next Season: The issue that the Hornets will have next season is that they lose Stephens to graduation as he accounted for nearly 75% of the Midwood scores. Losing him will sting though QB Zade Edwards really grew leaps and bounds throughout the year and he will return along with Junius Bowman who should become the feature RB come next September and the start of the new season.

8) JFK (8-3)
Last Week: #8

Recap: Playing against a schedule that was a bit lighter than many others at the top of our rankings because of how the PSAL power points system is structured, the Knights were able to really do a solid job beating everyone they were suppose to, doing a great job on the ground and rolling past teams until a 28-6 loss to Curtis in the PSAL City Division quarterfinals.

Next Season: JFK was a major ground and pound team this season relying heavily on Karamogo Sylla, who the Knights will lose to graduation, and Emmanuel Nkwocha, who will return and be a senior next season. His return should keep the Knights in the mix though the graduation of nearly all the other skill position players on JFK should mean a lot of new pieces will have to step up and take on much bigger roles.

9) Lehman (6-4)
Last Week: #9

Recap: Much like their Bronx rivals in JFK, Lehman was able to do what they were suppose to do against lesser competition but didn't find much success when they stepped up to play a higher caliber of opposition. In the PSAL City Division quarterfinals was where the Lions season ended as they fell to Erasmus Hall 32-0 to see their season come to a close.

Next Season: On top of the disappointing end to the season will be the graduation of QB Dante Nelson who was a duel threat who on many occasions both rushed and passed for over 100 yards in games. Xavier Ricketts will be back giving Lehman a solid ground attack at the RB position, and with a core of strong defensive weapons set to return the Lions if they find a signal caller could be a team to watch next year.

10) Susan Wagner (5-6)
Last Week: #10

Recap: It was not an easy year for Wagner as for a long stretch of the season the playoffs didn't really look like a realistic option. They closed out the regular season though with wins over New Dorp and Boys & Girls to sneak in before losing their PSAL City Division quarterfinal game to Tottenveill 46-21 to put an end to their year.

Next Season: Gone next season will be QB Joe Thorpe as he will graduate in June, as will the Falcons top two RB's in Christian Browne and James Morse. That will leave Wagner really looking for a lot of reinforcements if they want to get back to playing in the playoffs again come the 2020 season where the competition looks like it will be even more fierce.

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Class A

1) James Madison (11-1)
Last Week: #3

Recap: After losing to New Utrecht during the regular season at home 28-20 it was the Golden Knights getting revenge on the Utes as with a pair of Mark Shepherd scores, and a final minute TD run from Alex McBurnie to put them ahead, it was Madison winning back to back PSAL Bowl Division titles by defeating New Utrecht on Saturday, 20-13.

Next Season: The question now is will James Madison make the move up to the PSAL City Division? That's still up in the air and with QB Rickoy Riley and the aforementioned Shepherd graduating there will be losses, but McBurnie will return, as will a key part of their secondary meaning that good times should still be ahead for the Golden Knights regardless of what division they end up in next season.

2) Moore Catholic (9-1)
Last Week: #2

Recap: While they may not have a lot of numbers to their team as the fielded a squad of just 35 players it was the talent that the Mavericks had that won out this season as they knocked off their Staten Island rivals St. Joseph by the Sea 28-6 a couple weeks back for the CHSFL AA-2 title.

Next Season: Winning it again come next season will be a tougher road to haul as they lose one of NYC's best RB's even in Justin Lacks as he was one of the more dominant runners going for over 3,000 yards in his H.S. career. QB Nick Heineman will be lost to graduation, as well as star LB Artie Padilla meaning if Moore wants to remain atop the CHSFL they will need to regroup and reload come the start of next season.

3) New Utrecht (11-1)
Last Week: #1

Recap: Going into the PSAL Bowl Division title game 11-0 it was the Utes dreaming of a perfect season with a matchup in the championship against defending champs James Madison the only thing in their way. New Utrecht led 13-12 late, but with a Madison score with under 2 minutes to play the Utes would ultimately fall 20-13 in a well played, but heartbreaking defeat to end the year.

Next Season: New Utrecht used a two QB system and while Jordan Moran will graduate the Utes will bring back Isaiah Wright for his

  
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senior season which should give them a strong duel threat under center, and while both star RB's will graduate the Utes do bring back their top WR in Tristan Peters meaning they should still be among the Bowl Division's best in 2020.

4) St. Joseph by the Sea (8-2)
Last Week: #4

Recap: The Vikings cruised past nearly everyone in their way this season except for Moore Catholic as it was the. Mavericks that handed Sea both of their losses this season including a tough 28-6 defeat in the CHSFL AA-2 championship game that saw St. Joe's give up 22 straight points to fall to their rivals from Moore.

Next Season: If there is a positive spin to that its that QB Jackson Tucker who was an All-League performer this season will be back for his senior year in 2020, and with Matthew Cordero coming back for his senior season to protect his blindside as well you can expect a lot of good things come next season, including a very potent offense once again for St. Joseph by the Sea.

5) Tilden (9-2)
Last Week: #5

Recap: You can only describe the season that the Blue Devils had as fantastic as they were able to roll through the regular season with just one defeat earning themselves the #2 seed entering the PSAL Bowl Division playoffs. They would fall at home ultimately to a hot Madison team in the semifinals that would win the whole thing but it was still a great season for this Tilden team.

Next Season: For Tilden it was all about the ground attack as they ran it over 90% of the time which is why the graduations of lead RB's DoMorri West and Kevon Patrick will hurt so much. Giovanni Philippe will play a huge role in the backfield come the start of next year with most of the big defensive front also set to graduate in what may end up being a bit of a rebuilding year for the Blue Devils.

6) Port Richmond (7-5)
Last Week: #6

Recap: Slumping toward the end of the regular season to the tune of losing their last two entering the playoffs, the Raiders were able to find a second wind and shocked McKee/Staten Island Tech in the PSAL Bowl Division quarterfinals to make a bit of a surprise trip to the semifinals. They would fall 32-0 to New Utrecht there but it was still a solid season for a Port Richmond team who looks set for bigger things ahead.

Next Season: The confidence for Port Richmond is really because they bring an awful lot back for the 2020 season. Starting QB Jake Ficken got hurt early in the year after a strong start but he will be back meaning Jayden Duffy who took over under center can move out to the outside and be a WR weapon as he returns as well. Dezmond Fredericks rushed for over 1,200 yards and he also will be back meaning high hopes for the Raiders.

7) McKee/Staten Island Tech (7-3)
Last Week: #7

Recap: After defeating Port Richmond to close out the regular season it was a disappointing end as they got the Raiders once again in the PSAL Bowl Division quarterfinals, losing there in heartbreaking fashion on a last second score 21-20. It wasn't the way MSIT wanted to see there season end, but there were certainly a lot of positives coming out of a strong year of play overall.

Next Season: Thomas Doyle was the man at the QB position but he was a true passing/rushing threat. He will be graduating in June meaning the Seagulls will need to replace their duel threat star. Two of the three main RB's graduate for McKee as well, though with Ryan Hourican set to return for his senior season MSIT can at least take stock in knowing they have one skill position threat they can count on coming back.

8) Eagle Academy III (5-6)
Last Week: #8

Recap: The start of the season was one that Eagle III would like to forget as they opened 2-4 with three of the four losses coming by 6 points or less meaning that it was the little things late that would cost them. They did sneak into the playoffs and got an opening round victory before ultimately bowing out in the PSAL Bowl Division quarterfinals to Tilden 28-12 to finish out their year.

Next Season: Losing your QB is never an easy thing and Tajay Barnett, a three year varsity starter, will be graduating in June meaning that replacing him will be priority #1 for Eagle Academy III. Nathan Simmonds was a 1,000 yard RB this season and his return in 2020 will boost the Eagle offense, as will the return of Justin Bowman Williams, a two way threat who led the Queens school in tackles this season.

9) Eagle Academy II (5-6)
Last Week: #9

Recap: Much like their counterparts from Eagle III in Queens, Eagle II from Brooklyn started out slow this season and progressively got better as the year went on. They nearly knocked off Tilden at the end of the regular season before falling in OT while moving into the PSAL Bowl Division playoffs and playing strong football before falling to eventual champion James Madison 20-0 in the quarterfinals.

Next Season: A good amount of the skill position stars for Eagle Academy II will be back in on the field again for the Brooklyn school come 2020 as Mekhi Hicks led the team in rushing with nearly 900 yards and he will be back, as will QB Justin Brown whose accuracy under center improved as the season moved on. Four of the five offensive lineman will be back as well helping the Eagle II cause.

10) Thomas Jefferson (7-4)
Last Week: #10

Recap: Going 7-4 on the season including winning a playoff game means a very successful 2019 campaign for the Orange Wave who didn't play the toughest regular season schedule, but won the games they were suppose to while also taking down Bayside in the road in the PSAL Bowl Division opening round. Their playoff run was ended in a 38-0 loss to New Utrecht in the quarterfinals though ending their year.

Next Season: There are signs for optimism going forward next year for Jefferson as their leading rusher in Shamel Bennett will be back as he was only a sophomore this year season, though with the graduation of their QB in Devonte Smith it will mean finding a new signal caller to throw to WR Vincent Barrett who will be back after a 8 TD season on the outside.

Class B

1) Petrides (11-1)
Last Week: #1

Recap: After falling a year ago in the PSAL Cup Division championship game it was a return trip to the title game this year for the Panthers who this time got the job done. Mike DiForte had a TD threw the air and on the ground, while Anthony Caserta rushed for nearly 100 yards as Petrides on Saturday won the championship by defeating William Grady in Brooklyn, 25-14.

Next Season: The sting of graduations will be felt hard for Petrides who will lose DiForte who had a 67% completion percentage in the playoffs while rushing for 1,500 yards over the course of the season. Caserta will graduate as well, though Thomas Bruns will be back and you will see him pick up a much bigger load in the backfield as he will be surrounded by a near entirely new surrounding cast of Panthers.

2) William Grady (9-3)
Last Week: #2

Recap: Many thought that Grady was a year away from getting to the big stage of the PSAL Cup Division title game but here they were this past Saturday just down the block from their schools campus playing for the championship at Abraham Lincoln H.S. William Stoney had a couple rushing TD's but the Falcons were stuffed in the second half as they were held scoreless down the stretch in a 25-14 title game loss to Petrides.

Next Season: When you bring back someone the ilk of Stoney it should mean very good things for Grady are to come as he ran for nearly 1,600 yards this season while hitting the end zone 18 times. His return will be joined by the return a year from now of his RB mate in Tyler Francis who rushed for 700 yards and 8 TD's as well as the ground and pound Falcons should continue to be a major force come September.

3) Beach Channel (8-3)
Last Week: #3

Recap: It was a bit of a tough pill to swallow as Beach Channel knocked off William Grady to end the regular season but because of the PSAL power points system they were seeded behind the Falcons for the Cup Division playoffs meaning a trip to Brooklyn in the semifinals, a game that saw the Dolphins lose in heartbreaking fashion 28-24 to put an end to a great and promising 2019 season.

Next Season: Beach Channel really didn't throw the ball much at all this season depending primarily on the ground attack to get the job done. Masiah Franklin ran for 844 yards and 15 TD's and he will be back for his senior season come 2020, as will the top two tacklers for the Dolphins in freshman Javon Nunez and Wendell Green meaning a solid amount of promising talent should return for another year.

4) Cardinal Spellman (4-4)
Last Week: #4

Recap: It looked as if Spellman was going to overcome their rough start to the season and shock everyone by claiming the CHSFL A Division title as they held a late lead over Kennedy Catholic in the championship game. A late FG tied things up and Kennedy was able to score in OT to take a 39-33 victory but not before the Pilots showed a lot of heart and fight to get to this point.

Next Season: A good core of Spellman's skill position players will be graduating in June led by Ethan Ortiz who was the Pilots star two way player going on the field as both an RB and a big time LB, but with QB Aidan Hanley-Piri only to be a junior, and a good amount of their defensive stars underclassmen there is optimism about the best of Spellman football being still to come.

5) Benjamin Cardozo (8-3)
Last Week: #5

Recap: Having the leading rusher in the Cup Division in Tyler Ragler meant that it was very difficult to contain and stop the ground this season. He rushed for just under 1,700 yards and was a dynamic force leading to big offensive performances from Cardozo, but the offense was stymied in the semifinals of the playoffs when their season ended at the hands of the eventual champions in Petrides by an 18-0 score.

Next Season: Ragler's 1,700 yards and 25 TD's will need to be replaced as his ability to find holes and attack will be tough to replace for sure, as will the play of QB Wendell Sealy who threw and rushed for over 700 yards each. Most of the WR's for Cardozo will return but finding a ground attack and a passing threat will mean some possible rebuilding and reloading for what next season should be a very young Judges team.


  
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