SOMERS, N.Y. – Somers football head coach Tony Dematteo is not happy with Section 1 officials.
The section champion Tuskers lost, 34-13, to Section 9 champion Cornwall in the state quarterfinals on Monday. The Dragons had eight days to prepare for the game, while Somers only had two days because of the delays caused by Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter that hit Westchester.
But Dematteo said the problem could be traced back to the beginning of the season. Section 1 starts its football season a week later than the other sections in New York State. Dematteo believed this helped cause a domino effect that resulted in the delays and the quick turnaround in the playoffs.
“The whole problem would be cleared up if we would start on time,” Dematteo said. “It’s not the early starting date. It’s starting on time. What Section 1 is doing to these football kids is disgraceful. It’s absolutely disgraceful.”
Under normal circumstances, the Section 1 Class A champion would have to win three games in 11 days. But the numerous weather delays plunged the playoffs into chaos this season.
Dematteo said the Tuskers had some film on Cornwall and that his team practiced all day Saturday and Sunday, but it simply was not enough.
“The bottom line is they had eight days to practice and we had two. That’s the bottom line. Case closed,” Dematteo said. “It’s impossible. How do you practice against a team that’s 10-0, the best team up in Section 9, for two days? It’s impossible.”
But Dematteo, who won his 300th game as a head coach earlier this season, did not stop there. He also had some words about the Section 1 playoffs in general.
“They’re going to say ‘Well, why don’t you have a four team playoff (in Class A)?’ You’re going to have a four-team playoff with 32 teams?” Dematteo said. “So if we were to start on time, there could be an eight-team playoff in (Class) AA. There could be a 16-team playoff in (Class) A and schools like John Jay and Yorktown wouldn’t be screwed out of the tournament and everyone would get in and you find out who the best team is. All we have to do is start on time.”