YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- The Yorktown High School varsity football team broke its pregame huddle moments before the start of its Homecoming game today against Horace Greeley, when a familiar face emerged and walked toward the sideline at Charlie Murphy Field.
Ron Santavicca last coached the Huskers' varsity squad in 2004. But he was back in full force along with many of the members of his two most memorable teams during his 15 non-consecutive seasons as coach -- the state championship teams of 1993 and '94.
Ironically, the run of back-to-back state title began with a 26-0 season-opening win in ''93 over the same school -- Greeley -- that Yorktown played today.
Santavicca was teary eyed as he emerged from his talk. Mike Rescigno, who took over as Yorktown's varsity coach in 2005, invited Santavicca to address the team prior to the game.
"I told them that even though they are playing in a different era, we're all black and silver," Santavicca said, referring to the team colors he adopted during his team, a departure from Yorktown's traditional green and white.
A fired-up Yorktown team came out and pulled away for a 42-14 win.
At halftime of the contest, Santavicca spoke to the overflow crowd in special ceremonies honoring those state championship teams.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino marked the occasion by announcing to the crowd that Saturday, Oct. 5 has been proclaimed Ron Santavicca Day in Westchester. Astorino recalled his days as a local television sportscaster who covered several of Yorktown's games during those title-winning seasons.
The 65-year-old Santavicca, a Yonkers native, coached Yorktown's varsity squad for 15 non-consecutive season. He took over at Yorktown in 1987, after the Huskers were coming off a string of four straight losing seasons. Just one season later, he led Yorktown to the first of six bowl wins in a nine-year span that included those two state titles, in the first years state championship games were played.
Public address announcer Kevin VanMeter read the rosters of both the '93 and '94 teams, including those not in attendance, as well as the cheerleaders.
Santavicca told the crowd that work ethic -- and not necessarily talent -- were the reasons for the team's success in '93 and '94.
"Give a round of applause to the people who deserve it," he said, pointing to the former players from those teams who surrounded him at the 50-yard line.