Leading off today:
There's concern downstate after fun and excitement turned to violence Saturday at two football games between traditional rivals.
Authorities in Ossining and Rye stressed that the contests themselves were sportsmanlike, but that what happened afterward -- resulting in at least two arrests and three athletes being taken to an emergency room -- crossed the line after football games between Sleepy Hollow and Ossining and between Harrison and Rye.
In Ossining, where Sleepy Hollow's varsity won 34-21 Friday night, three Sleepy Hollow JV players were accosted after the game as they were waiting for their parents to pick them up, Sleepy Hollow AD Charles Scarpulla told The Journal News. The scheduled JV game the following day was canceled.
In Rye, where Harrison won 21-0 Saturday, fights broke out after the winners jumped into the brook that runs alongside the Rye football field, Rye Police Commissioner William Connors said. One person was charged with disorderly conduct after police from a dozen area departments took an hour to clear a crowd estimated at 6,000 fans.
Frustrating ending: In a perfect world, it's all decided on the field rather than with calculators and rule books. That being said, the remaining NYSPHSAA football playoff fields are set.
In Section 1 Class B, Ardsley (5-2) lost out to Croton-Harmon (4-3) despite the better record and a 39-21 victory when the teams played in the fifth game of the season. Rather than dropping the 12 Class B teams into two divisions and advancing the top two from each into the semis, the section lumped everyone together and went with unbalanced scheduling.
Croton-Harmon had a schedule (including a win over a better than average Hendrick Hudson from Class A) that looks significantly tougher -- though it's hard to determine whether C-M's opponents built up superior records by beating up on more weaklings -- as well as a better record vs. their two common opponents (both defeated Our Lady of Lourdes, but Ardsley lost to an Irvington team that Croton-Harmon beat). It added up to a better final number under the Piner System.
In the end, the right team probably qualified. But their overall records and the head-to-head result do raise reasonable doubt.
Some observers recognized before the season even started that Section 2 Class D might serve up a dose of controversy. When the teams were divided into two geographic divisions, the four heavyweights all ended up in the South but the rules spelled out that the only the top two from each division would advance to sectionals.
The first three weeks of the schedule consisted of crossovers, during which the four best South teams went 12-0 by an average score of 37-10. Then the South teams beat up on each other and Greenwich ended the year 6-2 (with the losses to very good Cambridge and Rensselaer squads).
That 6-2 record was better than the two North teams but only good enough for third in the division. So Whitehall and Salem are in the semifinals despite losses to Greenwich by scores of 36-13 and 42-18, respectively.
In this case, at least one "wrong" team qualified, but it was all by the book. Hopefully the football committee can come up with a better format for next year.
Long season, Long Island: Baldwin's 28-21 win over Oceanside, ranked second in Class AA by the NYSPHSAA, more or less confirmed that no NYSPHSAA Class AA squad on Long Island will be in the discussion for the state's best team come Thanksgiving weekend.
In Nassau County, Oceanside and Farmingdale each have a loss, and everyone else has two or more. In Suffolk, Connetquot (Conference I) and West Islip (Conference II) are 7-0 and East Islip is 6-1. Before you