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Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014: Prutting retires with another CHSAA soccer title

   Leading off today: Dave Prutting is leaving as a winner, though it's hard to make much of a distinction between this season and the 26 years that preceded it at St. Anthony's.

   The Friars defeated Christ the King 6-0 on Monday for the CHSAA girls soccer championship on Staten Island. It was the final win for the 77-year-old Prutting, who previously announced his impending retirement. He finishes with a record of 437-46-19 and 21 state CHSAA championships.

   "This is a great way to go out," he said. "It's a great team. Maybe my greatest team ever at St. Anthony's. We had it all."

   Miranda Ozimek sent a cross in front to Sabrina Cristodero for a tap-in less than a minute into the game, and the two connected again five minutes later, this time with Ozimek batting home a one-timer. Francesca Venezia and Kayla Arestivo added goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half for a 4-0 lead.

   The Friars (18-0-1), top-ranked in the state, outscored opponents 82-6 for Prutting's final season on the sideline.

   "He's one of the greatest coaches I've ever had," senior captain Rebecca Safranek said. "He's been like a second dad."

   Newsday reports Prutting will be succeeded by assistant coach Sue Weber Alber, a two-time All- American at Hofstra.

   The winning continues: The fall's busiest championship weekend was already going to be a busy one for Section 5, but then Monday's NYSPHSAA field hockey quarterfinals made it even crazier.

   Webster Thomas (Class A), Brighton (B) and East Rochester (C) swept their Section 6 counterparts by a combined 7-0 score to reach the final fours. Combined with the results from the previous 72 hours, it gave Rochester and Genesee Valley schools a staggering 15 state semifinalists in boys and girls soccer, boys and girls volleyball and field hockey beginning Friday at locations across the state.

   Section 1 will be represented by 12 teams in those sports, with Sections 2 and 11 checking in with a healthy 10 representatives apiece.

   Other action on the weekend schedule includes NYSPHSAA and Long Island football playoffs, Federation cross country and the state girls swimming championships.

   Cart before the horse? Dr. Ken Eastwood wears a lot of hats these days. Besides being the superintendent of Middletown schools, his quotes published Tuesday in the Times Herald-Record have Eastwood coming off sounding like he fancies himself a judge, jury and executioner in his spare time.

   Last year, Eastwood initiated an investigation of the Burke Catholic boys basketball program on behalf of five school districts -- Middletown, Washingtonville, Monroe-Woodbury, New Paltz and Valley Central. The probe was done by a law firm, whose eight pages of findings were very unflattering to the Burke administration and particularly assistant coach Bobby Rahn.

   If accurate, the accusations of recruiting improprieties against Rahn would realistically make it difficult if not impossible for him to remain in his role as an assistant dean at Burke. Already, the school has rolled out a new policy that will make him have to choose between remaining as an assistant coach at Burke or running the AAU program at the center of the most serious allegations.


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  •    "(Rahn) still works at Burke Catholic and he is the individual at the center of this investigation," Eastwood told the paper. "I guess the whole issue here is, will the recruiting continue? Regardless if he's coaching or not, he's still in the school building. I would not put up with that in my school, but maybe that's just me. You try to teach kids to be good citizens by not acting like this."

       At the risk of stating the obvious, Eastwood is more than a little out of line. While it's true the investigation he authorized may have turned up the proverbial smoking gun, the final report carries no weight in and of itself other than having motivated Section 9 to open its own investigation.

       But John T. McCann, the attorney charged with investigating on behalf of the section, told the paper he is two weeks away from delivering his final report to section officials. It is that report -- and that report alone -- that will dictate the Section 9 Athletic Council's next step.

       It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand McCann's report could concur with the conclusions of the investigation Eastwood initiated. But what if it doesn't?

       What if the Burke administration embraced Eastwood's "ready, fire, aim" mentality and fired Rahn only to have McCann's report conclude some or all of the allegations against him were shaky and speculative -- or even completely wrong?

       Would the man who said, "I would not put up with that in my school, but maybe that's just me," be prepared at that point to turn around and offer Rahn a job?

       Bottom line: If Eastwood wants to start his victory lap now, that's his call. But it would have cost him nothing to bite his tongue and wait two more weeks for the Section 9 report.

       Following up: Rye's 35-14 over Yorktown for the sectional Class A football title over the weekend pushed QB Andrew Livingston over the 2,000 passing yards mark for the second year in a row, a record for Section 1. He stands at 5,565 yards, 57 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 34 career games.

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