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Eagles Look to Complete Dream of a State Title

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Kids who grow up playing football in Dobbs Ferry dream of playing in a high school state championship game and that dream is coming true for the 2011 Eagles who will travel to Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome Sunday for a shot at the Class C title

“It's a dream come true,” senior Eddie Ritch said. “From just starting tackle football in the third and fourth grade to playing in the state championship with the same group of kids. It’s just a great feeling to be able to share my last organized football game with these guys.”

The Eagles (10-1) will face Southwestern (11-1), the team that defeated Bronxville in the 2009 the title game before the Broncos went unbeaten and won the Class C title last fall. Dobbs Ferry is familiar with the Carrier Dome, having won state championships in 2002 (Class D), 2004 and 2006. A win Sunday will give the Eagles a Section 1 record four state titles. Rye and Edgemont each own three state titles also.

“We also know it’s not going to be an easy task,” said Ritch, who is one of several running backs in the Eagles offensive arsenal. “Southwestern is a great team, with a bunch of really good athletes. The plan is just to go out and play our hearts out like we have been all season, and play for each other, and hope for the best.”

Ritch, who rushed for 250 yards and scored four touchdowns in the regional quarterfinal two weeks ago, joins sophomore fullback Tim Soave, John Yozzo-Scaperrotta, quarterback Spencer Avalos and Brian Gardner in the backfield. Avalos can also throw and may need to this week against Southwestern’s tough interior defense that has helped hold opponents to 123 points (11 points per game).

The Eagles defense has been strong all year, allowing a paltry 80 points over 11 games for an average of 7.3 a game, and just 13 per game in the last three playoff games against high-powered offenses. Linebacker Darien Bica, lineman Dennis DeLeon, nose tackle Gardner, Yozz-Scaperrotta and the rest of the Eagles defense is relentless.

“Our defense has been strong all year,” Soave said. “We didn’t score too many points (in the last week’s victory), but the defense wouldn’t give in.”

Southwestern has struggled to score points in the playoff run, winning its games 10-0, 23-6 and 16-13, so the Eagles will pose a big problem with their prolific running game.

Trojans quarterback Jake Pilling threw two touchdown passes last week and running back Jake Swan carries most of the load on the ground. If the Eagles can stop the passing game they will be successful.

This is the game the Eagles have been waiting for, many of them since the third and fourth grade. The senior-laden team with first-year head coach Jim Moran looks primed for the big stage.

Eagles 27, Southwestern 13.

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