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State Football Finals Haven't Always Been Around

Two Westchester varsity football teams are playing for the ultimate prize today at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

Dobbs Ferry (10-1) takes on Southwestern (11-1) of  Section 6 at noon in Class C and Croton-Harmon (11-0) faces Hornell (12-0) of Section 5 at 3 p.m. in Class B.

Many can’t remember when New York did not award state championships in high school football. But in reality, it really hasn't been that long. In fact, the state tournament in football didn’t begin until 1993, the New York Public High School Athletic Association’s 70th year of existence.

From 1971 until 1990, Section 1 played so-called “premier” bowl games in classes A, B and C, usually at Mount Vernon Memorial Stadium. Those games, played in early to mid November, marked the end of the regular season for all but those teams that had Thanksgiving Day games.

Then, in 1990, with plans in the works for a state tournament – four Section 1 class champions – played one intersectional game. North Rockland beat Saratoga in Class A, Ossining downed Hudson Falls in Class B, Nanuet fell to Watervliet in Class C and Dobbs Ferry beat Mechanicville in Class D.

Section 1’s representatives in the inaugural state tournament in 1993 were North Rockland (Class A), Yorktown (Class B), Rye (Class C) and Tuckahoe (Class D).

Section 1 went 2-2 in those title games, with North Rockland beat Jamestown 24-14 and Yorktown defeating Chittenango 23-13 and Rye falling to Caledonia-Mumford 38-19 and Tuckahoe losing to Clyde-Savannah 40-0. North Rockland, Rye and Tuckahoe each won their sectional title games comfortably, but Yorktown needed overtime to get past Gorton 35-28.

The win over Chittenango was the first of back-to-back state titles for the Huskers, who edged Williamsville South 25-24 in the 1994 championship game.

If Dobbs Ferry wins today, it will have the most football state championships of any Section 1 team. Currently, the Eagles, Rye and Edgemont each have won three. Two of the Eagles' titles were in Class C. Dobbs Ferry's previous titles came in 2002 (Class D), 2004 (Class C) and 2006 (Class C).

Four Section 1 teams – Harrison, Nyack, Tuckahoe and Yorktown – have won two titles apiece. Five other Section 1 teams have won one title: Bronxville, Valhalla, New Rochelle, Roosevelt and North Rockland.

Croton is looking to win a state title for the first time.

Joe Lombardi’s look at sports of all sorts in Westchester appears Sundays.

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