Kingston High School football player Miles Bryan scoops up the ball after blocking a throw during a practice session at the high school on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. (Tania Barricklo/Daily Freeman)
KINGSTON, N.Y. — Kingston High’s football team is taking a trip to the Bronx on Saturday to open the 2023 season against Cardinal Spellman High.
The Tigers’ non-league contest at 2 p.m. against the private Catholic school highlights a slate of six games involving local Section 9 teams.
Kingston High coach Quintin Johnson remembers last year’s Week Zero game against Poughkeepsie was canceled at the 11th hour when the Dutchess County school was unable to field a squad.
“We were trying to find a Week Zero game this year because last year’s circumstances weren’t ideal,” Johnson said. “If my memory serves me correct, I think I just got a call one day and they (Cardinal Spellman) were looking for a game.”
Johnson said the Tigers’ contest with Cardinal Spellman will benefit the school in several ways.
“I thought it was a nice opportunity for us to play a Catholic school,” he said. “We’re traveling a lot, so I figured we might as well schedule a trip for the kids that they might not ever get.”
The Tigers are coming off a 5-4 season. It was the school’s first winning season in 11 years.
Cardinal Spellman had a rough season last year (1-9), with opponents outscoring the Pilots by a 375-34 margin. Cardinal Spellman was shut out five times.
In other games on Saturday, the featured game is a clash between 2022 Section 9 Class B finalist New Paltz at Class A Wallkill.
New Paltz at Wallkill, 7 p.m.
Under Freeman Coach of the Year Kyle Jansen, the visiting Huguenots rolled to a 7-4 record and advanced to the Class B title game a year after going 2-7 in 2021.
The Class A Panthers hope to improve on last year’s 4-6 mark with quarterback Chris Bartolone looking to have a big senior campaign. He recently committed to Division III powerhouse SUNY Cortland.
Marlboro at Saugerties, 1 p.m.
The visiting Iron Dukes are hoping to rebound from a rare losing season (4-6) with senior quarterback Miles Brooks
running the offense.
Saugerties was 1-9 a year ago has compiled a 3-23 mark over the last three seasons. The Sawyers battled Marlboro to the end last year before dropping a 14-6 verdict.
Red Hook at Beacon, 1 p.m.
The visiting Class B Raiders were 6-4 last season and finished 5-1 in league games under veteran coach Scott Ricketson, a former offensive coordinator at Kingston and New Paltz.
Class A Beacon is coming off an 0-7 season.
Liberty at Highland, 1 p.m.
Class B Liberty avoided a winless season last year with a 7-0 non-league win in the last game of the season over Highland.
The host Huskies, who finished 2-8 in Class C last season, are led by versatile two-way player James Gescheidle.
Moravia vs. Rondout Valley at Livingston Manor, noon
Rondout Valley has switched to eight-man football due to a lack of numbers. Coach Chris Frenza is hoping it’s a one-year experiment.
The Ganders finished 3-7 in Class B in 2022.
Section 4’s Moravia had a glittering 9-2 record in eight-man games last season and should be favored in this non-league affair.