By Gabby Ripka
Byram Hills Varsity Football proved that they were a force to be reckoned with this season. Byram’s head coach, Doug Carpenter who returned for his third season with the Bobcats has made a profound impact on the program. The team who has been considered “below average” in years past has been competing with the very best in the competitive Section 1. The Bobcats began to climb up the ranks after gaining some attention from big wins over Harrison, Eastchester, Fox Lane, and many others. When asked to comment about his team’s success, Coach Carpenter said, “I have enjoyed each and every day with this group of kids because of the character that they demonstrate on a daily basis. Yes we have some talent, and yes we had some fantastic wins over legitimate opponents, but the attitude and camaraderie that they demonstrate on a daily basis are what motivates me. I am excited each and every day I get to work with them and I am trying to just enjoy the moment before the season ends. I believe that this group has further improved the culture of Byram Hills football and these graduating seniors will still be very much a part of our future success.” The culture of Byram Hills Football certainly reached peaks this year. Byram’s first ever home game under the lights really helped to transcend fan spirit.
Much of the credit for the team’s success is due to the senior captains. Captains Daniel Vataj, Joe Saglimbeni, Jack Kenny, and Nick Scaglione have been great role models for the rather young team. Byram’s other stars include running back Matt Weiler, Steven Franco, and Dominic and Cole Picca – all of whom will be returning next year. When asking players about their thoughts on their team’s overall performance, Ryan Abatemarco commented, “I would say our season was a pretty good one. Although we faced some tough opponents and did not come out with a playoff win, we really came together as a team and played well in some big moments.”
Byram has played some of the best teams Section 1 football has to offer including Rye, Harrison, Sleepy Hollow, Fox Lane, and Eastchester. The team’s win over Harrison really caught the attention of all of Section 1 football. Matt Weiler was awarded the coveted “LoHud Player of the Week” award after this game in which they won 28-7. This game also extended their win streak to four games, which is quite an impressive feat considering the strength of their opponents. These wins included a 27-0 shutout against Eastchester, and two other major wins against Sleepy Hollow (42-13) and Fox Lane (34-17).
Byram has a winning record in their league at 4-3, but a loss to a tough Spring Valley team has knocked them out of contention to win a Section 1 championship. Byram also lost a heartbreaking game to Yorktown, making their overall record 4-4, with one more bowl game left to play.
There is a lot of hope for the young Byram team who has many rising underclassmen expected to add a lot of depth to the team next year. The emergence of running back Matt Weiler contributed a lot to the team’s success. The player of the week winner still has two more seasons left with the Bobcats. Dominic and Cole Picca are also returning for their final ride with the Bobcats. Among these returning players are many other sophomores including Ryan Abatemarco, Jack Tillinger, Steven Franco, Eli Ratzan, and Julian Carnevale. Hayden Fruhling, who filled in for starting quarterback Jack Kenny in the Spring Valley game has also looked very promising.
Byram Hills football can only get better in the next few years. This season has exemplified great achievements and even greater promises for what the future has to hold. Be sure to come out and support Byram Hills Football one last time these season as they as they look to win their final game tonight!