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Woodlands, Irvington In Pivotal Football Test

HARTSDALE, N.Y. -- The Woodlands High School football team opened its 2012 season with a resounding 40-32 victory versus powerhouse Bronxville last week and the Falcons are hoping to build on that win against Irvington Saturday in their home opener.

Irvington, which is coming off a heart-breaking 42-41 four-overtime loss to Edgemont on opening day, had a renewal of its own last fall under first-year coach Mike Oliva. The new coach led the Bulldogs to a 7-2 season and a Section 1 Class C playoff berth, where they lost to Our Lady of Lourdes.

The Falcons' resurgence last year under first-year coach Mike Meade peaked with a Section 1 Class C semifinal loss to eventual state champion Dobbs Ferry in a driving snow storm. The Falcons went 7-2 in 2011 after six losing seasons in seven years dating back to 2004. They return a strong group of players, led by quarterback Justin Riccio.

In Woodland Hills' win, Riccio completed an astounding 14 of 18 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for another 42 yards and a score. Riccio's prime target was Dylan Eddy, who caught four balls for 111 yards and a touchdown. Ron Richards had eight receptions for 83 yards and two scores.

Eric Palese, Anthony DiNardo and John Cofre key the Bulldogs defense, which will have to rebound from last week's grueling loss to stop a potent Woodlands' offense. Senior fullback Hunter Gizzi is a big contributor on offense and in the defensive secondary. Dillon Darrigo, who missed the second half of 2011 with an injury, returns at quarterback and Shoran Tamura is the top receiver.

This game should be another offensive show with both teams moving the ball. Woodlands has a big win and momentum on its side, while the Bulldogs need a win to remain in the playoff hunt.

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