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Irvington Honors 1986 Championship Football Team

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Robert Conklin remembers the 1986 Irvington football season as if it were yesterday.

That season, Conklin and his teammates made Irvington history, going 10-0, winning a Section 1 bowl championship and stamping themselves as one of the greatest teams in Section 1 football history.

Irvington honored the 1986 team, Saturday night, at Homecoming as the current Bulldogs defeated Riverside, 45-0.

Current Irvington assistant coaches Bebe Gonzalez and Mike Toolan were among the group celebrated. Joining Gonzalez, Conklin and Toolan were Donald Gheen, Dan Talbot, Dan and Sean Brady, Tim Roy, Tim Brennan, Andrew Zinsman, Alberta Minota, Rob Treistman and John Rabin. The coaching staff, led by then head coach Bill Dyer, and former athletic director Phil DiRuocco were also honored.

“It was amazing experience,” said Conklin, who shared the ceremony with his son, Riley, 12, and daughter, Abigail, 9. “It’s very difficult to run the table in any sport in any season. And it’s tough coming in and playing your best every game. We were able to win games when maybe we did not play our best.”

Irvington outscored its opposition that year, 354-54. The Bulldogs also ended Dobbs Ferry’s 10-year home undefeated streak. Irvington polished off Pawling in the bowl game at Mount Vernon’s Memorial Stadium.

“Dobbs Ferry had a very good team that season,” said Conklin, who scored 29 touchdowns. “We had taken the SATs that morning and we were a little sluggish. Dobbs Ferry went ahead, 7-0, but coach Dyer got us refocused.”

Gonzalez pointed out that Irvington’s win over Bronxville, prior to the bowl game, was outstanding.“Both teams were undefeated and the game was tied,” Gonzalez said. “We won it in the last 10 seconds when Rob (Conklin) threw a touchdown pass to Tim (Roy).”

The team still remains close with many living in the area. Conklin lives in Tarrytown and his children attend Irvington schools. He also works Dan Brady. Gonzalez and Toolan are on the sidelines in practice and games, still showing the passion and desire they had during their playing days.

The 1986 team was celebrated with a luncheon where the players got to meet first-year Irvington coach Mike Oliva and the team. He and his teammates feel Oliva is an excellent fit.

“We are very impressed with him,” Conklin said.

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