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Center Moriches

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Vin Miceli wrestled to a crucial win against Center Moriches to help Port Jefferson claim its first league title in six years. File photo

By Desirée Keegan

Panic could have set in for Port Jefferson, but its wrestlers remained calm under pressure.

With sole possession of the League VIII title on the line in a 24-24 meet against Center Moriches Jan. 9, the core of the Royals lineup came through, as it always has, to help Port Jefferson to a 41-34 away victory and first conference crown since 2012.

“It was an awesome feeling being able to win the league title, and seeing how excited my team and coaches are to achieve this,” 132-pounder Vin Miceli said. “I think we wrestled tough, but there were some matches where we could use some work.”

At 126 pounds, senior Robbie Williams sparked the turnaround. He had lost to his Center Moriches opponent, Dustin Dunkirk, twice before in close matches, and Port Jefferson head coach Mike Maletta said he thought maybe psychologically Williams felt he couldn’t beat him. The coach said he considered matching his grappler up against someone else, but at a tournament in New Rochelle, where Williams went 2-2 and was one match away from placing, Maletta saw him wrestle through adversity.

Rick D’Elia wrestled to a crucial win against Center Moriches to help Port Jefferson claim its first league title in six years. File photo

“When he was coming off the mat I said, ‘You did a good job today,’ and he said, ‘No, coach, if I did a good job today I’d be placing,’” Maletta said of the conversation between he and Williams Jan. 6. “My mentality changed, and I told him he’s going to face his opponent head-to-head.”

Williams started off 2-0, scoring back points early, and earned three more on a near pin to end the scoring for the first period. He score two more points with 44 seconds left in the third to go up 7-0, before surrendering a point when letting his opponent loose with the hope of taking him down again for a major decision, which he couldn’t get before time expired.

“He ended up a takedown away from bonus points,” Maletta said. “That’s not only flipping the score, that’s making a statement — and he’s wrestling up a weight class because he’s really a 120-pounder. He’s wrestling well at the right time, and I felt pretty confident where we were going to go from there.”

Miceli, who is undefeated, and 19-3 Joe Evangelista followed up Williams and backed up the head coach’s confidence.

The five-year grapplers took to the circle with Miceli also coming away with a 5-0 lead heading into the second period of his match. At 1:06, he got two takedown points and worked for a cradle, but couldn’t complete it, though grabbing three points for his effort and a 10-0 lead going into the final two minutes. He earned two back points to start the third, and let his opponent loose to try to get the pin or a final takedown for a technical fall. At the buzzer, he cradled his opponent once following his fourth takedown to earn the 17-1 major decision.

“I felt I didn’t wrestle to my full potential during my match, and realize there is still more I need to improve on,” Miceli said. “I felt worried and frustrated at first that I was not able to get those bonus points, but I knew my teammates after me would give their opponents a good fight.”

Joe Evangelista wrestled to a crucial win against Center Moriches to help Port Jefferson claim its first league title in six years. File photo

Ryan Robertson, a 138-pounder, went up against a Top 8 state wrestler in Donald Wood and was pinned at the 1:21 mark to help Center Moriches close within five points overall, 35-30, but the 145-pound Evangelista pinned his opponent in 4:06 to seal the deal.

“He does what is expected of him, he pins his guy and the match is out of Center Moriches’ hands,” Maletta said. “It’s great — it’s kind of tough to celebrate on a Monday, but they’re true wrestlers anyway because they’re right back at it ready to get to practice tomorrow and fix their mistakes.”

Conrad Sund and brothers Anthony and Rick D’Elia came away with pins for Port Jefferson. Harry Cona and Brendan Rogers earned one-point victories, 1-0 and 4-3. Maletta said it was those matches that meant all the difference in the win.

“If either one of those went the other way we wouldn’t have won the title,” Maletta said. “They all came to wrestle; they all showed up to compete, which was great to see. The coaching is done at this point and they have to respond to situations, and they did.”

Chris Lepore, a senior who battled his challenger to a 2-0 finish for the second win of the night, said he sees things only escalating for Port Jefferson from this point.

“I’m loving where we’re going,” he said. “Getting a league title [in] my senior year is special, and we’ve all been working hard to get there, but what makes us so successful is we don’t focus on the bigger picture. We psyche ourselves up to win our match, push ourselves to the limit and put ourselves in the best position to support our team.”

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Vin Miceli sizes up his opponent this past season. Photo from Mike Maletta

For the first time in five years Mattituck lost a wrestling met.

Port Jefferson handed the Tuckers their first loss in five years, 37-32, at an away meet Dec. 22. Port Jefferson also topped Mattituck its last loss five years ago, according to head coach Mike Maletta.

Matt Murphy won a 7-0 decision over David Jenkins in the deciding match at 170 pounds. Anthony D’Elia picked up a key 9-3 win over Sean Feeney at 99 pounds for the Royals, and Jack Niederburger won 1-0 at 195 pounds.

“The kids felt great about it, I felt great about it,” Maletta said. “We fought well.”

He said his athletes felt even better when he said he’d cancel practice the next two days before holiday break.

“I told them on the bus ride home,” he said. “I think they were more excited because I gave them the next few days off from practice.”

At the next tournament at West Islip, the Royals took second out of 11 teams.

“We fell short of matching Brentwood, but it’s 20 times the size of our school,” Maletta said. “I’m proud of how we did.”

Port Jefferson’s 138-pounder Vin Miceli claimed his fourth straight West Islip tournament win, and Joey Evangelista was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler for being the other Port Jefferson grappler to place first after coming in second the last couple years.

“The success I’ve had so far has really proven that all the extra hard work and long hours I put into this sport is what separates me from champion and runner-up,” Miceli said. “I have the same mentality going into every tournament or match, no matter who I am wrestling, that I am predator and not the prey.”

Other key seniors this season have been Chris Lepore at 182 pounds, Joe Longo at 160 and Robbie Williams at 120, according to the head coach.

“Chris Lepore is a senior that’s been very important to us,” Maletta said. “Robbie Williams does a lot of extra work.”

Port Jefferson hosted Babylon Jan. 3, but results were not available by press time. The Royals will face Center Moriches on the road Jan. 5 in a league title-deciding meet currently scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

“I feel very confident that we can beat Center Moriches,” Miceli said. “The way we train and the knowledge we have in our coaching staff really helps prepare us for a time like this.”

Mattituck beat Center Moriches, so if Port Jefferson wins, they’ll win the league title for the first time since 2012.

“You get nostalgic,” Maletta said. “I’ve coached Vin and Joey since they were eighth-graders, half of my time coaching here, and it’s been great to see them become young men. I only wish for good things for all of these guys. We have a lot more wrestling to go, and the countdown is on.”

Katlyn Lindahl, above left, and Jillian Dinowitz, above right, were honored for saving the life of Ryan Magill, at center, who was critically injured when he fell off a boat while giving sailing lessons. Photo from Jillian Dinowitz

A senior at Shoreham-Wading River High School was recently recognized as a hero for helping to save the life of her best friend over the summer.

Jillian Dinowitz snapped into action when she heard Ryan Magill screaming.

It was Aug. 9 and Dinowitz, 17, was in a powerboat on Moriches Bay giving sailing lessons to kids, ages 8 to 12, as an instructor at the Moriches Yacht Club. Her lifelong friend Magill, 17, who was instructing kids in another boat, had fallen overboard and was wailing and thrashing in red water. His left arm and pectoral region had been severely cut by the boat’s propeller.

Jillian Dinowitz, on left with Ryan Magill, are best friends and avid boaters since age 7. Photo from Jillian Dinowitz

Dinowitz, joined by another friend and instructor, rushed over to Magill, pulled him out of the water by his life jacket and got to work. As the boat sped back to shore and emergency services were called,  Dinowitz focused on keeping her friend calm and awake while Katlyn Lindahl, 18, made a tourniquet out of a towel and T-shirt. Dinowitz and Lindahl pressed it tightly against his blood-soaked arm.

“I honestly don’t know how I did it — it’s kind of a blur,” said Dinowitz, who admitted to feeling queasy at the sight of blood. “I would’ve done this for anybody in the water but just seeing that it was somebody so close to me, I kind of held myself together and just tried to stay strong for him. He’s the one that needed help at the time.”

Lindahl said while the two of them have had first aid training, their actions were entirely based on instinct.

“This was definitely a fight or flight thing,” she said. “There was no time at all really to think about what to do.”

Once back on land, Magill, a senior at Center Moriches High School, was emergency airlifted off the property to Stony Brook University Hospital. There, he underwent major surgeries. The doctors had to take a nerve out of his leg and transplant it into the damaged part of his shoulder.

They told him that if the girls hadn’t acted as quickly and effectively as they did, there was a good chance he could’ve died from blood loss or, at best, lost his arm.

“The difference they made was the difference between me being here and me not being here,” said Magill, who has since been slowly but steadily on the road to recovery. While he has trouble with menial tasks like tying his shoes and must wear a brace, he said he’s regained 50 percent of movement back in his arm and shoulder. “I’m doing very well, actually, and it’s thanks to Jillian and Katlyn. They literally saved my life and I’m in debt to them forever.”

His mother, Heather Magill, said her son has been incredibly positive throughout the entire experience and can be seen smiling every day no matter how tough things are.

“We’re in awe of him,” she said.

“After the accident, when we went to visit him in the recovery room, he said to my husband and me, ‘I love you guys … I need you to get me my phone, I have to call Jillian and Katlyn and tell them thank you for saving my life.’”

— Heather Magill

Magill’s and Dinowitz’s mothers, who have been best friends since high school, said the two teens have been inseparable since they were born. They joined the yacht club together when they were 7.

“I know in my heart there’s not a thing [Jillian] wouldn’t do for him in this whole world,”Heather Magill said. “It’s a testament to their friendship. We love her like family. After the accident, when we went to visit him in the recovery room, he said to my husband and me, ‘I love you guys … I need you to get me my phone, I have to call Jillian and Katlyn and tell them thank you for saving my life.’”

But for Jillian Dinowitz, it’s all about Ryan Magill getting back to his old self.

“When I visited him the day after the accident, it really hit me that something really serious happened, but it turned out okay and things are going to be better from there,” she said. “It’s amazing that he’s never gotten down about himself through all of this and has always been positive and willing to work hard to be where he was before the accident. It’s so inspiring.”

Nearly four months after the incident, on Nov. 28, the Shoreham-Wading River board of education honored Dinowitz, an Advanced Placement student and member of the school’s varsity tennis team, for her heroism, dedication and courage. As it happened in Center Moriches, Dinowitz said nobody at the school really knew about the incident, but it felt good to be recognized.

“Our true character often shines the brightest when we’re thrust into challenging circumstances,” high school Principal Frank Pugliese said of Dinowitz. “When that happened to Jillian this past summer, she rose to the occasion and helped to save a young man’s life. The entire Shoreham-Wading River community is so incredibly proud of her for her quick thinking and brave actions.”

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Chris Parker pushes past the blocker. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Northport’s boys’ volleyball team (now 8-2 League 1) limited visiting Center Moriches (now 4-7) to just 33 total points in the Tigers’ sweep Oct. 18, 25-10, 25-9, 25-14.

From the opening serve, Northport overwhelmingly dominated the net, blocking shot after shot and serving strongly, limiting the Red Devils to 10 points in the first set.

Northport head coach Amanda DiPietro rested her starters for the second set, but it only got worse for Center Moriches, as the bench demonstrated the team’s depth. The Tigers broke out to an 11-3 lead before Center Moriches scored again.

Sam Maritato tallies a kill. Photo by Bill Landon
Sam Maritato tallies a kill. Photo by Bill Landon

“I felt confident that if I put my subs in, they could get the job done,” DiPietro said. “They came out with a lot of energy, and we just played our game and we felt confident on our side [of the net].”

The margin grew to 18-5 before Center Moriches called timeout, but the conference didn’t help. The Tigers allowed just four more points before putting away the set.

“We wanted to let everybody get a chance to play,” senior middle hitter Jamie O’Donnell said. “It was a smart decision by the coaches to do that. We didn’t have many unforced errors either, so we did well to keep that under control.”

Northport fell behind 4-1 early in the third set, but switched gears, forgoing the power serves for aces by playing it safe and just putting the ball in play. Center Moriches grew tired and began making mental mistakes, which proved costly as the Tigers clawed their way to tie, and eventually take an 8-6 lead.

“Our job today was to just get the ball over the net, put the ball in play and let them make their own errors,” senior outside hitter Chris Parker said. “We served almost every ball inbounds, which was important.”

None of the starters had seen action since the first set, except for team captain Jeremy Rescott, a senior setter who directed his band of nonstarters to keep the ball in play, and let their opponent beat themselves.

“Our strategy was to keep our serves in and cut down on as many errors,” Rescott said. “We knew this was a team we could play conservatively [if we played mistake free].”

Jeremy Rescott slams home a spike. Photo by Bill Landon
Jeremy Rescott slams home a spike. Photo by Bill Landon

Senior right side hitter Sam Maritato finished the job for Northport by blasting an unexpected service ace to take the third set, 25-14, to win in straight sets.

Rescott led his team with six kills, Parker added five and O’Donnell finished with four. Junior setter Ben Sandt led his team in assists, with 14.

“I think our libero Andrew Roniger is one of the most underrated players — he’s so confident and although he’s quiet he really takes charge on the court,” DiPietro said of the way the senior played throughout the match. “I’m always impressed with my captains Jeremy Rescott, Chris Parker and Jamie O’Donnell, too, they’re just leaders on and off the court. But still, when you take them out, we have other guys that step up.”

Northport has four games remaining in the regular season, two of which will be critical for playoff seeding. The Tigers faced Smithtown West (7-2) Oct. 19, but results were not available by press time. Northport will meet West Islip Oct. 24, before taking on undefeated Sachem North on Oct. 26 at home 5:45 p.m. Then comes Half Hollow Hills Oct. 31.

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Hail the homecoming kings.

The Port Jefferson football team outscored Center Moriches 36-20 Oct. 8 to put a wet and wild homecoming victory into the record books.

Port Jefferson wide receiver Brian Mark started the scoring in the opening quarter when he caught a 46-yard pass from quarterback Jack Collins for the early lead. The Royals failed to make the 2-point conversion, and Center Moriches tied the score on a three-yard run after the extra-point kick attempt failed. Port Jefferson running back Joey Evangelisa rushed home a two-yard touchdown to re-extend the lead shortly after. The Royals again failed to make the two-point conversion, leaving the score 12-6 entering the second quarter.

Center Moriches scored first in the second stanza, with a touchdown on a 43-yard pass, but the two-point conversion failed. Again, the two teams were tied, this time 12-12. Wide receiver Thomas Mark, Brian’s brother, caught a 57-yard throw from Collins, and Evangelista’s run for a good two-point conversion put Port Jefferson out front 20-12.

Collins continued his strong showing when he rushed seven yards into the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter. He completed another two-point conversion pass to bring the score to 28-12. While the Royals held Center Moriches scoreless in the third quarter, Thomas Mark got back to work, and caught a 10-yard pass for his second touchdown of the day. Evangelista rushed into the end zone to complete his third two-point conversion in the homecoming game.

Center Moriches caught a 57-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but the Red Devils couldn’t mount a comeback.

Thomas Mark had 67 receiving yards and 24 rushing yards. Evangelista rushed for 201 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Collins was 3-for-7 passing for 113 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 40 yards on seven attempts with a touchdown. Brian Mark made two interceptions.

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Grace Swords flies over the Center Moriches goalkeeper after taking a shot. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

It seems nothing can stop Jillian Colucci.

The Port Jefferson girls’ soccer team’s senior forward was double-teamed most of the way, but continued to power past defenders, scoring four goals to lead the Royals to a 6-2 win over Center Moriches Sept. 13.

Jillian Colucci fights for possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Jillian Colucci fights for possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

A 1-0 deficit didn’t stop the team either.

After senior forward Clare O’Connor’s throw-in reached classmate Brittany Fazin, the midfielder tapped the ball to Colucci, who raced ahead of the pack and knocked the ball into the left corner to tie the game. After she blocked a pass in the middle six minutes later, Colucci ran to the top of the box, where she tapped in another pass to give the Royals the lead. Her hat trick goal came minutes later, when after racing alongside Fazin, she took a pass at the 20-yard line, again beat out the defense and found the back of the net for a 3-1 advantage heading into the halftime break.

“They don’t give up,” Port Jefferson head coach Allyson Wolff said of her Royals. “We were down 1-0 and I think that sparked them to pull together and play like a team. It makes them play harder. That’s what I love to see.”

Fazin was next to light up the scoreboard. She extended the lead at the 33:46 mark by beating a double-team.

“I missed so many in the beginning, and it was scary, so when I saw Clare [O’Connor] had the ball, I made a run wide and knew it wasn’t going to me, so I took a step back and let the girl head the ball in front of me,” she said. “I looked for a space between the two defenders ahead of me, I settled it down, tapped it and looked right to the corner.”

Clare O’Connor dribbles downfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Clare O’Connor dribbles downfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Royals have a cohesive unit, thanks in large part to returning all but one senior from the 2015 roster. Their ground game and communication are what help the team shine.

Colucci said the team also shows poise, even in tough situations.

“In the past we’ve come back a lot during games,” she said. “We don’t let it get in our heads — even when the game got physical — we just do what we do, which is possess the ball, connect and communicate.”

Possessing the ball aided the Royals in wearing down the Red Devils.

“We passed it on the ground and kept playing back instead of going forward so much,” Fazin said. “We possessed and waited for the right moment to go forward, and that definitely tired out the other team.”

Mikayla Yannucci heads the ball out of Port Jefferson’s zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mikayla Yannucci heads the ball out of Port Jefferson’s zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Colucci scored her fourth goal of the game on a penalty kick. The Royals put away their sixth goal when they were awarded a corner kick and Katie Connolly was in front this time to make it 6-2.

With the win, Port Jefferson extended its winning streak to three games. The team travels to McGann-Mercy on Sept. 15 for a 4:30 p.m. matchup.

Wolff said she is pleased with what she has seen in her defending state-champions so far, and is looking forward to seeing what else the girls can do.

“This is probably one of our toughest opponents in the league and I thought that they played really well together; I’m proud of them,” Wolff said of her Class C team going up against a B team in Center Moriches. “The bond, the leadership — they all lead in their own way.”

Colucci said she is confident in her team’s ability to get the job done again this year.

“We’re building up our momentum with each game we play, and we’re getting better and better with communication and possession,” she said. “Our goal is to get back to states, so we’re just going to keep working hard.”

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Port Jefferson's Courtney Lewis, who scored a double-double off a game-high 32 points and 10 rebounds, goes up for a layup in the Royals' 55-31 win over Southold/Greenport on Jan. 25 to extend their winning streak to six games. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Behind Courtney Lewis’ double-double Monday night, the Port Jefferson girls’ basketball team kept the ball rolling with a 55-31 victory over Southold/Greenport to extend the Royals’ winning streak to six games.

Port Jefferson's Courtney Lewis reaches up to the board. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Courtney Lewis reaches up to the board. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Lewis recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assits.

“They’re starting to come together,” Port Jefferson head coach Ed Duddy said. “We started off slow in the beginning … [but] now I think everyone knows their role.”

Port Jefferson had trouble getting shots to fall until Lewis’ field goal at the 5:17 mark, which started the junior forward and guard’s 10-point tear in the first quarter.

“She’s a great captain,” junior point guard Jillian Colucci said of Lewis. “She boosts us all up and she’s so talented. Her scoring gets us all going and gets us working hard.”

Southold remained in the game by scoring seven points to Lewis’ 10, but Port Jefferson sophomore guard Annabelle Soucy nailed a three-pointer with 30.6 seconds left to extend the Royals’ lead.

Lewis tacked on a three-point play to start the second stanza and then added four more points while Colucci tacked on a three-pointer to put Port Jefferson up 23-20 at halftime.

But the Royals were just getting warmed up.

Port Jefferson's Annabelle Soucy drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Annabelle Soucy drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Our coach’s halftime speech motivated us to come out stronger in the second half,” Lewis said. “I think our teamwork and team chemistry was great. We had a lot of assists and connected our passes a lot, and our fast breaks were great today.”

Those fast breaks and assists helped the Royals jump out to a 43-25 lead by the end of the third, with Lewis scoring 11 of the team’s 20 points and Colucci adding six.

In the final quarter, the Royals limited Southold to just two points by the 2:22 mark, while scoring eight more of their own. Southold added a field goal and two free throws in the final minutes, but Lewis added two free throws of her own to finish 9-for-10 from the charity stripe on the evening, and Soucy completed the scoring with a layup.

Colucci finished with 11 points and eight rebounds to help Port Jefferson to a 7-1 record in League VII.

“It’s Courtney, it’s Jillian, it’s a little bit of everybody,” Duddy said. “Jillian had a terrific game today. She did everything a point guard has to do with great passes and great defense and assists, but Annabelle and Jackie Brown have been playing very well, too. They’re all part of the team, but I think they all feed off of Courtney, and when she gets double- or triple-teamed she can kick it out to her teammates and they get easy layups.”

Port Jefferson's Jillian Colucci crosses the ball into Southold/Greenport's zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Jillian Colucci crosses the ball into Southold/Greenport’s zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan

As the team moves forward with only one loss in its conference, Colucci said the Royals have their sights on the top spot in the league, where Mattituck currently sits at 10-1.

But the point guard said she’s confident in her team’s ability after the Royals edged out Mattituck, 53-52, back on Jan. 11.

“That was a really good booster for us,” Colucci said. “But since we’re a core group of juniors that have been playing together for so long, the teamwork that we’ve developed helps us most.”

Lewis said the team had a rough first half the season, starting it off with losses to Comsewogue, Mount Sinai and Pierson/Bridgehampton, but has come together to propel the Royals to their winning streak.

“This is my favorite sport and my favorite team,” Lewis said. “They’re all so great and we all help each other do better. We had a rough first half of the season but we picked it up and we took off. We don’t want to lose another game. We want to finish the season on a streak.”

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Shoreham-Wading River junior wide receiver Joe Miller dives for yardage in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River senior wide receiver Jon Constant drags tacklers up the field in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior wide receiver Jon Constant drags tacklers up the field in the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River hasn’t lost a football game since November 2013.

It was a second-round playoff game against Babylon, a team that had always derailed the Wildcats. But since last season, Shoreham’s new winning culture permeates every player who wears the blue and gold.

In eight games, Shoreham-Wading River has outscored its opponents 291-47. Saturday was no different, as the Wildcats defeated visiting Center Moriches, 42-13, for another perfect season and to win the League IV title for the second consecutive year.

Senior running back Chris Rosati has been the Wildcats’ powerhouse running back all season. He scored three touchdowns on the afternoon, but it might have been more if he had played the entire game.

Rosati’s first score came on the second play from scrimmage where he cut to the outside, turned up the field and went 59 yards into the end zone in a game that wasn’t even a minute old. Senior kicker Daniel Mahoney followed by doing what he’d done all season, splitting the uprights to give the Wildcats the early 7-0 lead.

Shoreham-Wading River found the end zone again six minutes later, when junior quarterback Kevin Cutinella threw to classmate Daniel Cassidy, a tight end, for six more points.

Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leaps up for the interception of Center Moriches’ Hail Mary pass during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leaps up for the interception of Center Moriches’ Hail Mary pass during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

“We prepare for every game like it’s the last game — we play with heavy hearts and we play as hard as we can for [Tom Cutinella],” Cassidy said, referring to his teammate who died last year after taking a hit in a game against Elwood. “And we don’t take any team lightly.”

With Mahoney’s kick, the Wildcats took a 14-0 lead with 4:07 left to play in the first quarter.

The Red Devils were unable to run the ball, but moved the chains on two consecutive pass plays. It was not enough — after the team failed to make a fourth-down conversion, the Wildcats took over in their own end.

Rosati answered the call again. After seeing that the running lanes inside were closed, he bounced it outside and raced by two defenders with alarming speed. He covered 71 yards and again entered the end zone untouched.

“We’ve kept the momentum from last year,” Rosati said. “We work at it in practice and we work on both sides of the ball. On offense, we try to grind it out on every play and our linemen work so hard and they open the holes. On defense, we just fly around. We try to hold them to as few yards as possible.”

With Mahoney perfect on the day, the Wildcats broke out to a 21-0 advantage to open the second quarter.

Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Chris Rosati pushes for more yards as he’s tackled by a Center Moriches player during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Chris Rosati pushes for more yards as he’s tackled by a Center Moriches player during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

Unable to move the chains, the Red Devils were forced to punt. With a long kick well down field, the Wildcats committed a rare miscue — after choosing not to field the kick, the ball bounced into a Shoreham-Wading River player and Center Moriches pounced on the live ball to recover its own punt.

Center Moriches senior quarterback Joe Martins connected with classmate Kyrin Taylor, a wide receiver, who made it to the 1-yard line for a first and goal. Senior running back Chris Iannelli finished it, but the extra-point attempt struck the left goal post, halting the score at 21-6.

On the Wildcats’ ensuing possession, Rosati struck again. This time the running back swept to his left, outran defenders and sped down the left sideline for his third touchdown of the afternoon. Again, Mahoney was money, and Shoreham-Wading River broke out to a 28-6 lead.

“Our goal is to shut out every team we play,” Rosati said.

Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Justin Squires makes a move during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Justin Squires makes a move during the Wildcats’ 42-13 win over Center Moriches to earn their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

The Red Devils had little success moving the ball again, and the Wildcats took over.

Senior wide receiver Jon Constant scored next on a reverse play, covering 40 yards for the score.

“The coach told us before the game to perform on each side of the ball,” he said. “Just shut out the [defense] and fly to the ball.”

With Mahoney’s foot, Shoreham-Wading River surged ahead, 35-6.

On their final possession of the first half, the Red Devils let the clock bleed off and called a timeout with two seconds left. Desperate for a score, Center Moriches dropped back and threw the Hail Mary deep down field, but Shoreham-Wading River senior cornerback Kyle Fehmel leapt up and grabbed the ball to end the half.

With both teams scoreless in the third quarter, senior running back Justin Squires lit up the scoreboard with 4:07 left in the game. On a handoff up the middle, Squires broke outside, found an open running lane and went 70 yards for the touchdown. With Mahoney’s chip shot, the Wildcats were out in front 42-6.

Center Moriches managed one more score with just under a minute left to close out the game, and with the extra-point good, it brought the final score to 42-13.

“I told the kids to just go out and finish — finish every play and let’s finish this season 8-0,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Matt Millheiser said. “And then we can get ready for the second season.”

The top-seeded Wildcats will face No. 8 McGann Mercy on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Miller Place High School, as the home team, as construction of the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field at Shoreham-Wading River nears completion.

The seniors of the Shoreham-Wading River football team pose for a photo after their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon
The seniors of the Shoreham-Wading River football team pose for a photo after their second consecutive undefeated season. Photo by Bill Landon

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