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Falcons

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Senior running back Chris Rosati rushes away with four touchdowns in team's 24th win in two seasons

By Joe Galotti

Most young men who decide to put on a helmet and pads and play high school football never get to experience the joy of winning a class championship or putting together a perfect season. On Friday afternoon, at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, the Shoreham-Wading River football team had the rare opportunity to reach both of those achievements for a second straight season, and did not let it go to waste.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 28-point first-half lead over Locust Valley, helping them come away with a 35-7 victory in the Long Island Class IV Championship game. Senior running back Chris Rosati led the way with four rushing touchdowns, and the team’s eye-popping winning streak was extended to 24 games.

“(Going undefeated twice) is very special,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Matt Millheiser said. “It really was something I wanted them to achieve and carry with them, and they did that today.”

After the victory, Rosati admitted that the team felt pressure all season long trying to repeat last fall’s undefeated campaign.

“Every team was looking to beat us,” Rosati said. “We got everyone’s best game, but we just really fought hard against every team we faced.”

If the Wildcats were at all nervous on Friday, they did not show it, as they jumped all over the Falcons early on, putting up two quick scores on the team that had entered the contest allowing the fewest points on Long Island this year.

Rosati got Shoreham-Wading River on the board when he capped off the team’s opening drive by taking a pitch to the right side 26 yards for a touchdown. On the Wildcats next drive, Rosati delivered a two-yard rushing touchdown, which was set up by a 31-yard run by senior wideout Jon Constant.

Early in the second quarter, Rosati drove his way into the end zone once again, this time, on a 1-yard rush.

“Chris is amazing,” senior guard Dalten Stalzer said. “Just watching him play every week; it’s crazy. Some of the things he does and the tackles he breaks, it makes us look good.”

With 1:24 remaining before the half, senior quarterback Jason Curran put the game out of reach with a six-yard touchdown pass to Constant.

Shoreham-Wading River was extremely effective on the ground in the game, with Rosati rushing for 110 yards, Curran rushing for 91 yards and Constant rushing for 90 yards. Much of this was made possible by a dominant performance from the team’s offensive line.

“We knew what we needed to do to execute,” Constant said. “But [our success] all starts with our line’s performance.”

The Wildcats’ defense also put up a strong effort, forcing three interceptions and not giving up a score until the fourth quarter. Constant was responsible for two of the picks, while Rosati had the other.

With another perfect season in the books, Shoreham-Wading River is arguably in the midst of one of the best runs in Long Island high school football history. But Millheiser says that the key to the Wildcats’ success has been not getting caught up in any of the streaks or stats.

“We were more concerned about doing our jobs and doing the right thing,” Millheiser said. “When you focus on those things the fun numbers like 24-0 seem to come with it.”

During Shoreham-Wading River’s postgame team photo with its championship trophy, the team once again got the opportunity to honor the memory of their former teammate Tom Cutinella, who died as a result of an on-field collision in a 2014 game. Senior lineman James Puckey held up Cutinella’s No. 54 jersey for the group shot, making it clear that he was still very much a part of the Wildcats team.

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Elijah Riley scores three times, Denzel Williams scores twice in the Wolverines' 54-6 victory

Newfield senior quarterback Ryan Klemm cuts up the middle following blocker Isaiah Israel, a junior linebacker, in the Wolverines' 54-6 Division II qualifying round win over Deer Park on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Earning the No. 1 seed in Division II after finishing the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record, the Newfield football team hosted No. 8 Deer Park in the qualifying round of playoffs Friday, where the Wolverines ended the Falcons’ season with a 54-6 blowout to advance to the next round.

Newfield senior defensive lineman Dylan Ferrari sacks the Deer Park quarterback in the Wolverines' 54-6 Division II qualifying round win over Deer Park on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield senior defensive lineman Dylan Ferrari sacks the Deer Park quarterback in the Wolverines’ 54-6 Division II qualifying round win over Deer Park on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon

Newfield edged closer to a score when junior linebacker Isaiah Israel recovered a Deer Park fumble, putting the Wolverines deep into Falcons territory. On the next play from scrimmage, Newfield senior quarterback Ryan Klemm tossed the ball to classmate Elijah Riley, a wide receiver, who cut up the field and flew into the end zone. On a bad snap, the point-after attempt failed and the Wolverines settled for a 6-0 lead.

The Falcons struggled to move the chains and went for the down on fourth-and-15, but didn’t come close, as the Wolverines took over on downs. On the next play, Klemm dropped back and threw deep down the left sideline to senior wide receiver Jelani Greene, who caught the ball in stride and strolled into the end zone untouched. With a successful two-point conversion, Newfield extended its lead, 14-0.

Greene said his team prepared for the playoff game like any other.

“We came out and did what we usually do — what we had to do,” Greene said. ”In practice, just like all season, we have the same mindset that we come out and put points on the board, and at the same time prevent them from putting points on the board.”

Unable to mount much of an offensive effort, Deer Park handed the ball back to Newfield and the team got back to work. This time, Klemm took matters into his own hands as he followed his blockers up the middle of the field, broke free from the crowd and found the end zone for six more points. With the point after, the Wolverines surged ahead, 21-0, with a minute left in the first quarter.

“We went about [tonight’s game] like we did for the first eight games,” Klemm said. “It was the next game up so we did the same thing we do every other week.”

Newfield senior tailback Denzel Williams runs down the sideline for the score in the Wolverines' 54-6 Division II qualifying round win over Deer Park on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield senior tailback Denzel Williams runs down the sideline for the score in the Wolverines’ 54-6 Division II qualifying round win over Deer Park on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon

Deer Park threatened on the opening drive of the second quarter, choosing to go for it on fourth down, but Newfield’s swarming defense stood tall with a big stop and again the offensive unit got down to business. With just over six minutes left in the half, senior tailback Denzel Williams got the call on a pitchout from Klemm. Williams, a sprinter for the Middle Country track team, took off like it was the 100-yard dash and no defender came close. With the point after successful, the Wolverines jumped out in front 28-0.

Williams said he knew his team was up for the task heading into the game.

“We gave it our all, but we know that any team can beat us, so we stay humble,” Williams said. “We just do what we do from here on out and our goal is the championship.”

Deer Park halted the Newfield scoring fest on the ensuing kickoff, where the team narrowly escaped a diving defender and stumbled into the end zone to break the ice.

“They’re an aggressive team and they come after you,” Newfield head coach Joe Piccininni said. “They’re tough kids, and they don’t stop.”

Deer Park lined up for the two-point conversion, but again the Wolverines’ defensive unit said “no,” and the Falcons trailed 28-6.

Klemm and Riley hooked up again for the next score, but this time, Riley cut to the outside on a pass play, where he went the distance for his second touchdown of the night.

“Everybody did a fantastic job,” Riley said. “The defensive line did a great job of getting [Deer Park’s] quarterback and our linebackers did an even better job filling [the holes]. We had good secondary pressure coming from the outside.”

The point-after attempt missed, and Newfield pressed ahead 34-6.

Newfield senior wide receiver Elijah Riley goes the distance for the touchdown, one of his three in the game, to help the Wolverines outscoer Deer Park 54-6 in the qualifying round of the Division II playoffs on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield senior wide receiver Elijah Riley goes the distance for the touchdown, one of his three in the game, to help the Wolverines outscore Deer Park 54-6 in the qualifying round of the Division II playoffs on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon

Deer Park was unable to find the scoreboard again, and before Newfield flushed its bench, Williams looked for a hole up the middle, and finding nothing, broke to the outside and again did what he does best, sprinting ahead to leave would-be tacklers in his dust as he made his way into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. With the extra point good, the Wolverines took a 41-6 advantage into the halftime break.

On the first play from scrimmage, Riley helped put the game out of reach when he bolted down the left sideline, leaving Deer Park defenders behind as he broke into the end zone for his third touchdown of the contest. The Newfield avalanche was on, and after Piccininni swapped in his bench players, junior quarterback Joe Reyes took over under center, and pitched the ball to the junior running back Maximillion Mastroianni, who stayed half a step ahead of three would-be Deer Park defenders, and outran the pack to find the end zone to add salt to the Falcons’ wounds. Newfield lined up for what looked like a two-point conversion, but took a knee to arrest the scoring fest ahead 54-6.

With the win, Newfield advances to the next round where the team will host No. 4 North Babylon on Saturday at 1 p.m., in their quest for the Suffolk County championship.

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Comsewogue's Sarah McKoy and Seaver Lipshie double-team a Deer Park player on the way to the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Comsewogue hammered out a 17-7 victory on Monday in a girls’ lacrosse matchup against Deer Park, dominating the home team and scoring seven unanswered goals in a nine-minute span alone.

Hannah Dorney, a Comsewogue midfielder, crosses into Deer Park's zone on her way to a double hat trick and the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Hannah Dorney, a Comsewogue midfielder, crosses into Deer Park’s zone on her way to a double hat trick and the Warriors’ 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With the win, the Warriors improved to 9-3 overall, with an 8-3 mark in Division II.

Comsewogue midfielder Jamie Fischer, a sophomore, won the opening draw and with the game not even two minutes old, freshman midfielder Hannah Dorney fired a shot straight up the center for the first goal. Minutes later, Dorney did it again. The score 2-1 after a Deer Park goal, the Warriors regained possession off a Deer Park save and senior attack Haley Lochren’s shot hit its mark.

Dorney bounced another shot in halfway through the first for a hat trick, then made it 5-1 with an over-the-shoulder shot into the left side of the goal before Deer Park managed to get on the scoreboard again. The Falcons scored again with 10:10 left in the half to bring it to 5-3.

Comsewogue rotated midfielders at the draw and continued to win the ball, keeping it away from the competition. Dorney scored her fifth goal of the game at 9:19, blazing the trail for the team to light up the scoreboard six more times, ending with a Fischer buzzer-beater.

Jamie Fischer, a Comsewogue midfielder, collides with a Deer Park player on the first draw of a game the Warriors' won 17-7 on April 27. Fischer scored a hat trick in the match. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Jamie Fischer, a Comsewogue midfielder, collides with a Deer Park player on the first draw of a game the Warriors’ won 17-7 on April 27. Fischer scored a hat trick in the match. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Today we definitely did great on the draw,” Fischer said. “I think that’s so important because we definitely need to keep possession.”

Lochren opened the second half with two straight goals, the first assisted by sophomore Julia Tuohy. After a Deer Park goal brought the score to 14-4, Tuohy scored a goal of her own off a play that began with Fischer winning the draw and carrying it down the field. Fischer passed to senior midfielder Seaver Lipshie at centerfield, who lobbed the ball over to Tuohy. The sophomore stuffed it into the left side of the goal.

The teams got shots past the keepers a few more times, to give the game its final 17-7 score.

Dorney finished the game with six goals and an assist; Lochren and Fischer each added a hat trick; and Tuohy tacked on two goals and four assists. The win was a team effort, with three other players adding a goal apiece and three more finishing with an assist.

Comsewogue's Julia Tuohy carries the ball into Deer Park's zone on the road to the Warriors' 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Comsewogue’s Julia Tuohy carries the ball into Deer Park’s zone on the road to the Warriors’ 17-7 win on April 27. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We have a lot of strong players,” Fischer said. “It’s not just one player, two players; we’re a team and we all work well together and we’re all strong together.”

The sophomore said the girls are “becoming less selfish.”

Comsewogue head coach James Fernandes agreed his team has a nice balance on offense and defense in terms of skill sets, and with a handful of underclassmen on the roster, he’s hoping their help will put the Warriors in a good position to make the playoffs.

“We have a very coachable group — the girls have done a great job and we’re building every week,” he said. “The younger girls are like sparkplugs for us. They do everything; they’re all over the place and it’s awesome. We have a seventh-grader out there and the girls, they thrive off her. When she makes a play, they love it.”

The team has three games left. First, the Warriors will travel to Shoreham-Wading River Friday for a game at 4 p.m., then will finish up the season hosting Islip and Miller Place. Fernandes said the team needs to win two out of the three, and Fischer thinks her team has what it takes.

“Our record is so much better than last year,” she said of the team’s 4-10 overall record last season. “We hope we’ll get into playoffs and I think we will.”

While Dorney thinks the team started off the season a little shaky, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by an average of almost 10 goals in the last three games, and will use that momentum to propel them into the end of the league schedule.

“Now, we realize that we’re good enough to hang with the teams that are usually at the top,” Dorney said. “It’s a good win to come up with, and now we have a big game Friday that we have to get ready for, and I think that we’ll come together.”