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Football

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Xavier Arline breaks free for one of his 4 touchdowns in a Shoreham Wading River rout of Seaford in the Long Island Championship game Nov. 30. Bill Landon photo

The Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River’s football team have been sprinting towards success for the past six years, and now this year’s Long Island Championship adds another tally to their streak.

SWR senior quarterback Xavier Arline did what he’s done all season long leading his team to victory where the Wildcats pummeled Seaford 49-7 in the D-IV championship game at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium Nov. 30.

Arline ran for four touchdowns in the game with carries of six yards, 54 yards, 64 yards and 67 yards, while throwing a pair of touchdown passes to tight-end Jake Wilson and senior running-back Mike Casazza. Seaford managed to find the end-zone with 29 seconds left as the Wildcats claimed their 4th Long Island Championship trophy in six years.

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Mount Sinai sophomore Joseph Spallina powers his way out of the back field against the Wildcats in the D-IV county finals at Stony Brook Nov. 24. Bill Landon photo

Shoreham-Wading River looked to avenge their only loss of the season back in week five to the Mustangs of Mount Sinai in the Suffolk County D-IV championship game Nov. 24. Avenge it they did, handing Mount Sinai their first and only loss of their season in a 35-14 victory at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium to punch their way into the Long Island Championship round.

Despite leading 14-13 with two minutes left in the opening half an unsportsmanlike penalty extinguished the Mustang drive, and it was all SWR in the 2nd half with Xavier Arline leading the way with 26 carries covering 195 yards.

It was the Wildcats fifth Suffolk County title, and the team will face Seaford Nov. 30 at Hofstra University at 12 p.m. for the Long Island crown.

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Quarterback Brandon Ventarola in traffic in the Mustangs semi-final playoff win against Babylon Nov. 15. Bill Landon photo

The No. 1 seeded Mustangs of Mount Sinai outran Babylon, the No. 4 seed, in the Division IV semi-final round overwhelming their opponent 28-6 to punch their ticked to the County Championship. Mount Sinai quarterback Brandon Ventarola led the way for the Mustangs with two rushing touchdowns and a 45-yard touchdown pass to Derek Takacs. Sophomore Joseph Spallina scored on short yardage to keep the Mustang’s undefeated record intact at 10-0.

The County Championship will be a rematch of week five where Mount Sinai will replay the No. 2 seeded Wildcats of Shoreham Wading River at Stony Brook University Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. Tickets at the gate are $10.00 or are available for $8.00 online here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

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It was all Xavier Arline for the Wildcats in the opening round of the playoffs where the senior quarterback scored four touchdowns and amassed 210 yards on 21 attempts. His and others led to a 54-6 thrashing of Center Moriches at home Nov. 8. Junior running-back David Tedesco carried six times for 45 yards with two touchdowns and Sean Miller covered 61 yards in eight attempts.

The win earns the Wildcats another home playoff game Nov. 15. Game time is 6 p.m. with a $10.00 admission at the gate or $7.00 online here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

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Trailing by 11, Ward Melville’s Steven Germain shifted the momentum for the Patriots with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the road followed by a 2-point conversion to trail 21-17 at the half against Patchogue-Medford.

Pat-Med came out firing in the third quarter and out-paced the Patriots to put the game away, 35-23, in the opening round of postseason play Nov. 9.

Ward Melville sophomore quarterback Chris Prussen opened the scoring on a short yardage touchdown. Tommy Dellaporta’s field goal found its mark from 39 yards, and senior wide receiver Travis Moehringer on a 19-yard pass play found the end zone for six.

The Patriots finished their season on the road with a 4-5 record as the No. 5 seed in Division I.

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Senior wide receiver Matt Robbert led the way for Centereach first on a 42-yard touchdown pass play from his younger brother Justin and then on a short yardage run for his second touchdown of the game in the Cougars’ regular season finale, at home against Half Hollow Hills East Nov. 1.

Robbert pulled double duty as the place-kicker and booted both extra points. Teammate Liam Webber on special teams recovered a blocked punt in the Hills East end zone to put his team out front, 20-0. Hills East broke the ice midway through the third quarter when they scored on a short run and with the point after, trailed 20-7.

The win lifts the Cougars to 5-3 in Division II which makes them No. 4 seed, earning a home playoff game against No. 5 Connetquot Nov. 8. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

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At 3-3 in their division, Comsewogue’s varsity football team needed a road win against East Islip when Jaden Martinez punched in from six yards out for a Warrior touch down on their opening drive in the final quarter, and with the point after tied the game at 7-7. With 10:49 left in regulation East Islip scored two unanswered touchdowns for which the Warriors had no answer, to win the game 21-7 in a Div. III matchup Oct. 26.

The loss drops Comsewogue to 3-4 forcing a must win game when the Warriors travel to Miller Place Nov. 1 in their final game of the regular season. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

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PJ Royals Win in Homecoming Blowout

Port Jefferson homecoming football game against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

The weekend of Oct. 4-6 was one of purple and Royals pride. Hundreds swarmed through Port Jefferson during the annual parade, and more gathered in the Joe Erland Field for fun and games, as the Village of Port Jefferson, Port Jefferson School District, Port Jefferson Free Library and local residents combined their efforts to put on a huge blowout celebration.

When it came to the game at 2 p.m. Oct. 5, it was a Royal’s rout when Greenport/Southold/Mattituck came calling and was blown out by Port Jefferson 62-0. From the opening kickoff it was all Port Jeff as wide receiver Aidan Kaminska proved unstoppable as the senior found the end zone three times, along with teammates Luke Verruto and Luke Filippi who each had a pair of touchdowns. Junior Alex Ledesma split the uprights eight times for the extra point.Senior quarterback Sam Florio, who was healthy after missing last week’s game against Mount Sinai, threw for over 250 yards with four TD passes in the Div. IV matchup.

The win lifts the Royals to 2-3 with three games remaining before the post season and are back in action with a road game against Elwood John Glenn Oct. 12. Kickoff is at 1:30pm.

Mount Sinai dominated their homecoming game through three quarters of play out scoring the visiting Royals 33-6 before Port Jeff rallied in the final quarter. Royals’ quarterback Luke Filippi (filling in for the injured Sam Florio) found senior Aidan Kaminska on a pair of short yardage pass plays for his 2nd and 3rd touchdown in the game where the senior set a Section XI record with 17 catches for 233 yards placing him 2nd in total receptions in a single game.

But despite Kaminska’s record the Royals fell to the Mustangs 39-20 Sept. 28.

Mount Sinai sophomore running back Joseph Spallina led the way with a16-yard run, a 23-yard pass reception and an 85-yard interception all finding the end-zone for the Mustangs. Senior quarterback Brandon Ventarola punched in from short yardage, while Matthew LoMonaco scored on a 14-yard pass play and Michael Trepeta found the end-zone on a 3-yard run.

Junior Alex Ledesma’s solid boot put up two PAT’s for the Royals in addition to Kaminska’s record making set of catches.

The win boosts the Mustangs to 4-0, tied with Shoreham Wading River in their division at the season’s halfway point.

The loss puts Port Jeff 1-3 in league. Their next game is set for Oct. 5 for homecoming weekend, where they expect to face Greenport at home with a 2 p.m. start time.

Mount Sinai looks to keep their perfect record intact when they hit the road Oct. 12 to face undefeated Shoreham-Wading River, for sole possession of first place in League IV. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.

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Village, school district, businesses and community come together for new homecoming celebration. Photo by Kyle Barr

“Always a Royal.”

That is how school district and village officials alike are calling present and past residents to attend this year’s homecoming celebration, shifting away from school-centered pride to exulting the whole of Port Jefferson.

The village and district are working hand in hand to create a celebration at Joe Erland Field near Caroline Avenue just west of Barnum Avenue. The celebration will include food, games and music from a DJ, and will take place in between the annual parade that flows down Main Street and the homecoming game set to take place Saturday, Oct. 5.

Port Jefferson homecoming floats make their way through the parade Oct. 21, 2017. File photo by Bill Landon

The change has come in response to district officials last year canceling the annual bonfire. As classic as it was, school district officials said the bonfire was unsafe and a redundant way of gathering school pride. They said it meant children wandering into nearby woods without supervision, adding their own internal pep rally did enough to promote school spirit.

Port Jeff Superintendent Paul Casciano said the bonfire could not continue as it had before, especially considering security and safety.

“We cannot guarantee that when children are dropped off at the high school for this particular night event, that they are in an environment that is safe and secure,” he said. “We are grateful for the conversations that have developed among community members, our board of education members and staff to come up with a carefully considered plan as we move forward.”

Not letting themselves get discouraged, community members looked to celebrate Port Jeff pride, and more than that, bridge the gap between school district, village, shops and community.

Jae Hartzell, a Port Jefferson resident and a local photographer, said many residents were upset the bonfire was canceled, calling it an old tradition. She started looking toward creating something new, perhaps even establishing a new tradition in itself. She and fellow resident Paul Braille have worked alongside school and village officials in crafting the new event.

“[This event] is a really enriching tradition and there’s a huge collaboration to increase school pride and school spirit that will continue for generations,” Hartzell said. “It’s all about creating traditions in the community — a way to stay rooted with your community.”

Along with several food trucks, the field will also be littered with games of Can Jam, Cornhole and giant Jenga, all provided through the Port Jefferson Free Library. There will also be face painting on behalf of the school art department.

Beyond the celebration at surrounding Caroline Avenue, the school district has connected with multiple businesses to emphasize school spirit and the community as a whole, including alumni. PJ Brewery is promoting live music by the band Damaged Goods, while throughout the weekend businesses will be promoting happy hour and brunch specials specifically for alumni. Prohibition Kitchen will also include Mayor Margot Garant as guest bartender Oct. 5. Participating restaurants include Nantuckets, Joey-Z, Prohibition Kitchen, Junior’s Spycoast, Billie’s 1890 Saloon and Old Fields Restaurant, just to name a few.

The Joe Erland Field will play host to an upcomming homecoming celebration. Photo by Kyle Barr

In the first meetings looking to create the new homecoming event, village trustee Kathianne Snaden was brought on board to give the village’s point of view. She said she immediately took to the idea. The village has put up the funds to pay for the food trucks, the DJ, physical and online promotions and has allowed the use of the field. Meanwhile, Port Jeff students will be creating a banner to go up along the football field at the high school, each letter being done by a different grade from Kindergarten through fifth grade, spelling “Royals.” The event, she said, has the possibility of doing much to bridge a gap between village and school district, one that has existed from each entity “doing their own thing.”

“When this came up, I said I wanted to take this up and make this work, because for the village this bridge has been broken for so long for whatever reason,” the trustee said.

“This is the best way to bring that back.”

School board Vice President Tracy Zamek said once the district established there would no longer be a bonfire at homecoming, the idea of bringing the community together in celebration, off school property and hosted by the village, immediately appealed to them. 

“We’re really excited about waking up the village and bringing the school and village together as one entity — as a tight-knit community,” Zamek said.

Those involved said they hope the new event will bring in more people for the annual homecoming game, which all said has had relatively little attendance for the past few years.

In regard to the food trucks, Snaden said the businesses were contacted first to see if they would be available to set up stalls, but according to the trustee none had the correct permits. Having them host specials throughout the weekend was a way in which they could contribute, she said, with Hartzell adding she hoped they may be able to get the permits to participate in the future. 

Festivities start Oct. 4 at the PJ Brewery with Damaged Goods playing at 7 p.m. The following day will include an 11 a.m. parade that rolls down Main Street and crosses over West Broadway onto Barnum Avenue, letting people move onto Joe Erland Field for the days’ activities. The football game is set to kickoff at 2 p.m. Alumni will receive complimentary mimosas at village restaurants for brunch that Sunday, Oct. 6.

Quest to remember the Royals fight song

In preparation for the upcoming homecoming, Port Jeff music staff wanted to bring back the classic “fight song” played at homecoming in the decades past.

However, there was a problem, said Christine Creighton, the middle and high school band teacher. The music sheets were nowhere to be found. 

Mike Caravello, the director of music and fine arts at PJSD, gathered together music teachers from across the district, including Creighton, middle and high school chorus teacher Jeffrey Trelewicz and middle school band teacher Edward Pisano, to find a way to bring back the fight music. 

It came from an unexpected place. One of the security staff at the district, Amy Goldstein, is an alumnus and told the staff she was part of the marching band when she was in school in the ’80s and knew the fight song by heart. It is a jaunty tune, a classic marching theme that’s short and to the point. 

“We’re really excited about waking up the village and bringing the school and village together as one entity — as a tight-knit community.”

— Tracy Zamek

Creighton said Goldstein recorded the song for her. Taking that, she transcribed  it on piano while the music staff helped her with the harmony. They then put it into music writing software. 

They played it back for Goldstein, and she reacted with glee. 

“She said, ‘It’s just like the real thing,’” Creighton said.

Alumni, the music staff said, are “coming out of the woodwork,” to help bring the song back for the upcoming homecoming game. 

“They can all sing the fight song, they know it by heart,” said Caravello.

The middle school marching band will be leading this year’s parade, while the pep band will play the fight song at the end of the midday celebration at Joe Erland Field and during the homecoming game itself. Residents can expect to hear the song Oct. 5.