Tags Posts tagged with "Homecoming"

Homecoming

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Running back Nick Messina may stand out to the crowd, but his heroics on the football field are no longer a surprise to his teammates.

The Ward Melville football star’s Oct. 7 showing was more of the same, as the senior scored three touchdowns and accounted for 233 yards in a 32-0 homecoming blanking of Sachem East in front of nearly 1,000 fans.

“Messina played unbelievably, as expected,” junior Nick Troy said of his teammate, who also plays cornerback. “He is such an explosive player on both sides of the ball.”

Messina didn’t waste any time getting the Patriots on the board. He returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a score, setting the tone early for the blowout victory.

“It really gave us the momentum right out of the gate and took Sachem off-guard,” Messina said. “There’s nothing better than scoring the opening kickoff. My coach saw that they didn’t have anybody on the outside and he trusted the line to do their jobs, and all I had to do was follow my blocks.”

The Patriots scored on the opening drive of the second quarter, when senior quarterback Peyton Capizzi found junior wide receiver Marcus Velez for a 20-yard touchdown pass to give Ward Melville a 12-0 lead.

The 6-foot, 4-inch Velez was a matchup nightmare for Sachem East, gaining 89 yards on seven catches.

Messina made it 18-0 on a 40-yard dash into the end zone with 4:16 left in the first half. The extra-point kick attempt on the first touchdown was missed, as well as two 2-point conversion tries.

One of the biggest plays of the game came when senior lineman Stephen Torrico threw a great block to spring Messina for a 21-yard gain on a fourth-and-4 from Ward Melville’s 45-yard line.

“Personally, my favorite highlight was when Stephen Torrico laid a huge hit on one of their backs,” Messina said. “We spent a lot of time recognizing all of their different formations on offense and it really paid off because they rarely caught us with any surprises.”

Three plays later, he scampered into the end zone on a 2-yard run. Messina ended the day with 140 yards rushing on 17 carries.

“It was everything we could’ve hoped for as seniors playing in our last homecoming game,” Messina said of the win. “I think that everybody was contributing and doing their job the best they possibly can and that’s what really led us to victory. I think that every game we are getting closer and closer as a group and we’re learning to trust each other more and more, which really helps us during game time.”

Capizzi — who was 10-for-16 passing with 110 yards through the air and added 63 yards on 10 carries on the ground — hit Troy, a wide receiver and running back, for a two-point conversion following Messina’s touchdown for a 26-0 advantage.

“It felt sweet to catch the pitch from Peyton,” Troy said. “He’s patient and can find the window for the shovel passes.”

After Ward Melville senior cornerback Christian O’toole recorded his second interception of the game, Troy cashed in a 20-yard touchdown run for the final six points.
“The coaches really prepared us well for Sachem,” Troy said. “I think the team really started to click well in the game, especially the defense — they did a great job stopping the runs.”

Winning over Sachem East was a huge move for Ward Melville, which is now tied with Sachem East at 4-2 for No. 2 in the Division I standings behind undefeated Lindenhurst and William Floyd. The Patriots will tackle Longwood Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. before traveling to Lindenhurst Oct. 27.

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Senior Dylan Winwood competes in final football game

By Desirée Keegan

Dylan Winwood couldn’t ask for a better way to end his football career.

Kings Park’s senior tailback/slot receiver hybrid and safety battled on the gridiron one last time Sept. 23, before getting season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. Winwood’s injury occurred in a scrimmage Sept. 1, and he asked his doctor to clear him to play in one final game. Upon getting approval, he decided his last performance would be at homecoming.

“Any win is sweet for our coaches and our team, but having a great crowd to play in front of for homecoming made the atmosphere electric,” he said. “I can’t thank our fan base enough, truly one of the best groups on the Island.”

Although the team could credit running back Vince D’Alto for its 7-2 win over Hauppauge (0-2), Winwood also credited the Kingsmen’s fans and new surroundings for helping the team seal the deal.

“I felt great out on the field and the lights were fantastic,” he said of the stadium’s new ambiance. “I felt like homecoming made it that much sweeter — with the crowd and the team going crazy after every play.”

The junior running back scored the only touchdown of the day — on a 32-yard run in the first quarter. D’Alto said he was looking to ride a routine push play, but happened to stumble across a hole in the defensive line and carried the ball into the end zone. Senior Mike Trupiano’s point-after attempt was good to put the Kingsmen (2-2) up 7-0.

“I was just trying to get some yards to get out of our own end zone, but there was a hole and I took it,” said D’Alto, who finished with 155 yards on 15 carries. “It was a great team effort and there were a lot of ups and downs, but a win is a win.”

Despite the offense not playing up to its preferred tempo, the Kingsmen’s defensive unit was willing and able to pick up the slack, especially co-captain Winwood.

“I feel as if [the win] was due to our stout defensive effort,” he said. “The whole team rallied around a stellar defensive performance.”

The senior said he thought D’Alto was strong on both sides of the ball to help propel the team to victory.

“He was running extremely aggressive and was making plays on the defensive end that helped seal the game for us,” Winwood said. “This year’s team is definitely one of the fastest teams in our division. We have a bunch of athletes just waiting to make plays, and I’m looking forward to the Kingsmen capturing more wins in the future.”

D’Alto said he was inspired by Winwood’s willingness to put his career on the line to play football one last time, especially since he already has a lacrosse scholarship to Florida Southern College.

“Dylan had a lot of courage playing in his last game with a lacrosse scholarship on the line,” he said. “Dylan always plays great — one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen, and he played his heart out for his last game. It was great seeing him on that field risking it all for just one more game, telling us as a team how much this really means to him.”

The senior reflected on his final high school game.

“I felt awesome on the field; all I wanted was to finish my career on a win and it happened,” Winwood said. “I couldn’t ask for a better end note.”

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Wildcats win 49-12 to remain No. 2 in Division IV

By Bill Landon

Kyle Boden and Xavier Arline made Wyandanch pay for its kickoff return touchdown Sept. 23, combining for six scores to lead Shoreham-Wading River to a 49-12 homecoming win.

“Our offensive line did a great job today — they made so many holes,” Boden said. “We were a little slow to start the second half, but we picked it up and everybody was just flying around.”

Boden, a senior running back, powered his way up and down and scored all three of his touchdowns by the end of the first quarter. He finished the game with 108 yards on 12 carries. Arline scored on a 2-yard touchdown run, lunging to the left of two defenders, and again on a 45-yard run after a Wyandanch fumble. Senior Tyler McAuley, who was perfect on the day, split the uprights with each opportunity, and helped the team extend its advantage by nailing the extra-point kick attempt following the fumble recovery touchdown to put Shoreham-Wading River up 35-6 at the halftime break.

The team’s quarterback was quick to compliment the offensive line, and his kicker.

“I can run, but it doesn’t happen unless the linemen make the holes — they did their job,” Arline said. “[Tyler McAuley] did his job. He finished, and if we do that every week I feel that there’s no one that can stop us.”

Arline carried the ball 65 yards for a touchdown return of his own on the second-half kickoff. McAuley was money once again, to bring the score to 42-6.

“I’ve got to give credit to the entire field goal unit, if the snap was there, if the hold was there and the blocking was there, that gives me an opportunity,” McAuley said.

Wyandanch quarterback Dionte Jordan helped cut the deficit on a keeper, and for the second time the Warriors failed to convert a two-point conversion attempt.

Quarterback Noah Block took over as quarterback and the senior didn’t skip a beat, taking in his own touchdown for the final score of the game.

“We’re going to enjoy it for now,” Arline said, “but we’ve got to get back to looking at film and keep working, because we’ve got a good team coming up.”

The quarterback was referring to his team’s next opponent: Elwood-John Glenn.

Shoreham-Wading River head coach Matt Millheiser said depth in the Sept. 29 matchup will be an issue.

“We’ve got to find ways to give breaks for guys here and there,” he said. “We’re going to have to play deep into the fourth quarter because you can’t let a small lead or a small deficit become real big —exhaustion or a cramp or an injury will turn the tide.”

The Wildcats kick off against the Knights at 6 p.m. Arline said his team will work hard to be ready.

“They’re a good team,” Arline said of Elwood-John Glenn. “We take every team seriously but they’re just going to get harder and harder from here on out.”

Senior running back scores four touchdown in emotional homecoming win

By Desirée Keegan

Centereach senior Alec Kiernan, who scored four touchdowns and recorded three sacks Saturday, wasn’t just motived by the fact he was playing in his last homecoming game.

The team rallied around Kiernan after his brother, Danny, died Sept. 10. He said he had no idea how the circumstance would impact his performance in the 43-8 win over Riverhead Sept. 16, especially after missing practices on Thursday and Friday to attend the wake and funeral.

“Everyone was there for me today,” said the senior, who decided to play in the game to honor his brother. “Everyone played for Danny, my family, and we played the best game we’ve played in a while — especially in the second half. I felt confident on both sides of the ball.”

“Everyone was there for me today. Everyone played for Danny, my family, and we played the best game we’ve played in a while.”

—Alec Kiernan

Junior wide receiver and linebacker Devin Demetres set the tone early for the Cougars, returning the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown and early 7-0 lead after sophomore Matt Robbert’s extra-point kick.

“That was our plan,” Demetres said of the play. “We knew on that play to hit hard and bring it all the way. We had great blocks. That score gave us momentum.”

He said Kiernan was also a momentum-booster.

“We made our blocks and played for him — when he played well we were playing well,” the junior said. “Kiernan is a team leader, he’s the captain and everyone looks up to him. He makes something out of nothing, and it helped us so much along the way.”

Kiernan extended the lead on a 10-yard run with nearly seven minutes still remaining in the opening quarter. He broke up a Riverhead pass minutes later, but the Blue Waves were able to score on the drive. A 50-yard reception for a touchdown and a two-point conversion made the score 14-8.

In that moment, Centereach head coach Adam Barrett said he didn’t doubt what his now 2-0 team is capable of doing, and the Cougars proved it. Kiernan, who rushed for 213 yards on 23 carries, was slid the ball on a pass fake and ran 11 yards into the end zone. Robbert, who was perfect on the day, brought the score to 21-8 at the end of the first quarter.

“Special teams is huge,” Barrett said. “Last year it was a weakness of ours. We put in a lot of time in the offseason working on that. A lot of these kids have been playing together since they were little, and these were the guys that were freshmen when I took over the program four years ago, so we came up together, and it’s nice to see them be so successful so early in the season.”

“[Alec Kiernan] plays like no other person I’ve ever met. He’s something else. He’s not human.”

—Devin Demetres

Senior running back Vinny Liotta later scored on a 21-yard carry, and Demetres completed a two-point conversion for a 29-8 halftime advantage.

“It was a great team effort,” Demetres said. “Coaches put us in place to get some opportunities, and we took advantage of them.”

Kiernan remained strong on both sides of the ball, doing most of the rushing and halting a handful of would-be Riverhead gains with tackles. He had two sacks and ran in the final of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said of his contributions in the win. “I did it for my brother..”

His teammates and coaches alike think their athlete is on the path to greatness.

“He elevates the game, even today,” Barrett said. “He’s just a great player and I’m proud of him. I’m glad he had the game that he did.”

Demetres joked he wasn’t sure of the species of the team’s running back.

“He plays like no other person I’ve ever met,” he said of Kiernan. “He’s something else. He’s not human. Today we proved we’re more than a team, we’re more than a family — we’re a brotherhood. We have each other’s backs no matter the circumstance.”

By Bill Landon

Harborfields settled the score Saturday as the Tornadoes invaded Rocky Point and avenged last year’s homecoming loss by outscoring the Eagles 20-13 during a homecoming celebration of their own. Rocky Point senior Petey LaSalla bulled his way up the field for two touchdowns to help tie Harborfields with eight minutes left in the game, but a Tornadoes touchdown and stop sealed the Eagles’ fate Sept. 16.

“The juniors on last year’s team remember that loss,” Harborfields head coach Rocco Colucci said. “I mean, hats off to Rocky Point, they’re a great football team and with good teams it usually does go down to the last minute, but what better way than to [come here] and return the favor at their homecoming game.”

Harborfields dominated the time of possession in the opening half, but the Eagles’ defense held the team to just one touchdown after senior quarterback P.J. Clementi found a hole into the end zone at the 10:58 mark of the second quarter. With a failed point-after attempt, the team took a 6-0 lead into the break.

“Our defense [played well] in the first half to hold them to just six points when they had possession like 90 percent of the time,” LaSalla said. “We lost a close one last week and this obviously sucks going 0-2, but we have power points [given to teams that face top-ranked opponents] and we have a big game next week at Comsewogue, which is their homecoming, and hopefully we can do to them what Harborfields did to us.”

The Eagles opened the second half by marching the ball down to a fourth-and-one, but Harborfields’ defense plugged the hole and took over on downs. The Tornadoes used the possession to strike with just two minutes left in the quarter. Clementi took another keeper across the goal line, and Harborfields senior Ethan Krauss split the uprights this time to put his team ahead 13-0.

“Our offensive and defensive lines were unreal today — they were making holes, they were clogging holes,” Clementi said. “To have those big guys up front, it’s a blessing, but I knew [Rocky Point was] going to try to get [Petey LaSalla] the ball. because he’s their playmaker.”

The Eagles’ offense opened the final quarter with a new look, putting LaSalla in shotgun formation. The running back plowed up the field until he crossed into the end zone for Rocky Point’s first touchdown of the day. Senior Jack Costa nailed the extra-point kick attempt to pull within six, 13-7. LaSalla scored again, but a missed kick blew Rocky Point’s chance at taking its first lead of the game.

With the score tied 13-13, Clementi hit senior wide receiver Chris Dluginsky bolting down the left sideline 56 yards to Rocky Point’s 22-yard line. Senior running back Jimmy Bifulco finished the job with the final touchdown of the game for the 20-13 win.

“I know they’re a great team, well-coached, but we came out here and we played our best,” Bifulco said. “We’re a family, we stick together the entire way and when it comes down to the last minute, we’ll finish it.”

Harborfields did just that, holding off Rocky Point on its final attempt deep in Harbrofields’ territory with 14 seconds left until the time expired.

“I was sitting on the sideline and and I couldn’t watch,” Clementi said. “I walked back to the track and turned around. I was just waiting for that [last] play to be over.”

Rocky Point head coach Anthony DiLorenzo said he wishes he’d have taken a timeout when a first down was signaled following Rocky Point’s first possession of the second half.

“Unfortunately, at the end of the game, that came back to bite us,” he said. “We came up short on the two-yard line.”

Colucci said he couldn’t be more proud of his players, especially despite not being at full strength.

“This was the ultimate team win,” he said. “Even at halftime people were looking at each other and saying ‘we still got this.’ I have a couple of guys who weren’t feeling well and I told them ‘don’t play for yourself, play for the guy next to you because next time they’re going to do it for you,’ and that’s going to win us some close games.”

Members of the community gather at Jackson Edwards’ Terryville home July 31 to welcome him home from a lengthy hospital stay in Maryland to battle leukemia. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Kyle Barr

After more than four months of treatment battling acute myeloid leukemia, a blood and bone marrow cancer, 11-year-old Jackson Edwards returned home Monday from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to the sound of a Terryville fire truck honking and the cheers of friends and family.

“I don’t know how to put it — it’s such a wave of emotions,” Jackson’s mother Danielle Edwards said. “We’re happy, finally. Jackson’s a little nervous because he’s so far away from the hospital and he’s thin from the treatment, but he’s happy to be with his people.”

Jackson waives to the crowd assembled at his home. Photo by Kyle Barr

Tired from the long trip and overwhelmed by the number of people who had shown up for the surprise homecoming, Jackson only stood outside for a few minutes July 31, waving to his friends and family before heading back inside. They had taken a 6-hour drive to get back to Terryville from Johns Hopkins.

“[Jackson and his mom] had no idea what was here,” Jackson’s aunt DeeDee Edwards said. She had helped plan the surprise homecoming, and was in charge of keeping the mother and son in the dark. “Jackson was counting the stoplights until we got here, and he was so overwhelmed by all the people who came to support him.”

Though the drive home was long, the real difficulty for Jackson and his family was the more than 100 days he spent in Baltimore fighting the rare form of cancer.. Jackson has always been a charismatic young man, according to his family. He’s a typical 11-year-old — he loves wrestling and football. His favorite comic book and show characters are Captain America and Optimus Prime. In December 2013 Jackson was diagnosed with AML. It was the start of an arduous treatment process that saw Jackson go into remission in May 2014.

Around Christmas 2016, Jackson started to feel sick again, and after taking him to Stony Brook University Hospital, the family learned that the his disease had returned and he had relapsed. In April he was transferred to Johns Hopkins in Maryland where he underwent a long and painful process of chemotherapy in preparation for a later bone marrow transplant. Meanwhile, friends and family worked hard to fund raise and help Jackson’s mother in finding options for his treatment.

Deirdre Cardarelli, a friend of the family, worked hard to help throw the surprise welcome for the Edwards’. For months Cardarelli was co-running the StayStrongJackson Facebook page alongside Jackson’s mom, and she was instrumental in forming a T-shirt drive and an Easter egg hunt to support the family’s travel and medical funds. The Facebook page and all the other social media efforts helped galvanize the local community in its support of Jackson, even those who were not necessarily close to the Edwards’..

Onlookers for the surprise homecoming brought signs of support to hold. Photo by Kyle Barr

“I don’t know the family personally, but our oldest, Michael, is in the same school with Jackson,” said community member Yoon Perrone. “We bought the shirts to support the family and we wanted to be here. I can’t imagine one of our own children having the disease.”

For the bone marrow transplant the family had to find a donor that was as close of a match as possible. Rocco Del Greco, a friend of the family, said he felt a deep need to help the young man and his family once he learned of the cancer’s relapse.

“Since I was not so emotionally connected to their son I was able to channel my anger for what happened to the young man,” Del Greco said. He helped to jump-start a YouCaring page to crowd fund for Jackson, which managed to raise more than $8,000. Del Greco  also managed several bone marrow drives during the search for a suitable donor. From January to early April, Del Greco helped facilitate for almost 1,800 people to test their DNA for matches to Jackson.

Finding a sufficient match was not easy for the Edwards’. Jackson’s mother had a 50 percent match from her own marrow. She served as the donor, and the transplant was successful. After about a month-long recovery, the doctors said he was safe to continue treatment from home.

The process kept Jackson away from school and friends and forced him to endure weeks of treatment, including chemotherapy. Jackson was not able to attend his fifth-grade graduation ceremony from elementary school in the Comsewogue School District, but his older brother Cortez James “C.J” Edwards walked up on stage in his place. Jackson’s mother said that while the treatment process and lengthy hospital stay did get tough, her son powered through it by making new friends.

Members of the community gather at Jackson Edwards’ Terryville home July 31 to welcome him home from a lengthy hospital stay in Maryland to battle leukemia. Photo by Kyle Barr

“He met a whole bunch of new people, because he’s very charismatic, and he stole a bunch of other people’s hearts,” she said.

The transplant has left his immune system weak, and for another eight months Jackson is restricted from coming too close in contact with other people while he heals. This will prohibit him from attending school for several months, but his mother said they plan on continuing his education with tutoring.

Though he said he is excited to eventually go back to school, for now Jackson celebrated a Christmas in July, including a tree and presents surrounding it. He was unable to celebrate Christmas with his family when his cancer relapsed back in December.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 47,000 people were diagnosed with leukemia in 2014, the most recent year on record with data on leukemia.

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By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai’s Jason Shlonsky threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another on the way to the Mustangs’ 34-14 homecoming win over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck Oct. 15.

The win was never in question, as Mount Sinai jumped out to an early 21-0 lead with three unanswered touchdowns by the beginning of the second quarter.

From under center, senior quarterback Shlonsky rolled to his right and threw a strike to senior wide receiver Andrew Fiore, who caught the ball in stride and advanced to the Porter’s 10-yard line. On the next play, Shlonsky ran the ball into the end zone on a 3-yard keeper play for six points. Mount Sinai junior kicker Colin McCarthy made it 7-0 seven minutes in on his point-after attempt.

“They’re actually a very good team — they came out to a really good start,” Shlonsky said of Greenport. “But we had a lot of success throwing the ball. My line gave me time to throw the ball in space, and my receivers ran great routs and [Greenport] didn’t pick up on it. So it went the way we expected.”

The pair struck again when Shlonsky dropped back and connected with Fiore for a 41-yard strike two minutes later. With McCarthy’s kick, the Mustangs edged ahead 14-0.

“My line gave me time to throw the ball in space, and my receivers ran great routs and [Greenport] didn’t pick up on it.”

— Jason Shlonsky

Mount Sinai junior running back Joseph Pirreca took a handoff up the middle next, and although had trouble finding an opening, made something out of nothing when he bounced outside and turned on the jets as he rushed the ball 38 yards for a touchdown. McCarthy, who was perfect on the afternoon, made it a 21-point game.

With the cushion, Mount Sinai head coach Vinnie Ammirato pulled his starters and went deep into his bench to get the younger athletes some playing time.

“We have a lot of young kids — a lot of kids who didn’t get a chance to play last year — so I think for us nothing ever comes easy,” Ammirato said. “But as long as we keep working hard — keep getting better every week — [we’ll be OK]. We do start a freshman four sophomores, and we only start three seniors, so every week is a work in progress.”

Mount Sinai senior Jake Knab who is ordinarily a wide receiver and a defensive back, took over as the quarterback until the halftime break.

Just as effective running the ball as throwing it, Shlonsky returned to open the second half with a 50-yard kickoff return for a first-and-10 on the Porter’s 24-yard line. The Porter’s defense stood its ground through, and took over on downs.

Greenport began a march downfield on its next possession, and finally put six points on the scoreboard with 4:49 remaining in the third stanza, on a 52-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline. The Porters chose to go for a 2-point conversion, but the Mustangs’ defensive line had other ideas, and made the block.

On the ensuing kickoff, Mount Sinai senior running back Mike Carneiro raced away with a 50-yard return, and the Mustangs went back to work on the Porters’ 38-yard line.

The two-touchdown difference prompted Ammirato to reinstate his starters. With Shlonsky back under center, the quarterback threw the ball to junior tight end Jared Donnelly, who crossed over the middle and turned it up field — dashing 13 yards into the end zone. McCarthy followed by splitting the uprights for a 28-6 advantage.

“I knew we could come back and get the job done. We’ve got the right mindset and our team is strong enough to come out, fire back at them and score again.”

— Jared Donnelly

“I wasn’t too worried [after their second score],” Donnelly said of Greenport. “I knew we could come back and get the job done. We’ve got the right mindset and our team is strong enough to come out, fire back at them and score again.”

On the ensuing kickoff, it went from bad to worse for the Porters when the kickoff return man hit a brick wall named Christian Sartori. The senior defensive lineman ripped the ball loose, and his younger brother Andrew Sartori, a sophomore linebacker, recovered it to put the Mustangs in commanding field position.

Again, Ammirato recalled his starters and Knab went back to work for the final quarter.

Mount Sinai sophomore running back Richard Harris carried the ball 18 yards and across the goal line for the final Mustangs score of the afternoon. Mount Sinai took a knee following the touchdown, foregoing the extra point in the spirit of sportsmanship.

Greenport managed one final touchdown as the clock unwound.

Carneiro led the way for the Mustangs with eight carries for 121 yards, followed by Harris with 66 yards on 11 carries and Pirreca grounded out 60 yards in five attempts. Shlonsky finished the day with 121 yards through the air.

With the win, Mount Sinai improved to 3-3 in Division IV with three games remaining before the postseason begins.

“We had a very good week of practice — we knew what we were [getting] into coming into this game, we were very prepared; we played hard,” Fiore said. “We made a couple of mistakes that we’ll have to fix to be ready for next week, which is a very important game.”

Mount Sinai hits the road Oct. 21 to play neighboring Miller Place (4-2 in league play), where Ammirato will have to find a way to contain his son, and Panthers powerhouse running back Tyler Ammirato. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

 

By Bill Landon

The fourth quarter showed something the Tornadoes did little of all game: throwing.

Trailing by six points in the final minutes, the Harborfields football team came out hurling the ball against Rocky Point — making a push to tie — but time ran out on a fourth and long for a 20-14 homecoming loss.

Harborfields junior quarterback P.J. Clementi worked the sidelines and gained heavy yardage as the clock wound down to a minute left, airing the ball to junior wide receiver Gavin Buda, whose acrobatic catches and ability to get out of bounds after the grab brought the Tornadoes into Rocky Point’s zone. On a fourth and long, the Tornadoes were unable to convert as time expired.

“Rocky Point came out more physical than us in the beginning and that took away our [speed] and our running game, which forced us to pass, which is fine with us,” Harborfields head coach Rocco Colucci said. “These kids got a lot of heart, they fight to the bitter end no matter what the score is, no matter who we’re playing — they always believe they have a chance to win.”

Rocky Point struck first when junior running back Petey LaSalla punched into the end zone following a 22-yard run three minutes into the game. With senior quarterback Sean McGovern’s extra-point kick good, the Eagles were out front 7-0. McGovern shared the quarterback duties with junior Damian Rivera all afternoon.

“These kids got a lot of heart, they fight to the bitter end no matter what the score is, no matter who we’re playing — they always believe they have a chance to win.”

—Rocco Colucci

The Eagles struggled with their running game, and neither team scored in the second, as Rocky Point squandered a field goal attempt in the seconds before halftime.

Again, it was LaSalla who got the call to start off the scoring for the second half.

Early in the third, the junior broke several tackles, bounced outside and went the distance on a 32-yard run. McGovern’s foot put his team out front, 14-0.

LaSalla said he never doubted the outcome of the game.

“Not for a minute did we think we were going to lose,” he said. “Our defense really stepped up big today. We had a really good back field and we were able to shut them down, which forced them to throw the ball.”

After a sustained drive, Harborfields finally got on the scoreboard when senior running back Mark Malico ran off left tackle and took the ball 1 yard for six points. Harborfields senior kicker Thomas Beslity added another to make it a one-score game to trail 14-7.

“They’re always a tough team — we’ve had trouble with them in the past — obviously we had some trouble with them today,” Malico said of Rocky Point. “We turned it on [late] and we found our niche with our passing game with some nice catches on the sideline.”

On the ensuing kickoff, McGovern fielded the ball on his own 6-yard line, and sprinted up the left side, crosing midfield and jetting down the righ side line for a 94-yard kickoff return to stretch the Eagles lead to 20-7, with the extra-point attempt failing.

“We just had to stay consistent — every man has got to do their job and [not] overdo it,” McGovern said. “We battled through everything today between the turnovers and them coming back in the last two minutes, so we stayed calm and worked together.”

“We battled through everything today between the turnovers and them coming back in the last two minutes, so we stayed calm and worked together.”

—Sean McGovern

Harborfields switched to its passing attack with seven minutes remaining. Clementi worked the routes and the sideline, and connected with senior wide receiver Andrew Loiacono for a 70-yard catch and run to set up the Tornadoes’ next score. Clementi threw a screen pass to sophomore running back Thomas Sangiovanni, and he turned the corner jetted down the sideline for the touchdown. Beslity split the uprights to close the gap, 20-14.

“We analyzed our defense,” Sangiovanni said. “We had to execute the plays perfectly, we had to change a couple of things up and it worked out. [Rocky Point] just played harder than us in the end.”

Harborfields’ defense took a stand and a clock-eating drive forced the Eagles to punt with three minutes left. Rocky Point head coach Anthony DiLorenzo said he wasn’t surprised that the game was decided in the final seconds.

“We knew this was going to be a four quarter football game,” he said. “They’ve put it on film every week. We’ve done [that in only] two games so far, so our message all week was that this was going to be a four quarter game.”

Clementi went to the air picking apart the Eagles’ secondary, moving the chains downfield as he marched his team to Rocky Point’s 30-yard line with 1:37 left in the game.

On fourth down with 38 seconds, Clementi threw a strike to Buda crossing over the middle, but Rocky Point junior linebacker Alec Rinaldi knocked down the pass to seal the win.

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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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John Corpac wasted no time taking one to the house on homecoming game day.

The Ward Melville football team’s senior wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner knew if his team’s homecoming opponent, Patchogue-Medford, watched any film of his Patriots, they weren’t going to let him get his hands on the opening kickoff during their Sept. 24 contest.

“I was expecting a squib kick,” he said. “And that’s what I got.”

As the two teams collided on the opening play, Corpac picked up the ball, which the Raiders were trying to keep away from the dangerous return man, on the far right side of the field, jolted left to avoid a tackle, and, like running down an open highway, cruised all the way to the end zone for an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

“I scooped the ball up, the hole was there and I only had to beat one guy,” Corpac said. “Kick returns are my favorite thing to do. It was the best feeling.”

The Ward Melville football team benefitted from a fast start during its homecoming matchup, but a strong finish proved the Patriots are ready to put up a fight this season. The team bested the Raiders 35-22 to avenge its 2015 homecoming loss.

“Last year Northport came in here and beat up a little bit on us — we lost — so for these seniors this was big for them,” Ward Melville head coach Chris Boltrek said. “There were definitely some things that we have to clean up for the next game, but when we really needed them to step up the kids did a nice job.”

Patchogue-Medford mounted a charge up the field on its first drive following Corpac’s return touchdown, and bulled into the end zone on a 1-yard run to even the score.

“Last year Northport came in here and beat up a little bit on us — we lost — so for these seniors this was big for them.”

— Chris Bolterk

Ward Melville responded by moving the ball on its next possession, but a fumble recovered by Patchogue-Medford changed the tide. The Patriots’ defense made up for its offenses mistake, and forced Patchogue-Medford to settle for a field goal attempt, which was missed.

To open the second quarter, Ward Melville wide receiver and strong safety Eddie Munoz, who also recorded an interception, received a 29-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Wesley Manning. Munoz helped set up the score with gains of 28 yards and four yards earlier in the drive.

Manning tossed his next touchdown pass to junior running back Nick Messina. The play wouldn’t have been possible without senior cornerback and wide receiver Andrew McKenna’s second interception of the game. He also chipped in 35 yards on the ensuing drive. Messina’s 13-yard catch and senior kicker Joe LaRosa’s point after brought the score to 21-7 before halftime.

“Our special teams was excellent, our defense really came up big causing a lot of turnovers in key moments,” Boltrek said. “And offensively we did some nice things. When we got nice blocks and we scored, we threw the ball well, so there was some good and some bad, but we have to improve.”

Patchogue-Medford added seven points following another 1-yard run with 20 seconds to go in the third to pull closer, but Messina rushed the ball 52 yards for a touchdown with 6.5 seconds on the clock to re-extend the Patriots’ advantage.

Shortly into the final stanza, Messina rushed home another touchdown, this time taking the ball 22 yards to help his team jump out in front, 35-14.

“On those few plays the line did exactly what they needed to do,” Messina said. “If we could do that more often we could go far, and score more touchdowns.”

Boltrek said his team needs to clean up the blocking up front going forward, though he was impressed with his running back’s performance.

“Nick is a kid we all depend on because of his speed and his athleticism, and it’s warranted,” Boltrek said. “He had two breakaway touchdowns, he did a nice job catching along the backfield, so he did really well for us.”

Manning completed 15 of 22 passes for 240 yards, including two touchdowns. He said all the players were confident coming into the homecoming game after a strong week of practice. He said he enjoyed showing the team could get the job done through the air, and in the second half, on the ground, too.

“The feeling kept getting better and better as the game went on,” he said. “It’s great to win on your senior homecoming. There’s really nothing better. I think we’re really going to carry on momentum. We had a tough loss against Longwood and now we just have to keep the momentum going next week against Floyd.”

Ward Melville travels to William Floyd Oct. 1 for a 2 p.m. kickoff.