Tags Posts tagged with "Homecoming"

Homecoming

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By Bill Landon

Comsewogue hosted Hauppauge on Sept. 24, and it was only fitting that the Warriors’ homecoming battle on the gridiron snapped a 10-game losing streak, dating back to the 2015 season.

The Warriors hadn’t won a football game since 2014.

Having dropped the first two games of the season, Comsewogue was on a long string of defeats — so the team was desperate for a win. After squandering a 14-point lead late in the game, the Comsewogue defense stood its ground, and stopped a late-game drive by the Eagles that would have tied the game with seconds remaining, and the Warriors escaped with a 27-21 victory.

“We can never finish games and we were due for this,” senior quarterback Anthony Guardiano said. “We were due to win this game and we did it. We did it as a team. We’ve been busting our butts this week, and we’ve been so much more disciplined than we were last season. We honestly deserved this, and that it was homecoming, made it even better.”

The quarterback pulled double duty on the afternoon, running for 134 yards and rushing in two touchdowns, while snagging a crucial interception in the third quarter to stall a Hauppauge drive that changed the momentum of the game.

After Guardiano scored the first touchdown of the game on a 47-yard run, Kai Cochrane got the call, and pounded the ball up the middle — like he did most of the afternoon — to the second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run. Although the extra-point attempt by senior kicker Shane Wolff failed following the second touchdown, the Warriors found themselves out front, 13-0.

“We were due to win this game and we did it. We did it as a team. We’ve been busting our butts this week, and we’ve been so much more disciplined than we were last season. We honestly deserved this, and that it was homecoming, made it even better.”

— Anthony Guardiano

The margin of victory could’ve been much greater, had the Warriors not committed as many mistakes as they did. Twice, touchdown passes from Guardiano connected with his open wide receiver, senior Tyler Timpanaro, who came down with the ball in the end zone, but both times the play was called back because of penalties.

On Comsewogue’s next possession, Cochrane, a junior running back and linebacker, broke to the outside and went the distance for the score, only to have the ball called back on a holding penalty. Instead, Hauppauge scored on its ensuing drive to close the gap, 13-7.

Guardiano made things interesting when he sprinted down the right sideline for a first down following a fake punt on a third-and-out, but the Warriors couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity. Both teams traded possession and neither team could score in the third, but Cochrane found the end zone a minute into the fourth quarter on a 14-yard run. He then bulled his way up the middle for a successful 2-point conversion for a 21-7 advantage.

“After halftime, we made adjustments — the coaches got together and made some [changes] offensively and defensively,” Comsewogue head coach Sean Tremblay said. “You can have any scheme you want, and they’re all sound, but it all boils down to the kids who have to execute it.”

Hauppauge discovered a weakness in the Comsewogue secondary, and moved to the air, tossing the ball to open receivers as the Eagles moved the chains down the field. Hauppauge’s quarterback hit his open receiver down the right sideline for a score with nine minutes left in the game, and with the point-after attempt successful, drew his teamwithin six points, to trail 21-14.

On the ensuing kickoff, Comsewogue coughed up the ball and Hauppauge recovered in strong field position. The Eagles marched downfield for another score, and tied the game 21-21 at the 7:31 mark, after the extra-point kick was good.

With 5:15 left in regulation, Guardiano took matters into his own hands and traveled outside on a broken play, running 63 yards for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, and as the clock unwound, the Eagles went back to their aerial offense, finding open receivers over the middle for short yardage as they marched down the field. With 18 seconds on the clock, Hauppauge knocked on Comsewogue’s door, advancing the ball to the 9-yard line. With eight seconds left, the team completed another pass over the middle to move to the 3-yard line. The Eagles tried to get another play in, but a tackle on the 1-yard line prevented a score as time expired.

“This was an emotional win — we needed it badly because were going on 700 days without a win,” Cochrane said. “Today’s win was beautiful, especially on homecoming weekend. We need to stop the mental errors, and we need to keep this momentum going.”

With a new school year around the corner, look back at Port Jefferson alumni through the years

Richard Olson taught U.S. History in the Port Jefferson school district from 1967-2002. He also served as the yearbook advisor from 1988-2014.

During that time, he amassed a collection of photos from events like homecoming, prom and class trips. With a new school year set to begin, take a look back at alumni from eras gone by.

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By Bill Landon

The Mount Sinai Mustangs made short work of visiting East Hampton-Bridgehampton on the football field Saturday afternoon, shutting out the Bonackers, 33-0, in a victory that was icing on the cake for the host team’s homecoming celebration.

It was a lopsided game after Mount Sinai scored its fourth unanswered touchdown, and rather than kick the extra point, the Mustangs took a knee to arrest the scoring fest at 27-0.

Mount Sinai head coach Vinnie Ammirato rested his starters and flushed his bench, as every available player on his 35-man roster saw action the rest of the way.

On their first possession of the game, the opposing team was forced to punt on three and out.

With the game less than two minutes old, Mount Sinai senior running back Christian Knab fielded the ball then found a hole, bounced to the outside and went the distance for the score. With the extra point, the Mustangs took the early 7-0 lead.

“We played our hardest — everyone played their best,” Knab said. “We came out and we did what we’re supposed to do.”

The Bonackers, fielding just 18 players and losing two to injury during the game, used every available player on their bench out of necessity. Again, unable to move the chains, the opposing team was forced to punt.

Mount Sinai senior wide receiver Griffin McGrath went 64 yards for the next touchdown, and after another East Hampton-Bridgehampton three and out, junior wide receiver Jake Knab fielded a clean ball and took it all the way down the stretch for the team’s third touchdown.

“I caught the ball and there was a good wall set up [in front of me so] I followed the wall,” McGrath said. “And it was clear all the way to the end zone.”

Jake Knab took over at quarterback for junior R.J. Maher the rest of the way.

“This game was unusual — first string starters usually come out and sometimes second string goes in,” Knab said. “Today was a fun game for me because I rarely play.”

Early in the second quarter, Mount Sinai junior running back John Paolella plowed up the middle to find the end zone for another six points.

“We played well all around and second teamers got their chance today,” Paolella said. “It was a chance to play at homecoming and we made the most of it.”

As the kicking team took to the field for the point-after attempt, Ammirato barked the play from the sideline, and the Mustangs lined up as if they were going for two, but took a knee to keep the score 27-0.

“We don’t want to score anymore,” Ammirato said from the sideline. “Let’s keep the score reasonable.”

The Mustangs non-starters couldn’t control themselves, and freshman running back Liam McGrath, who was brought up from the junior varsity squad to play in the game, was not to be stopped as he raced with the ball down the left sideline for the final touchdown of the afternoon. Choosing not to attempt the point after, Mount Sinai again took a knee to hold the score at 33-0.

With the win, the Mustangs improve to 6-1, vying for second place in League IV with John Glenn. The Mustangs will battle John Glenn on the gridiron Saturday in the last game of the regular season, to break the tie.

“Everyone is going to work their hardest and put in the extra work in practice,” Christian Knab said, for his Mustangs team to be able to top John Glenn. “And we’ll have to see what happens on Halloween.”

Ammirato said that the best part of the homecoming win is that everyone on his bench saw action.

“Just getting everyone in the game — I love when that happens,” the head coach said. “These kids come to practice every day and work just as hard sometimes they get in the game sometimes they don’t, and today they got a chance to play some quality minutes at homecoming in front of a big crowd; getting their names announced.”

Ammirato said that because the junior varsity game was cancelled, it presented an even bigger opportunity, bringing up some sophomores and freshman that saw some action, too.

Griffin McGrath is ready to see his team claim the No. 2 spot.

“We’ll have to work hard in practice this week and watch film,” he said. “And we’ll have to execute the coaches’ game plan to the letter.”

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Senior running back Bryan Hurley and sophomore running back Kai Cochrane each run for over 120 yards for the Warriors in the loss

By Joe Galotti

Coming off back-to-back blowout losses, the Comsewogue football team showed plenty of fight in their homecoming matchup against Hauppauge Saturday, but ultimately came up short on the scoreboard, falling 35-21. Senior running back Bryan Hurley and sophomore running back Kai Cochrane each ran for over 120 yards for the Warriors in the loss.

“We dug ourselves a hole with turnovers in the first half,” Comsewogue head coach Sean Tremblay said. “We battled back into the fourth quarter, but some untimely penalties and poor third and fourth down defense really cost us.”

The Warriors also lost starting junior defensive end Andy Suarez for the season in the game, after he suffered a broken leg in the third quarter. Suarez marks the fifth starter Comsewogue has seen go down with a season-ending injury this year.

“We’ve been playing with a lot of guys that at the beginning of the season weren’t starters,” Tremblay said. “But to the kids’ credit, they’re still fighting.”

After falling behind early in their previous two games, the Warriors did the same against the Eagles. Hauppauge opened the game’s scoring in the first quarter with a 5-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Thomas Balcom to  wide receiver Dominic Paresi. In the second quarter, Balcom and Paresi connected in the end zone again, this time, on a 10-yard reception.

Hurley got Comsewogue back in the game with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, cutting the Eagles lead to just 14-7 at the halftime break.

“All eleven guys [on offense] played their hearts out on every play,” he said. “Our line was able to get a great push, and when our backs weren’t running the ball, we blocked for each other.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Hauppauge’s star running back, Marcus Bisono, began to take over the game. The senior delivered a 15-yard and 10-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The running backs for the Warriors also stepped up in the final 12 minutes of the game. Hurley and Cochrane each registered a touchdown run as Comsewogue trailed by just seven points late in the contest.

But, the duo of Balcom and Paresi would come up big again for the Eagles. Balcom delivered a 60-yard touchdown pass to his wideout, a play that would secure the win for Hauppauge.

While the Warriors defense as a whole struggled to contain the Eagles, Tremblay said senior defensive back Austin Haynia was a standout in the game. The senior defended two passes, and came up with several key tackles. Tremblay also liked what he saw from Suarez, before he exited the game.

On the flip side of the ball, Comsewogue’s head coach was very pleased with what his team was able to do on the ground.

“If there’s any silver lining to losing the game, it’s that we ran the ball very well,” Tremblay said. “I was happy offensively.”

Cochrane agreed.

“The offensive line did a great job getting off the ball quickly and creating holes so our backs could make the right cuts and get first downs,” he added.

The Warriors’ fan base showed their passion for the team on Saturday. Even with Comsewogue entering its homecoming weekend without a win, the school’s supporters created an exciting atmosphere for the game.

“The community is fantastic; they always come out and support,” Tremblay said. “With us entering the game at 0-4, it would have been easy for them just to stay home, or just do the parade and go home. But, they all came to the game and cheered us on till the very end.”

Even at 0-5 in Division III, the season is far from over for the Warriors. Entering as the No. 7 seed will help Comsewogue’s standing come playoff time, and if the team is able to win at Harborfields next week, and come away with a win in one of its final two games against highly ranked and undefeated Sayville and East Islip, a postseason berth would still be a possibility.

Harborfields ties game to end 3rd quarter, Eagles score three touchdowns to pull away, 48-33

By Bill Landon

The Rocky Point football team pulled out a 48-33 victory in Saturday’s homecoming game, halting a late rally by visiting Harborfields, which tied the game at 27-27 after three quarters of play. The Eagles watched their first-half 27-12 advantage disappear in the third quarter, to make it a new game in the final 12 minutes of play. Rocky Point was able to outscore its opponent with three touchdowns in the final quarter in front of a capacity crowd, to move to 2-3 in Division III.

Rocky Point sophomore running back Peter LaSalla broke free from the line of scrimmage four minutes into the game and jetted down the left sideline for a 60-yard touchdown run and the first score of the game. Although the extra-point attempt failed, the team took an early 6-0 lead.

A minute later, the Tornadoes were unable to convert on downs, and punted the ball away to junior receiver Sean McGovern, who returned the punt 65 yards for the Eagles’ second touchdown of the game.

“We got a big play from Sean on that punt return,” Rocky Point senior quarterback Harrison Lynch said.

McGovern, also the kicker, finished what he started, and split the uprights to help his team break out to a 13-0 lead.

Harborfields answered back when quarterback Cody Cunningham, on a keeper, punched in for the score, but the Eagles blocked the extra-point kick attempt, to trail the Eagles, 13-6.

Lynch and sophomore Damian Rivera shared quarterback duties all afternoon, and Rivera, under center, passed the ball over to Lynch, who broke outside and went the distance for the touchdown. McGovern’s point-after was good, and the Eagles stretched their lead to 20-6.

Harborfields, on the longest sustained drive of the afternoon that consumed four minutes off the clock, ended its march across the field with a score, despite a penalty-plagued campaign that included a 15- yard unsportsmanlike conduct call. The extra-point kick attempt failed again, and the Tornadoes settled for a 20-12 deficit with just over two minutes left in the half.

Rocky Point looked to put the game away when Lynch, on a play-action pass, found LaSalla open down the right sideline. The running back gathered it in on a catch-and-run play, and recorded a 46-yard score. With the point after, the Eagles took a 27-12 advantage into the halftime break, but that lead didn’t last for long.

Harborfields moved the chains to open the second half only to cough the ball up four minutes in, as Rocky Point took possession on their own 25-yard line. Unable to capitalize, the Tornadoes were on the move again.

On a play-action pass, Harborfields quarterback Cody Cunningham found wide receiver Christian Mullings in the end zone for the score, and after a successful two-point conversion, made it a one-score game, 27-20.

On Rocky Points’ ensuing possession, the Eagles fumbled and Harborfields recovered the ball on the 34- yard line with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. On the second play from scrimmage, the Tornadoes cashed in and tied the game 27-27.

McGovern said he was surprised that Harborfields was able to even the score.

“It was a little bit of a shock, but we knew we could get back in it,” McGovern said. “Harry Lynch led us — he motivated. He sure can play; he’s a baller.”

Moving into the fourth quarter, the Eagles knew they had to finish the game the way they started.

“We just had to keep going, so we started the fourth like it was 0-0,” LaSalla said. “We put up the first two touchdowns [to start the game], so we knew we could do it again.”

The Eagles went to work in the final 12 minutes., and Lynch got the ball moving when he fired deep to the senior running back Paul Dominguez for a touchdown pass, as Rocky Point jumped back out in front, 34-27.

Cunningham looking to retie the game, and dropped back to pass, but had to check down, or look for his secondary receivers, and was blindsided just as he released the ball. Rocky Point junior tight end and defensive back Brendan Heggers found himself under the ill-fated pass, and grabbed possession for the interception.

“We came out a little flat after halftime,” Lynch said, “but we picked it up after that interception, and just got things rolling after that.”

The Eagles wasted no time in cashing in on Harborfield’s miscue, and sophomore running back Alec Rinaldi plowed his way up the middle to find the end zone. McGovern split the pipes once again, and the Eagles surged ahead 41-27 with seven minutes left to play.

Harborfields wouldn’t go quietly, and Cunningham bulled his way up the middle for six points, but the extra-point attempt missed. Rocky Point put the game away with just under two minutes remaining when Rinaldi struck again, and the successful point-after brought the final score to 48-33.

“Harborfields is a tough team,” Lynch said. Opening the fourth quarter, the quarterback said: “We gotta get it done. We’ve just gotta find a way to get it done; it’s as simple as that.”

And the Eagles did.

Rocky Point will hit the road Saturday as the team heads to Miller Place. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Two Smithtown High School East coaches were trapped in a bucket truck during a homecoming football game. Photo by Steve Silverman

Two Smithtown High School East football coaches got stuck 30 feet in the air on Saturday when their hydraulic lift malfunctioned during a homecoming game.

Dix Hills firefighter Jacquelyn Stio helps coach Tim Kopiske to safety after the Smithtown High School East football coach got stuck in a malfunctioning bucket truck at a homecoming game. Photo by Steve Silverman
Dix Hills firefighter Jacquelyn Stio helps coach Tim Kopiske to safety after the Smithtown High School East football coach got stuck in a malfunctioning bucket truck at a homecoming game. Photo by Steve Silverman

The Dix Hills Fire Department came to the rescue that afternoon on the turf of the coaches’ rival, Half Hollow Hills High School East, where they were suspended in a truck’s bucket, according to Steve Silverman, a spokesman for the Town of Huntington Fire Chiefs’ Council. The volunteer firefighters brought their 75-foot ladder truck to get the coaches down, as well as other fire engines, three ambulances and first responder and paramedic units.

Personnel from the Dix Hills Rescue Squad were already on the scene with an ambulance, as they were standing by during the first football game of the season.

Silverman said the rescue was a brother-sister effort: firefighter Matt Stio climbed up and helped coach Tyler O’Neill onto the ladder and down to safety, and then sister Jacquelyn Stio scaled the ladder to do the same for coach Tim Kopiske.

The entire operation was quick, Silverman said. It was just three minutes before the firefighters were on the scene, and the coaches were brought back down to terra firma within another 15 minutes.

No one was injured.

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By Bill Landon

Although Mother Nature smiled on Port Jefferson Saturday morning during the school’s homecoming day parade, the same could not be said for the football game that followed two hours later. Despite the cold and drizzling rain as gusts of wind spoiled the kicking game for both teams, the Royals (2-2) were able to still show Wyandanch what they’re made of, reigning over the visiting team, 34-8, for a sweet homecoming victory.

Port Jefferson struck first in the Division IV matchup when senior fullback Garret Hiz punched into the end zone for a touchdown eight minutes into the game. Although the ensuing two-point conversion attempt failed, the Royals found themselves with an early lead.

“We came out and gave it everything,” Hiz said. “It was rainy, cold and the field was a mess. It was hard to run out there, but we held our own and we got the win.”

In a game riddled with turnovers, Port Jefferson was on the move again thanks to a fumble recovery by junior outside linebacker John Knapp, which set up the next score. After a long run by Hiz to the 3-yard line, senior quarterback Nick Caltagirone finished the drive. The quarterback also helped score on the 2-point conversion attempt, to help the Royals extend their lead to 14-0 with five minutes left in the half.

Caltagirone and sophomore Jack Collins shared the quarterback duties all afternoon, and like Hiz, Collins was also happy with his team’s performance.

“I thought we played well — our backs just powered through their defense,” Collins said. “The ball was tough to handle, there’s a lot of mud out there and the grass is a lot slipperier than turf.”

Wyandanch coughed the ball up again, and this time, it was the junior linebacker Brian Mark on the recovery as the wind gusted and the rain intensified.

The possession did not lead to another score, but Royals opened the second half looking to put the game away.

Caltagirone got the call on the opening drive, and capped it off by diving into the end zone to make it a three-score game. With a failed conversion attempt, Port Jefferson settled for a 20-0 lead.

The senior quarterback said his team had several miscues, but grew stronger as the game wore on.

“Honestly, I thought we played a little bit sloppy, but overall we kicked it in, especially in the second half,” Caltagirone said. “The conditions were rough, it was a dogfight, it was slick — everybody’s slipping all over the place — but other than that, it was a good game.”

Wyandanch couldn’t get any traction, and turned the ball over yet again. This time, junior linebacker Eddie Park recovered the ball to set up the Royals’ next score.

In the closing minute of the third, with the ball at midfield, Port Jefferson senior running back Michael DiCalogero went to work. When the handoff up the middle went nowhere, DiCalogero bounced it outside and went the distance down the right sideline as he scampered into the end zone. The Royals lost traction, and again failed to convert on the two-point play, as they surged ahead 26-0.

“We wanted to play a clean game — as clean of a game with the elements you have here — but the conditions are definitely more suited for our style of play,” Port Jefferson head coach Andrew Cosci said. “We came out in the second half looking to finish the game, so I was proud of the guys for playing hard the whole game and not letting up.”

Two minutes into the final quarter, the Warriors scored when Christian Flowers bulled his way up the middle, broke free from tacklers and found the end zone. Flowers finished it with two more points, as his team trailed 26-8.

With five minutes left, Caltagirone found the end zone for his third touchdown of the afternoon.

Cosci said it has been a frustrating start to the season, after opening with a win to drop two big losses, 23-8 and 34-6, and he looked for Caltagirone to have the kind of game he did.

“This is the first time we’ve seen him play the way he’s capable of playing, and he can carry a team when he plays like that,” Cosci said.

DiCalogero put the icing on the homecoming cake with the two-point conversion, to put the 34-8 victory into the record books.

The Royals will have their hands full on Saturday when they host undefeated Shoreham-Wading River. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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Gorgeous weather and a huge crowd set the stage for a Homecoming Day at Huntington Saturday. The festivities capped off a week that included spirit days, a pep rally, float building and an evening dance in the school gym.

Hundreds of students of all ages turned out for a midday parade through the heart of the village and up New York Ave., accompanied by district trustees and administrators, parents, teachers, family members and alumni. The Blue Devils marching band played along the way, while its booming sounds drew folks out of shops.

“Homecoming in Huntington is a very special thing,” Principal Brenden Cusack said. “It’s a whole community event that brings everyone together. You can feel a true sense of Blue Devils pride throughout the week leading up to the big game. It’s a great experience.”

A crowd of nearly 2,000 watched the Huntington football team battle Suffolk County Division II top-seeded Half Hollow Hills West on Saturday following the parade. The Blue Devils scored first, when senior wide receiver Jahmik Curry received a 10-yard pass from senior quarterback Will Wright and the kick after failed, to raise the hopes of fans, and the teams were tied in the third, 14-14, before the Colts rallied for a 28-20 victory.

Halftime of the football game saw performances by the marching band and the Highsteppers. Royal Court members Vincent Fredericks, Spencer Pashkin, Infinite Tucker, Dan Mollitor, Sarah Fernandez, Cassandra Berwick, Holly LoTurco and Alexandra Berwick were introduced to the crowd before Mollitor and Alexandra Berwick were crowned homecoming king and queen.

“It’s an absolute honor to be named homecoming king by my class,” Mollitor said. “I’ve shared so many incredible moments with them and couldn’t ask to graduate with a better group of people. It will be sad to leave at the end of June. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Huntington High School.”

Senior running back Doug Taylor scored on a 50-yard run for the second touchdown of the day, and senior wide receiver Infinite Tucker received a pass from Wright to complete the 2-point conversion in the third. Half Hollow Hills West returned an interception 31 yards for the score, and senior wide receiver Exzayvian Crowell scored on a 1-yard run and the extra-point attempt was missed, bringing the final score to 28-20.

“It was just a beautiful day featuring a fantastic turnout for a spirited parade,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Thank you to the many from all of our schools who participated. Our Blue Devils fought hard against a top county-ranked team and gained confidence in the process.”

The Ward Melville football team got on the scoreboard first Saturday in a battle on the gridiron against visiting Northport, but the Tigers ultimately spoiled the Patriots’ homecoming celebration, winning 35-21.

Ward Melville (1-2) opened the scoring with an impressive 16-play, 82-yard drive, capped by senior running back Nick Cervone’s 7-yard touchdown run and junior kicker Joe LaRosa’s point after, to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

But Northport responded with a touchdown run of its own to tie it up.

With 1:57 left in the quarter, Ryan Elliot punctuated a nine-play, 65-yard march with a 13-yard touchdown run. With the point-after attempt successful by Ryan Tromblee, the game was tied, 7-7.

On the next possession, Northport intercepted senior quarterback Matthew O’Hea’s pass over the middle. The pass, which was intercepted by Northport safety Dan Preston, was returned 70 yards for the tiebreaking score.

Northport continued to light up the scoreboard, and took advantage of two turnovers, scoring three touchdowns to end the first half leading 35-7.

The Tigers didn’t score after the halftime break, while Ward Melville capitalized on two opportunities in the fourth to close the gap, 35-21.

First, junior wide receiver John Corpac scored on a 15-yard pass from O’Hea, who finished the game going 10-for-16 with 101 yards and two interceptions, and after, senior wide receiver Vincent Negri scored off a 1-yard pass from junior quarterback Wesley Manning.

Ward Melville looks to bounce back from the loss when the Patriots travel to Sachem North Friday, with the hopes of spoiling their opponent’s homecoming festivities. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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By Bill Landon

The Northport football team briefly enjoyed a two-touchdown lead early in the game, and Sachem North may have came back to take the lead in the second quarter, but the Tigers wouldn’t let their homecoming game go that easily Saturday, and clawed their way back to pull out a come-from-behind victory, 29-22.

Northport hit the scoreboard first four minutes in when senior running back Rob Dosch went the distance for a 20-yard score, and senior wide receiver and kicker Ryan Tromblee split the uprights for a 7-0 lead.

“It was a great block — the play was designed to go up the middle,” Dosch said. “It started to the right, I cut back left; it was great blocking up front with a huge hole and just used some speed.”

Northport running back Rob Dosch makes his way upfield while he carries Sachem North defenders in the Tigers' 29-22 homecoming win over the Flaming Arrows on Sept. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Northport running back Rob Dosch makes his way upfield while he carries Sachem North defenders in the Tigers’ 29-22 homecoming win over the Flaming Arrows on Sept. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

On a play that was slow to develop, Dosch ran down the sideline and cut back inside to find the end zone, again. This time, it was a 29-yard play at the 3:44 mark. Tromblee nailed the kick, and helped the team edge ahead, 14-0.

After a slow start, Sachem North began to move the chains when senior quarterback David McCarthy, on a keeper, broke it outside for a long gain to the Tigers’ 16-yard line. To open the second quarter, the Flaming Arrows finished it when senior running back Steve Anacreon broke free for six points, and with the extra-point attempt successful, the team closed the gap, 14-7.

Sachem North, on their longest sustained drive of the game, marched down the field and capped it off with another six points, as Anacreon struck again to close within a point, 14-13.

The Flaming Arrows then turned lemons into lemonade on a bad snap on the extra-point attempt, when after the holder picked up the ball, he rolled to his right and found an open receiver in the end zone for the two-point conversion. Fortune smiled on Sachem North as the Flaming Arrows took their first lead of the game, 15-14.

With seven seconds left in the half, the Tigers attempted a field goal from the 28-yard line, only to have it blocked.

With the wind out of the south all afternoon, Sachem North kicked off with the wind on its back to open the second half. The ball almost sailed over the head of Northport’s senior kick returner and running back Enzo D’Angelo, who had to make a leaping, one-handed catch to field the ball at his team’s own 1-yard line.

Northport wide receiver John Tabert makes a diving catch in Northport's 29-22 homecoming win over Sachem North on Sept. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Northport wide receiver John Tabert makes a diving catch in Northport’s 29-22 homecoming win over Sachem North on Sept. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

It might have been wiser to let the ball carry into the end zone, but D’Angelo took off. The senior cut inside as he followed several blockers before breaking it to the outside, leaving would-be tacklers behind as he covered 99 yards for the touchdown run that helped the Tigers retake the lead.

“It was really my blockers that did the job for me,” D’Angelo said. “When I caught it I saw the open hole; it was the blockers up front, and I just ran through it.”

With the point after good, Northport edged ahead 21-15.

After a sustained drive, Sachem North marched deep into Tigers territory when Anacreon got the call. Again, he punched it in for the score three yards out to tie the game, 21-21. The Flaming Arrows split the pipes for the extra point and retook the lead, 22-21, to open the final quarter.

With just under six minutes left in the game, the Tigers pounded their way into field goal range. The kick just missed to the left, to leave Northport still down a point.

Northport’s defense made a critical stop with 3:23 left in the game, where the team held Sachem North to a three-and-out, forcing them to punt on fourth and 15. From the punt formation, the Flaming Arrows faked the kick, and the punter took off with the ball, gaining 14 yards — just one yard shy of the first down, but Northport took over on downs, and with excellent field position.

Northport quarterback Andrew Smith throws the ball over the middle in Northport's 29-22 homecoming win over Sachem North on Sept. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Northport quarterback Andrew Smith throws the ball over the middle in Northport’s 29-22 homecoming win over Sachem North on Sept. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

Northport senior quarterback Andrew Smith said his team got off to a slow start, but came on strong in the second half for the homecoming win.

“We really ran the ball well in the second half and everyone pushed today,” Smith said.

From the 29-yard line, Dosch went to work as he bowled his way up the middle to move the chains to the 14-yard line. Dosch got the call again as he punched through a hole up front and made his way into the end zone untouched for his third touchdown of the afternoon.

“The defense slanted to the hole that we were supposed to go to and my running back Dan Preston was my lead blocker,” Dosch said. “[Dan] recognized where they were, and there was one man [to beat] on the outside, and I just ran off his block.”

To make it a seven-point lead Northport, Smith went for two as he dropped back and rolled to his left. In a play that was slow to develop, senior tight end Kristian Gerken crossed to the left side of the end zone, and Smith spotted Gerken after checking for his primary receivers, as the two connected for the successful attempt.

“Our line held so I had plenty of time to throw,” Smith said.

Dosch said Smith threw a good ball, and pointed to Gerken as a strong receiver.

“Kristian Gerken is a big kid — kind of a Rob Gronkowski type — who just used his body, went up, made the catch,” he said. “[He’s got] great hands and that sealed it.”

Northport stretched their lead, 29-22, with 2:24 left.

With time running out, Sachem North, on its final offensive drive, did not go quietly. On a fourth and 20, the Flaming Arrows completed a pass over the middle, as the receiver turned upfield. The Tigers made the stop again, one yard short of the marker, and Northport took over on downs with 1:12 left in the game.

“Our kids just never give up — persevering, never feeling like we couldn’t do it, and we stayed right in there,” Northport head coach Kip Lukralle said. “We have confidence in each other and confidence in what we do, and that paid off today.”

Smith took three knees to run out the clock for a very sweet homecoming victory.