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Touchdown

By Joe Galotti

On Saturday afternoon, the Smithtown West football team found the end zone a half dozen times before halftime, and put an exclamation mark on the school’s homecoming weekend festivities with a 48-28 victory over Centereach. The Bulls improved to 3-0 on the season, and were able to celebrate Smithtown’s 350th anniversary in style.

“This was just another step in the right direction,” Smithtown West head coach Pete Cerullo said. “The offense and defense executed the way they were supposed to. It was a great win, and I’m proud of our team.”

Senior quarterback Daniel Caroussos led the Bulls’ offensive assault in the game, doing plenty of damage with both his arm and his legs. The senior threw for a touchdowns and 163 yards, and ran for 74 yards and three touchdowns.

“This week of practice we prepared well,” Caroussos said. “The scout team gave us a great look. We knew what they were going to come out with.”

Centereach senior quarterback Nick Juvelier also put together a memorable day. He completed 24 of 40 passes, and threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns.

“I got to give credit to my receivers, really,” Juvelier said. “I just got a lot of playmakers around me.”

Centereach senior wide receivers Justin Eck and Mark Pirollo, and junior wide receiver Rob Montgomery all finished with touchdown receptions for Cougars on the day. Even though the team found success through the air, it was Smithtown West that was in control, from nearly start to finish.

Junior running back James Caddigan Jr. opened the scoring for the Bulls with a 7-yard touchdown run just 3:53 into the game. With 1:40 remaining in the opening quarter, Caddigan Jr. struck again, this time, with a 12-yard rushing touchdown.

Before the end of the first, Caroussos broke the game open for Smithtown West with a 25-yard rushing touchdown on a keeper play, which gave the Bulls a 21-0 advantage.

In the second quarter, Caroussos threw and ran for a touchdown. Smithtown West also scored on an interception by senior linebacker Daniel Varello, which he returned 25 yards to the end zone. The Bulls took a healthy 34-point lead into halftime.

The Cougars did manage to show signs of life in the second half, outscoring their opponent 21-7 in the game’s final 24 minutes. Despite the final score, Centereach head coach Adam Barrett still has of faith in his team moving forward.

“We were 2-0 before we came into this game, and we know what it takes to win,” Barrett said. “Now we got to get back on track.”

The Cougars will look for a bounce-back performance, when they host Half Hollows Hill East this Saturday at 2 p.m. Meanwhile, red-hot Smithtown West will be back at Robert W. Pratt Field this Friday night, when they welcome No. 2-seeded Riverhead. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m., and Caroussos said his team will be ready for the challenge.

“This game was a huge confidence booster for us, especially going into next week,” he said. “That’s going to be a great competition for us. We’re expecting that to be a great game.”

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.