Tags Posts tagged with "Wolverines"


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Isaiah Israel evades a tackle as he plow his way up the middle. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Newfield’s No. 6 football team made it a one-point game twice in its qualifying matchup against Half Hollow Hills West Nov. 5, but couldn’t overtake the No. 3 seed, falling 35-26.

“I’m so proud of our players — they left it out on the field,” Newfield head coach Joe Piccininni said. “They played Newfield football, and we can’t be more proud of them because their effort out there on the field is a championship [in itself].”

Justin Ottenwalder drags a tackler as moved the ball up the field. Photo by Bill Landon
Justin Ottenwalder drags a tackler as moved the ball up the field. Photo by Bill Landon

Hills West struck first three minutes in with a 3-yard plunge into the end zone. The Colts found touchdown land again four minutes later to break out to a 14-0 lead.

Newfield senior Tom Long, who shared quarterback duties with freshman Max Martin all afternoon, helped his team to the Colts’ 22-yard line, and handed the ball off to senior running back Isaiah Israel, who slipped passed two tacklers and went the distance to break the ice for the Wolverines. Senior wide receiver and linebacker Christopher Lopez split the uprights to make it a one-score game.

With just over two minutes left in the first half on a 4th down from the 8-yard line, Long was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled looking for an open receiver. On the run, he found senior Justin Ottenwalder cutting to the corner of the end zone and threw a touchdown strike to close the gap, but when the point-after attempt failed, Newfield was left down, 14-13.

The Wolverines’ defense struggled with the Colts’ running game, which gobbled up yardage through the middle of the field, and finished a sustained drive on a short-yardage play to edge ahead 21-13 with just over a minute left in the first half.

Newfield’s’ running game stammered, and struggled to gain ground against Hills West’s defense, which caused the Wolverines to move to the air. After two consecutive pass plays, and with time running out in the second stanza, Long used his hurry-up offense to throw a deep pass to his favorite receiver, Ottenwalder, who was flying down the right sideline. He caught a 48-yard pass in stride, and Lopez’s foot made it a one-point game, 21-20, to close out the half.

Tom Long throws the ball deep into Half Hollow Hills West territory. Photo by Bill Landon
Tom Long throws the ball deep into Half Hollow Hills West territory. Photo by Bill Landon

At the 7:54 mark of the third quarter, Hills West’s Alexander Filacouris broke from the line and found the end zone for his third touchdown of the afternoon to put the Colts out front 28-20.

Newfield lined up in punt formation on a 4th and 7 on the 42-yard line on its next drive, and Long, who is also the punter, took the long snap and threw to Israel running over the middle, and he took the ball to the 8-yard line. Israel finished what he started, and plowed up the middle for the touchdown to trail by two points.

Newfield knew what it needed to do, and lined up for the 2-point conversion attempt to tie the game. Long rolled to his right and threw to an open Ottenwalder, but the Colts’ defense knocked the pass down.

The one-score game was short lived, and Hills West struck again with just over two minutes left in the third, and with the point-after attempt successful, stretched the lead to 35-26.

“They’re an extremely talented team, they’re big and they’re physical,” Piccininni said of the Colts. “We were down 10 points, so the only way to move the ball downfield in that amount of time was to put the ball in the air and to utilize the clock.”

With time running out, the Wolverines threw over the middle only to have a pass picked off at the 1-yard line. Hills West ran the ball up the middle to buy some time, and took two knees to seal the deal.

“I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach a great group of seniors, and watch the leadership they’ve shown,” Piccininni said. “I’m proud of our players — they left it all out in the field.”

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Rafael Celanti gets a shot on goal off a corner kick. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

Rafael Celanti started off this season as a center midfielder, and after the decision to move him to center forward, the sophomore’s coaches — and the rest of the Newfield boys’ soccer team — are reaping the benefits.

Nick Gomez heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Nick Gomez heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Celanti repeatedly came through for his team after the change, and helped the Wolverines make history. He scored early for his second game-winning goal of the postseason in a 2-0 victory over previously undefeated Hauppauge (15-1-3) Oct. 31, which sent his team to the Suffolk County finals for the first time in school history.

“He’s been a superstar,” Newfield’s 12-year head coach Jamie Santiago said of Celanti. “He’s doing everything a center forward does — he holds the plays up, he scores goals, he’s so elusive there. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for him.”

Celanti scored in the eighth minute of the contest when he blasted a shot into the bottom left corner.

“I saw the center back coming inside, and he backed away and thought the goalie was going to pick it up, so I ran and got to it first,” the sophomore said. “I’m speechless. Newfield never made it this far and I’m happy to be part of it.”

The Wolverines battled through its 16-1-1 season tallying nine shutouts with a handful of come-from-behind wins. Senior center back John Alves knew what it would take to get the Wolverines further than any Newfield team had been before.

“I told the boys it’s going to be a battle, but it’s just going to be another game of soccer,” he said. “I told them we need to settle down and play our game, and we scored early, which helped our emotions.”

Anthony Mauri screams in celebration following the semifinal win. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Anthony Mauri screams in celebration following the semifinal win. Photo by Desirée Keegan

After several pushes made by Hauppauge to even the score, sophomore center attack and midfielder Nick Gomez put the game out of reach when he headed in a free kick by senior Mike DiDominico.

“It’s an indescribable feeling,” he said of the team making history, adding he was also thankful that his coach didn’t listen to him when he asked for a substitute to get him off the field right before the free kick. “It felt great to make it in and extend the lead for my team.”

Santiago said he was proud of his team’s achievements this season, which so far include nabbing the League III title and making it to the Class AA finals after not making the semis in 17 years.

“These guys have been through so much all season long,” he said. “There’s been peaks and valleys of emotions and to be the first team to make the finals is historic, and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone and their effort. It’s a joyous occasion for all of us.”

Santiago also credited Alves, the team’s leader on the back line. Sophomore goalkeeper Loui Chen made several diving, quick-reaction saves to maintain the clean sheet. He finished with eight saves.

No. 3 Newfield will face No. 4 Brentwood in the finals at Diamond in the Pines in Coram Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.

While Santiago said Brentwood is a program the Wolverines aspire to be like, Alves said his team has the right mindset to continue to make history.

“This season’s been a war, and we’ve battled the entire time to come out on top,” he said. “The emotions are crazy right now. I’m happy to finally do something for the school — put ourselves on the map. I tell my teammates to fight for the person next to you and play as hard as you can, and I’m confident we can continue to battle to reach new heights. We’re here to play.”

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The Newfield girls' soccer team walks off the field winners. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

The Newfield girls’ soccer team faced an uphill climb late in its first-round playoff matchup with Bay Shore, but three clutch goals helped the Wolverines survive and advance.

Emily Diaz sends the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Emily Diaz sends the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Freshman Sierra Rosario headed in the final goal that gave her team a 4-3 lead with 3:41 left to play. It was the third scored in six minutes by the No. 7 Wolverines, as they battled back to top No. 10 Bay Shore in the first round of the Suffolk County Class AA playoffs Oct. 24.

“That was the scariest moment of my life,” Rosario, a midfielder, said of the final goal. “Vaneeya [Volino] put a good ball in, I flicked it and it went into the bottom right corner. Our heads could’ve gone down, but we kept lifting each other up. Everyone put in 100 percent of the effort from the first whistle to the last. No one really got down on each other, even going down two goals, we kept motivating one another and it shows we have so much heart.”

Newfield put on the pressure to start the game, keeping the ball in Bay Shore’s zone for most of the first half, but the two teams went into the break in a 0-0 draw.

“I need relentless off-the-ball movement,” Newfield head coach Domenik Veraldi said he told his team at halftime. “We need to keep up the intensity and the pressure.”

The Wolverines did just that in the second half. Senior defender Volino’s corner-kick goal just over a minute in off a send in from senior midfielder Kristen Prevosto gave Newfield the lead.

Kristen Prevosto celebrates her team's come-from-behind win. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kristen Prevosto celebrates her team’s comeback win. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Junior goalkeeper Alexis Saladino made a diving save on Bay Shore’s first shot on goal of the game almost 10 minutes later. A direct free kick at the 20:20 mark went just over Saladino’s head, as she jumped straight up but couldn’t get her fingers on the ball. Six minutes later, she rushed out of the box to make a block, but missed on Bay Shore’s breakaway, as the ball rolled into the net to give the Marauders a 3-1 edge.

Prevosto pulled her team within one when she sent a shot from 20 yards out straight into the net off another free kick from Volino, and junior defender Taylor Regensburger tied the score off a breakaway pass from Volino with 6:38 left in regulation.

“I saw the ball and I thought the girl in front of me was going to head it, but I saw it go over and I know how to bring it down, relax and find the low corners, and I got it,” Prevosto said. “We came in, we were hungry, and obviously, we ate.”

Regensburger said her strategy was to also keep the ball low.

“It was me and the goalie and I knew I had to play to the corners because she’s very tall,” she said. “It feels great to come this far because we’ve never done it before.”

Taylor Regensburger heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Taylor Regensburger heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Wolverines were part of a developmental league in 2012, designed for weaker teams to play competitive games without the possibility of postseason play, and tallied 15 wins over the following three seasons. Many girls on this Newfield team were on a two-win team in 2013.

“This is my favorite season so far,” said Veraldi, who was an assistant coach in 2012. “They just made a memory they’ll have their entire life. When they play with that kind of heart and that commitment — they never give up and you can see it there with three goals in under 10 minutes — they don’t cease to shock me. This is what we expect. I was composed when we were down 3-1 because I expected them to, as a team, pull it together and come through. And they did.”

Newfield travels to No. 2 Smithtown West Oct. 27 for a 2:30 p.m. matchup.

“Newfield came from a developmentally challenged team four years ago, to being here in the playoffs, and we’re not done,” Prevosto said. “It feels great to make it this far but we’re not finished. We’re going to go into the game on Thursday ready to win.”

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Bryan Yanes grabs a pass downfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

With a 2-1 win over West Islip Oct. 7, the 8-1-1 Newfield boys’ soccer team is one step closer to being named League III champions.

Rafael Celanti moves the ball through midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Rafael Celanti moves the ball through midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The route to that ultimate goal will continue to challenge the Wolverines, with teams like West Islip fighting for postseason life, and others, like No.1 Smithtown West (10-1), challenging them for the top spot.

“We told them that against a lot of teams that are fighting for their playoff lives, it’s going to get chippy,” Newfield head coach Jamie Santiago said. “But they need to maintain composure, because a lot of teams are going to get them off their game and push them out of their element.”

West Islip did just that in the first half. After scoring the first goal of the game, tempers flared and pushing and shoving resulted in multiple yellow cards for both teams.

Heading into halftime still down a goal, the referees pulled aside captains from both teams to talk about the physicality.

“It happens — they talk — it’s a game, and I told the team to just relax,” senior center back John Alves said. “We’re trying to win the league here, so I told my guys to keep their hands down, get the ball, calm down and to just play our game.”

Mike DiDominico sends the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mike DiDominico sends the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Wolverines opened up the second half very differently. They finally broke through midfield and into West Islip’s zone.

Almost 10 minutes into the second half, senior midfielder Anthony Mauri grabbed a pass, raced around his opponents through midfield, and sent the ball up top to Rafael Celanti. One-on-one with a defender as he made his way to the box, the sophomore midfielder and center forward won the battle, and stuffed the ball into the left corner past a diving goalkeeper to even the score.

“I thought the defender was going to come in at me, so I took a touch forward and got past him,” Celanti said. “Then, it was just me and the goalie and I tapped it into the corner and felt a rush of excitement. This was an important win.”

Celanti had plenty of other opportunities in the game, which impressed his coach.

“Raphael Celanti had a great game,” Santiago said. “He scored, and he missed a couple of headers, but he was just all over the field creating a lot of opportunities. I thought our center midfielders also played a great second half.”

Winning the 50/50 balls was a key to the team’s second-half success.

“When you go down you think you’re going to keep getting scored on, but our team, we get back up — our hearts are always in the game,” Alves said. “So we kept possession — winning the first and second ball — we’re not scared of going into tackles, we’re not scared of shooting the ball. It’s all about going hard and having heart.”

Adrian Izzaguire battles for the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Adrian Izzaguire battles for the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With 14 minutes left, senior forward Michael DiDominico headed in the game-winner.

“We gave up a bad goal early — we got punished for being slow out of the gate — but as the game went on we built momentum and finally started playing the way we’re capable of, and we turned the tide our way,” Santiago said. “That’s what good teams do. They find a way to win even when they’re not playing their best game.”

He’s hoping his team can do the same thing against Smithtown West Oct. 14. Newfield faced off against the Bulls Sept. 17 and came out on top 2-0, handing the team its only loss of the season.

“It’s a really, really big game,” Santiago said. “Hopefully they can pull out a big win. We have good senior leadership with a great core of young kids — we start five sophomores out of the 11 — and it’s just a good mix. This is one of the best teams I’ve had in my 12 years being a coach. They’re going to fight to the end.”

Wolverines are on track to make the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years

Newfield's Emily Diaz gets her body on the ball as she sends it into the net. Photo by Desirée Keegan

All Emily Diaz had to do was put her body on it.

As senior center midfielder Kristen Prevosto sent in a corner kick for the Newfield girls’ soccer team, Diaz, a junior forward, was in the right place at the right time.

Newfield's Kristen Prevosto heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Newfield’s Kristen Prevosto heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“When I was standing in front of the net — I’m always on the goalie — I asked Emily [Caso] to go on the goalie so I could get the ball,” Diaz said of her game-winning goal. “I saw it, and thought, ‘this is me.’ So out of the air I had nowhere else to go with it then to push it with my stomach. It went in, and I was psyched.”

With a 2-1 victory over Smithtown East Sept. 26, the Wolverines are on track to make the postseason for the first time in over a decade. Although compiling two ties over a nine-game span, the Wolverines bested reigning state champion Port Jefferson, 3-2, in their season opener, proving they’re talented enough to hang with the best. They’re also learning from their mistakes.

Newfield tied Smithtown East, 1-1, the first time the two teams saw each other Sept. 7. This time around, the girls were hungry to continue their winning ways, with the team’s third straight win, and now have a record of 5-1-2 in League III.

“It’s one of the strongest starts we’ve gotten off to, ,” Newfield head coach Domenik Veraldi said. “But we just think about winning this game, winning the first half, winning the first 10 minutes and winning the ball. We compartmentalize into small, small goals and eventually when we accomplish those small goals it turns into what we want in the end.”

And Newfield did all of those things.

First, the team won the 50/50 balls, and despite Smithtown East senior midfielder Brianna Donato getting back-to-backs shots on goal, Newfield’s junior goalkeeper Alexis Saladino made save after save.

Smithtown East's Brianna Donato controls a pass. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown East’s Brianna Donato controls a pass. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We try to keep the ball in the offensive third, and when we can do that, it takes the pressure off of our defense,” Veraldi said. “The only way to keep it up there is to win those air balls; work to every play. We train them to win — not the 50/50 balls — but our balls.”

Newfield junior defender Taylor Regensburger, who was soft but tactical with her foot skills, curled a corer kick into the goal to open the scoring for the Wolverines three minutes into the second half.

Three minutes later, Donato knocked the ball to the floor as she dribbled toward the box, and sent it into the left corner to tie the game for the Bulls.

The two teams traded possession throughout much of the game, but the Wolverines clawed their way up top, making strategic passes and remaining aggressive until, and even after Prevosto set up the game-winning shot.

“It’s awesome to see a team come together as well as we have,” Prevosto said. “I knew we needed to score, so I set the ball up, concentrated on where I was going to put it, and placed it.”

She said her team has improved tremendously from her eighth-grade year to now, and Diaz agreed.

“We have been playing together for a long time,” Diaz said. “We were a young team that continued to grow together. As the season progresses we build on that chemistry day after day, we’re working hard in practice, we’re all really good friends and it’s fun to be on the field, and that’s why we keep winning.”

Newfield's Taylor Regensburger leads the race to the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Newfield’s Taylor Regensburger leads the race to the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

What she liked about her team’s style, compared to Smithtown East’s, is that the Wolverines use more combinations, whereas the Bulls kicked and ran.

Chemistry plays a part in the team’s ability to transition the ball up and down the field. Veraldi said because of this, his group is one to be reckoned with.

“When they play with that much heart and that kind of work ethic, we’re a dangerous team,” he said.

And Diaz anticipates for her team to take it all the way.

“We have to keep our heads up and keep fighting back for the win,” she said. “I have high expectations for us and we’re achieving them every game. We take it game by game by game, and we’re on the road to playoffs.”

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Jelani Greene leaps over North Babylon’s defense and into the end zone for a Newfield touchdown. File photo by Bill Landon

By Joseph Wolkin

The Newfield football squad cruised through the season in 2015, going undefeated for the first time in school history and winning the Long Island Class II football title.

Led by seniors Elijah Riley, Jelani Greene, Dylan Ferrari and Ryan Klemm, the Wolverines powered their way to a Long Island championship victory against MacArthur. The triumph, however, was just the start of a busy few months for the team’s leaders, who have all signed to battle on the gridiron at the next level. It’s a huge feat considering how far the team has come in the last several years, to get back to the championship form it first saw back in 2011, when the Wolverines brought home the first Long Island championship title in program history.

“They are right up there with the best players,” longtime head coach Joe Piccininni said of the 2011 team. “They were a ground-and-pound team. They would just keep coming after you and they wouldn’t stop. This year’s team was physical, but they didn’t need to be that physical because they had more finesse.”

Elijah Riley lunges for extra yards . File photo by Bill Landon
Elijah Riley lunges for extra yards . File photo by Bill Landon

Riley signed with the United States Military Academy, joining the Army West Point Black Knights football squad. The cornerback and wide receiver won the Hansen Award for most outstanding player from the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association after racking up 1,727 total yards in his senior year, including 1,012 rushing yards with 19 touchdowns. Being on the receiving end of an additional 11 touchdowns, he led the team in both categories, becoming the team’s most explosive offensive weapon, according to Piccininni.

“On the field, he is a football player,” the head coach said of Riley. “He understands the offense and defense. He can be electric at times and he can be physical at times — he does everything well. He understands the game of football; he knows his surroundings. He knows the different situations and knows what’s needed to move forward.”

During the championship game against MacArthur, Riley took a knee 6 yards from the end zone with 50 seconds remaining on the clock to limit the time MacArthur would have to tie the game. It was a heads-up play that exhibited his smarts, which went along nicely with his pair of touchdowns, that helped the Wolverines win 41-33.

In Piccininni’s mind, it wasn’t the touchdowns that stood out.

“He did the right thing, and it shows his character when he took a knee,” he said. “That shows what kind of person he is. What really helped was him staying calm week to week and focusing on each opponent. He was great because the team would follow his lead.”

For Riley, the performance in the championship game was just one of many that set the standard prior to his signing with Army. He caught at least one touchdown in nine of the team’s 12 matchups, in addition to rushing for multiple touchdowns in seven games.

On the defensive side of the ball, Riley led the team with 45 solo tackles, along with three interceptions, which resulted in him receiving the Tom Cassese Award, presented to Suffolk’s top defensive back.

Greene signed to play at the University of New Hampshire this fall. He will be playing wide receiver for head coach Sean McDonnell.

Dylan Ferrari sacks a quarterback. File photo by Bill Landon
Dylan Ferrari sacks a quarterback. File photo by Bill Landon

At Newfield, Greene was second to Riley with 685 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

“Jelani is one of the top receivers on Long Island,” Piccininni said of Greene, who earned the National Football Foundation Award as Suffolk’s top wide receiver. “His ability to go up and get the ball made him another one who put his team first. He’d be one of the first ones out there on the field, running his routes before practice and taking care of the little things.”

Greene was also a key member of the Newfield’s special teams unit. Serving as the punter, he averaged 36.4 yards on 11 tries. He chipped in five returns, with a long of 90 yards.

“It felt good to go into a system that didn’t have much success the previous year, so everyone was hungry, looking to step up, compete and win games,” Greene said. “They were looking at me for answers and it was a lot of pressure. I knew coming into the season that I was going to be one of the guys they were going to depend on, and I learned how to be a leader and be humble. I learned to be more appreciative of the success I had. It takes more than being just a good football player to succeed.”

Greene started his high school career playing for Longwood, but transferred to Newfield ahead of his senior year. The switch allowed him to play a more pivotal role than if he stayed at Longwood.

“It was a nightmare, but it was a blessing in disguise,” he said.

At New Hampshire, he’ll spend time as a slot receiver and on the outside, along with what he says he loves most — the return game.

Ferrari is heading to SUNY Cortland, where he will be competing for a starting defensive end job.

At Newfield, he led the team with 18 tackles for loss in his senior year; he had 71 total tackles including 32 solo.

“Dylan was a two-way starter for us at the line,” Piccininni said. “Defense is his better part of the game. He has a real ability to turn it on during a game. He has a lot of athleticism for a lineman … of his size. He utilizes his athleticism extremely well.”

Ferrari played through a broken left thumb during the semifinal game against North Babylon, showcasing his ability to push through the pain barrier during the final two games of the season.

Ryan Klemm runs a quarterback-keep play for Newfield. File photo by Bill Landon
Ryan Klemm runs a quarterback-keep play for Newfield. File photo by Bill Landon

With three multi-sack games on the year, Ferrari caught the attention of SUNY Cortland’s head coach, Dan MacNeill.

“He is really a terrific football player,” MacNeill said. “What we do is try to project the young men that can come in and try to make us better, and Dylan was one of those players we looked at on film. You take a look at his size at 6 feet, 2 inches, 240 pounds and he has a great ability to pass-rush, which really speaks to athleticism. You just can’t teach that kind of stuff.”

Ferrari was named the Rob Burnett Award winner this past season, which recognizes the top defensive player in Suffolk County. He had a team-high nine sacks on the year, racking up 14 total in his two seasons with the Wolverines.

Klemm will be playing quarterback at the University of Delaware come August.

Klemm was among the best quarterbacks in New York state, ranking fifth in total yards from scrimmage with over 2,400 and second in total touchdowns with 31. He threw just one interception all season. It came during the second game of the year against Half Hollow Hills West.

With a 68.1 percent completion rate his senior year, Klemm caught the attention of Blue Hens head coach Dave Brock. However, with three quarterbacks already on the team, he will have to work his way up the depth chart.

Each player knows they’ll have at least one supporter pulling for them — their head coach at Newfield High School.

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By Bill Landon

Behind Centereach junior Cassidy Treanor’s 13 points, the Cougars held off a third-quarter charge by Newfield to defeat their crosstown rival 37-24 on their own court Tuesday.

Newfield’s Maria Daume races to the basket. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield’s Maria Daume races to the basket. Photo by Bill Landon

Centereach broke out to an early lead, 12-5, as Treanor led her team in the opening quarter by scoring a pair of field goals and a three-pointer at the buzzer.

The Cougars controlled the tempo of the game early as senior Katrina Gangji dominated the boards with 11 rebounds on the evening.

The Wolverines fought back and managed to close within six points, mainly due to senior Maria Daume’s two field goals and sophomore Emily Diaz’s three-pointer with 4:55 left in the second period, but the team still couldn’t come any closer than that until the third quarter.

Diaz said her team tries to forget what has happened in the past and only focus on fixing their mistakes. “At the half, coach told us we had to mark up better, hustle back and finish on our shots,” she said. “But it’s always fun playing against them because we’re all good friends.”

Centereach sophomore Erin Tuomey also made her presence known down low with an impressive rebounding performance under the boards.

“Our team had good communication,” she said. “Everyone was talking and I think we were getting in their heads.”

Trailing 20-12 opening the second half, Newfield abandoned its zone defense and went man-to-man, which caught Centereach off guard.

“It’s pretty tough,” Newfield senior Muariana Milano said of the crosstown competition. “People talk about it so much, but it’s a rivalry — everybody knows each other. We usually play zone, but coach told us to get up in their face and we’re not used to playing like that.”

The Wolverines’ swarming defense turned the tables as Centereach struggled for open looks, forcing them to shoot from outside.

Centereach’s Cassidy Treanor drives the baseline. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach’s Cassidy Treanor drives the baseline. Photo by Bill Landon

“We cut it to four points near the end of the third quarter, but then I think we lost a little energy,” Newfield head coach Jamie Santiago said. “We were dead tired going man-to-man the whole time to try to get back in the game.”

Newfield clawed back from another deficit to trail 29-22 to open the final quarter, but didn’t come any closer the rest of the way.

“Our team tends to play to the other team’s speed, and when that happens, the coach always tells us to slow down,” Treanor said. “Coach told us at the half that we play our best when we play our game, and that’s when you get the win.”

Centereach made an adjustment in the final eight minutes of play, and was able to hold Newfield to just two pints as a result, while Gangji, Treanor and senior Erica Medina combined for eight points to put the game away.

“Defensively, we played very, very well in the first half,” Santiago said. “If we could have made a couple of easy layups and a few free throws, the score would’ve been a little closer.”

Centereach head coach James Steigele said the crosstown rivalry is important.

“It’s always an important game, because both teams come out to play and they play hard,” the coach said. “It’s always a nail-biter.”

With the win, Centereach improves to 6-4 in League III, while Newfield falls to 2-8. With four games remaining in regular-season play, the Cougars are back in action Friday night when they hit the road to take on Huntington at 6:15 p.m. The Wolverines host West Islip on Thursday, Jan. 28, with a 5:45 p.m. tipoff scheduled.

By Bill Landon

Huntington led from the opening tipoff and never looked back, as the visiting Blue Devils held Newfield to just 13 points in a 59-13 victory in girls’ basketball action Tuesday night.

Huntington moved the ball effortlessly and controlled the tempo of the game for all 32 minutes, while the Wolverines had difficulty clearing the ball, and struggled to find a rhythm and the rim. The Blue Devils’ defense was overwhelming in the second half, where the team scored 24 unanswered points in the third quarter while holding the Wolverines scoreless.

“They’re a team that’s strong — they work very hard and their effort was nonstop,” said Newfield assistant coach Mike Weaver. “We warned our team at halftime that you have to be prepared, because [Huntington] is not going to give up, and that’s the reason the margin was what it was.”

Huntington head coach Michael Kaplan rested his starters for the final eight minutes of play as the Blue Devils coasted to victory and extended their winning streak to five games. Kaplan said the goal for his team in the game was for every player to get better and not turn the ball over.

“From a defensive standpoint, I thought we played great — we did a good job under the boards,” Kaplan said. “We’ll have to work on our rebounding and limit our offensive turnovers, but this game was a confidence builder.”

Topping the scoreboard for Huntington was sophomore guard Alex Heuwetter with 14 points, followed by junior guard Anna Gulizio with nine.

Gulizio said her team had good reads on the floor and good communication.

“Yes, we did well scoring-wise, but we played much better as a team in the second half,” Gulizio said.

Blue Devils sophomore guard Katie Seccafico, who tallied six points in the contest, agreed with Gulizio that her team was a little flat for the first 16 minutes.

“In that first and second quarter, we weren’t coming together on defense,” Seccafico said. “Coach told us we needed to work harder even though we were winning.”

Huntington junior guard Emma Petrizzi echoed her teammate’s assessment of the performance in the final two quarters.

“We played hard and we never let up,” she said. “We were able to hold the score so low.”

Huntington senior guard and forward Brooke Baade finished with eight points, senior guard Katie Reilly netted seven and Seccafico and senior guard and forward Taylor Moreno rounded out the score by banking six each.

Newfield senior guards Maria Daume and Muariana Milano, and senior forward Kelsey Larkin finished with four points apiece, while sophomore forward Emily Diaz completed the scoring with a free-throw point.

With the win, Huntington improves to 5-1 in League III and 7-2 overall, while Newfield falls to 1-5, and 2-7.

Both teams are back in action Friday as Huntington hosts Smithtown East at 5:45 p.m., while Newfield travels to North Babylon for a 4 p.m. game.

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The Newfield football team poses for a group photo after defeated MacArthur, 41-33, for the Long Island Class II title on Nov. 27 at Hofstra University. Photo by Joe Galotti
Newfield’s Elijah Riley, Joe Saladino, Nick Favaloro, Steven Hoynacky and Isaiah Israel pose with the Long Island Class II football championship trophy after defeating MacArthur, 41-33, on Nov. 27 at Hofstra University. Photo by Newfield High School Video Club
Newfield’s Elijah Riley, Joe Saladino, Nick Favaloro, Steven Hoynacky and Isaiah Israel pose with the Long Island Class II football championship trophy after defeating MacArthur, 41-33, on Nov. 27 at Hofstra University. Photo by the Newfield High School Video Club

By Joe Galotti

Newfield has not faced much adversity this fall. The team entered this year’s Long Island Class II football championship game with an 11-0 record, and had yet to be truly challenged on their quest for a perfect season.

On Friday night at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, the Wolverines were finally tested.

After holding a 20-point advantage over MacArthur at halftime, Newfield quickly saw its lead evaporate to just a single point before the end of the third quarter. But Wolverines senior wideout Elijah Riley refused to let his team lose on this night, running for two touchdowns in the contest’s final quarter to power his team to a 41-33 victory.

“Eli’s been our lightning guy all year,” Wolverines head coach Joe Piccininni said. “He just comes out and makes things happen for us when you least expect it.”

Thanks to Riley’s heroics, Newfield earned its first Long Island Championship since 2011. Senior quarterback Ryan Klemm was excited that the team was able to not only bring the title back to their school, but also record the program’s first ever perfect season.

“It’s awesome,” Klemm said. “They always refer to the 2011 team, and we wanted to do something better — something that they didn’t do. So 12-0 was definitely the goal.”

The Wolverines got off to a quiet on the gridiron, as MacArthur held Newfield’s explosive offense scoreless in the game’s opening 12 minutes. Senior halfback Vin Martino gave the Generals an early 7-0 lead, with a nine-yard touchdown run.

In the second quarter, the Wolverines began to take over.

Newfield’s players stand behind a banner that reads "Let’s Make H15tory" which the Wolverines did, with a 41-33 win over MacArthur for the Class II Long Island championship title and the first undefeated season in program history on Nov. 27 at Hofstra University. Photo by Joe Galotti
Newfield’s players stand behind a banner that reads “Let’s Make H15tory” which the Wolverines did, with a 41-33 win over MacArthur for the Class II Long Island championship title and the first undefeated season in program history on Nov. 27 at Hofstra University. Photo by Joe Galotti

First, Riley got his team on the board with a six-yard touchdown run. Then Klemm left his mark on the championship game, connecting on touchdown passes with senior wide receiver Jelani Greene, senior running back Denzel Williams and senior tight end Austin Gubelman before halftime.

Up 27-7 entering the third, Newfield seemed to have their Class II title wrapped up. But, the Generals were prepared to go down fighting, beginning the second half by recovering an onside kick. Shortly after, Martino found the end zone to make it a 13-point game. MacArthur attempted another onside kick, and once again gained possession. Martino followed that up with his second touchdown in a span of just 34 seconds.

Later in the quarter, MacArthur senior quarterback Jimmy Kelleher threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Jared Wolfe. The ensuing extra-point attempt was missed, but the Wolverines’ lead fell to just 27-26.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Klemm said. “They’re a great team, and we knew we’d have to face adversity eventually, and it came tonight.”

Riley added, “Nobody gets flustered. Everyone knows they have another chance to get the job done and do what they have to do to finish their assignment.”

Nick Adler hugs his new fiancée on the field after proposing following Newfield's 41-33 win over MacArthur for the Wolverine's Long Island Class II championship title. Photo by Joe Galotti
Nick Adler hugs his new fiancée on the field after proposing following Newfield’s 41-33 win over MacArthur for the Wolverine’s Long Island Class II championship title. Photo by Joe Galotti

In the fourth quarter, Riley was able to right the ship for his team. He first provided an eight-yard touchdown run. Then, with 2:49 remaining in regulation, scored on a 30-yard rush, to extend Newfield’s lead to 15 points.

MacArthur added a late touchdown, but failed to pull any closer, as Riley recovered the Generals final onside kick attempt and took a knee just shy of another touchdown, despite any player being within 15 yards of the senior.

“MacArthur did an outstanding job of preparing for us and playing against us,” Piccininni said, “They left their hearts out on the field. They really pushed us to our limits today, but our kids overcame it.”

Also leaving his heart out on the field after the game was Wolverines assistant coach Nick Adler. He proposed to his girlfriend after the team was presented with their championship trophy. And when she said yes, the Wolverines were left with a storybook ending to their perfect season.

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By Bill Landon

It wasn’t like the Newfield football team to trail in a game, but like the first and only other time they found themselves behind this season, it didn’t last.

Both times were against the Colts of Half Hollow Hills West. The first time was when the two teams faced off in September, when the Wolverines went on to outscore their opponent, 41-13. But this time, the teams were on a bigger stage — the Suffolk County Division II championship. Continuing its quest for a perfect season, Newfield propelled past a 20-18 deficit late in the second quarter to help the team claim its second county title since 2011, with a 58-34 victory at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium Friday night.

“From the beginning of the season you work as hard as you can to get here,” Newfield senior Austin Gubelman said. “It’s a surreal feeling, it really is.”

Gubelman, a tight end, scored first on a short run, and after a failed two-point conversion attempt, Hills West cut the Wolverines’ lead in half with a field goal. Newfield senior Elijah Riley, a wide receiver who has been a one-man wrecking machine this postseason with eight touchdowns in the last three games, scored his first of four touchdowns off a handoff he took more than 50 yards for the 12-3 advantage, after another failed two-point conversion attempt, to end the scoring in the first.

The two teams totaled 952 yards, with 516 coming from Newfield. Riley alone finished the game with 146 yards on 11 carries.

With junior Justin Ottenwalder catching a pass up the middle and carrying it 71 yards for a touchdown run, the halfback, who caught three passes for 154 yards and gained 62 yards on eight carries, helped the Wolverines remain in front. But the Colts responded with another field goal and an interception on a screen pass that was returned for a touchdown. With the extra-point attempt successful, Newfield’s opponent took a 20-18 lead with 1:51 left in the half.

Just like in that September matchup, the Wolverines wouldn’t stay behind for long.

With 20 seconds on the clock, Riley took matters into his own hands. He took a handoff up the middle and found nothing. Bouncing off the wall of defenders, the senior looked for an open hole on his first, second and third attempts before cutting to the outside and finding the corner of the end zone from four yards out to put his team out in front, 24-10. From there, the Wolverines never looked back.

Hills West was on the move to start the second half, but a deep throw to a wide receiver was snatched by Newfield senior safety Denzel Williams. From the 18-yard line, Williams returned the interception up field to the 31-yard line. He finished with 108 yards on nine carries.

Newfield senior Ryan Klemm, the team’s quarterback, dumped a screen pass off to Ottenwalder, who jetted down the left sideline, covering 69 yards for the score. With the extra-point attempt by senior kicker Jacob VanEssendelft successful, the Wolverines extended their lead to 31-20 with 7:22 left in the third.

Klemm said he knew his team had the ability to bounce back, and the Wolverines refocused their efforts after a losing record at the end of last year.

“We knew we had a really talented team and we worked very hard in the offseason,” the quarterback said. “It’s surreal right now. It’s an awesome feeling, and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

The Colts fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, and Newfield junior Jesse McKeever scooped it up and took off for the end zone. The cornerback was stopped just shy of the goal line, and the Wolverines offensive unit went back to work. Gubelman got the call and plowed his way up the middle for his second touchdown in the game. With a missed point-after attempt, the tight end put his team out front, 37-20.

With just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Half Hollow Hills West quarterback Anthony Lucarelli found the end zone on a keeper and, with the point after, the Colts closed the gap a bit.

On the ensuing play from scrimmage, Newfield called on Williams, the Middle Country sprinter, who dashed 64 yards across the field, leading blockers all the way to the end zone. With the kick from VanEssendelft good, Newfield jumped out to a 44-27 advantage.

And after a Hills West three-and-out, Newfield struck again.

With just over a minute left in the third quarter, Riley eluded three tacklers and covered 46 yards for six points. VanEssendelft’s kick split the uprights to blow the game open, 51-27.

Hills West went to the air the rest of the way, and tried to force long passes to make up for lost time. Lucarelli went deep to his wide receiver, who appeared to make the catch but bobbled the ball. Just as deadly defensively at cornerback as he is on offense as a wide receiver, Riley snatched the ball out of the Colts player’s hands for the interception with just over three minutes left in the contest.

The dominant and forceful senior finished the turnover he created with a short plunge into the end zone for his final touchdown of the game. Along with VanEssendelft’s kick, Riley’s score increased his team’s lead to 58-27.

Newfield head coach Joe Piccininni rested his starters on both sides of the ball the rest of the way, and Hills West made the most of the change by scoring one final touchdown.

“Our mistakes were hurting us and we faced a lot of adversity, but we were able to come back tonight,” Piccininni said. “We faced a great football team tonight — they didn’t fall back and they didn’t falter.”

With that, the team was crowned Suffolk County champions, and Newfield will take its undefeated season to the gridiron of Hofstra University on Friday, for a 4:30 p.m. kick off against MacArthur in the Long Island championship game. Although this year looked uncertain after the Wolverines’ 3-6 season last year, Gubelman said he thought his team could do it all along.

“I’ve known my teammates my whole life — we’ve been playing together since we were 5 years old,” he said. “We practice hard the same way we always do, come out with one vision: [to win the] Long Island Championship.”