Tags Posts tagged with "Flaming Arrows"

Flaming Arrows

by -
0 378

By Steven Zaitz

Have a nice weekend!

That is exactly what the Northport Lady Tigers basketball team did, as they swept two games this past Saturday and Sunday in this breakneck sprint of a season.

At home on Feb. 20, they toyed with a short-handed Connequot squad, beating them at home by a score of 74-14.  On Sunday, they traveled to Sachem North and doused the Flaming Arrows, 72-54. The Lady Tigers are now 4-1 and have two games this week against league powers Walt Whitman and Commack.

As they have for most of this year, Juniors Sophia Bica and Sophia Yearwood led the way. Bica had 27 points against the Arrows and Yearwood added 20, including four 3-pointers. 

The game was close for three quarters. With Northport up by six with five minutes to go in the game, Yearwood hit freshman sensation Kennedy Radziul with a beautiful dribble penetration pass. Yearwood then canned two 3-pointers in a row from opposite elbows. The Tiger lead had now ballooned to 12 with only 3 1/2 minutes to go. It was flame-out for the Arrows.

“It is a great feeling to know that we can all have these moments where we can help seal the win,” said the team-first junior Yearwood.  “As a team we were moving the ball well which helped us get open shots. During practices we really focus on trusting one another and playing as a team helps us play with confidence during games.”

Radziul, who comes from royal Northport basketball bloodlines, had a combined 12 points over the weekend after being sideline in COVID protocol. Coach Richard Castellano was excited to see her finally hit the floor. Against Sachem North, she had five assists, six rebounds and three steals to go along with her six points and showed a great deal of poise and all around court awareness – especially for a freshmen.

“She dominated Junior Varsity last year,” said Castellano. “I coached her mother and her aunt and between those two, they have three Suffolk County Player of the Year trophies, so yeah, I’m happy and excited to have her out there.”

Kim Ruck, Kennedy’s mother and Cami Ruck, her aunt were superstar players in the early 1990s and played in an era when Northport won six straight county championships.

“It’s cool to know that I’m playing in the same gym as my mom and aunt,” Radziul said. “Against Sachem North, I was nervous but really excited and it helped to know that my teammates have been in close games before and I’m glad we were able to step up for the win.”

Two other players who have had a hand in many wins, Emma Blanco and Hannah Morawski were honored before Saturday’s game, as graduating seniors and exemplary leaders.

“Emma and Hannah have had to step up as our team captains during this very unusual season,” said Yearwood. “I am impressed with their level of commitment to the team. They have both worked hard to motivate and encourage us.”

“Through the years, I have been blessed with great leaders and role models,” Castellano said proudly. “Whenever we go to youth basketball camps, these girls are so loved in the community and are revered by the elementary school kids, who all want to become Lady Tigers one day. Emma and Hannah are perfect examples of this.”

In the 60-point win on Saturday, Connequot only had seven players available. The Tigers led 20-2 after the first quarter and the remaining three quarters were the same type of story. Yearwood had 17 points and Bica 12. Freshman guard Brooke Kershow came off the bench to score 10 and Junior forward Alexa Vassallo had nine in the rout.

Section XI has installed an abbreviated playoff system for this season that will crown bi-league champions only. As of press time, the Lady Tigers are battling with Walt Whitman, Sachem North and Commack for one of two playoff spots that are granted to League II. They will combine with the top two teams in League I. Longwood, who the Tigers beat in the Suffolk County Championship last year, Sachem East and Ward Melville are the leading contenders in that group.

Northport girls basketball was dealt a blow to their playoff chances when they lost to Walt Whitman Feb. 23 by a score of 45-32. They were outscored 16-4 in the fourth quarter. They will play Commack Thursday, Feb. 25, which will likely be a ‘do or die’ game with respect to gaining a playoff berth.

by -
0 1114

Tigers rack up 28 first-quarter points in 48-7 homecoming win

Northport's Andrew Bolitho returns an interception for a touchdown Oct. 14. Photo by Jim Ferchland

By Jim Ferchland

Northport’s football team was all over Sachem North Saturday, picking up a monster homecoming win in front of its fans Oct. 14. For the Tigers, the 48-7 victory was the fourth straight.

“I knew we were the better team,” Northport head coach Kip Lukralle said. “I feel we were better prepared. It’s our first home game, so there’s a lot of emotion. Sachem’s been a rivalry over the years. Staying focused was key, and our kids did that.”

Northport’s Max Napoli avoids a tackle as he moves the ball downfield Oct. 14. Photo by Jim Ferchland

The Tigers came out firing, and racked up 28 points in the first quarter alone. Senior quarterback Ryan Walsh completed all four of his passing attempts for 140 yards and three touchdowns in that 12-minute span.

“I thought the team as a whole performed very well,” Walsh said. “There was great protection up front and the receivers ran great routes. It was all around a good day.”

Along with three passing touchdowns on the day, the Tigers added two rushing touchdowns and two interceptions returned for a touchdown.

Senior running back Sean Eagers made big plays on both sides of the football in his last homecoming game. He had a 4-yard rushing touchdown in the first and a 60-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the third quarter. For a player who says he loves football, it could not have been a better day.

“It’s just really special to me,” Eagers said of the sport. “It’s been a lot of fun this season and football means the world to me. It was great having two touchdowns on our homecoming day.”

Northport’s Sean Eagers rushes with the football Oct. 14. Photo by Jim Ferchland

Sachem North started the game with the ball, but their first drive resulted in a blocked punt. Senior Bobby Labatto was credited with the stop and what would later set up Eagers’ touchdown with 6:35 left in the first.

Not even two minutes after the touchdown, the Tigers found the end zone once more. This time, Walsh dumped the ball to classmate wide receiver Curtis Lafond, who ran a curl route, found an opening on the left side and took it to the house for a 40-yard score to make it 14-0 Northport.

With 2:14 left in the first, Walsh continued to lead his dominant offense when he connected with sophomore running back Max Napoli on a pass across the middle of the field. Napoli scored from 40 yards out to increase the Tigers’ lead to 21.

In the final play of the first quarter, it was Walsh to Lafond for the longest passing play of the day. With two seconds left, Walsh heaved the ball from midfield and Lafond retrieved it in double coverage in the back of the end zone to give the Tigers a commanding 28-0 lead. Lafond was quite content with his performance, and even though he’s also a basketball player, he said football is what really gets his engine revving.

“It was awesome,” Lafond said of making the catch. “I’ve been waiting for a day like this the whole season. Football is the most emotionally investing sport you can play and to have your whole school come out and support you and get a win like that, it doesn’t get better.”

Northport’s Curtis Lafond celebrates a touchdown Oct. 14. Photo by Jim Ferchland

Sachem North got the ball to start the second quarter, but the possession didn’t last long. Flaming Arrows quarterback Nicholas Gambino threw the ball into the hands of Northport’s Andrew Bolitho, who carried the interception back 15 yards into the end zone.

Northport’s Jeremy Gerdvil made the longest play of the day six minutes later. The junior running back cut loose from Sachem North’s defense and cashed in a 65-yard rushing touchdown increasing the lead to 42-0.

The Flaming Arrows were in Tigers’ territory late in the third, but Gambino made the same mistake a second time when he threw toward Eagers, who picked off the pass and carried the ball 60 yards for the defensive touchdown. The point after attempt was no good, but it was still 48-0 Tigers.

With 7:39 left in the fourth, the Flaming Arrows finally got on the scoreboard. Senior Alezandro Aponte scored on a 3-yard rushing play to cut to deficit to 41.

“It’s great to win, period,” Lukralle said. “It’s great to beat Sachem, double period. And it’s nice to win at homecoming also. It was a great day for Northport football.”

The Tigers have two games left on their schedule with one at home and one on the road. Northport will host Connetquot Oct. 21 before hitting the road to play William Floyd Oct. 27. Both games are currently slated for 2 p.m. starts.

by -
0 9180

Patriots have won all 10 games, with five Division I matches left this season

Kerri Thornton dribbles the ball up the field. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

These Patriots are perfect.

In the Ward Melville field hockey team’s nine straight wins leading up to its matchup against Sachem North Sept. 29, the team has allowed just three goals. In the Patriots’ two games prior, they shut out Smithtown East, 1-0, and Bay Shore 4-0.

So it was no surprise that the Flaming Arrows matchup yielded similar results.

Sachem North (8-3 overall, 6-3 Division I) managed just two shots on goal, and quickly fell behind when senior Kassidy Rogers-Healion rocked the box for a 1-0 lead just 15 seconds into the game. The Flaming Arrows never recovered, and fell 3-0 on their own home turf.

Lexi Reinhardt redirects the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Lexi Reinhardt redirects the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

Senior goalkeeper Bella Nelin said she had complete confidence in her defense to protect the goal.

“I really trust my [defenders] in front of me, and we all just play our hardest,” she said. “Scoring that first goal in the first minute changed the game, and we controlled the tempo of the game by doing that.”

Nine minutes later, Rogers-Healion’s stick spoke again, when the forward took a crossing pass from junior Kerri Thornton and drove her shot home to put her team out in front 2-0.

Nelin, who had a quiet day in the box, said her team prepares the same way for each game, no matter who they face.

“We don’t underestimate any team that we play — regardless of the skill level,” Nelin said. “If we played them before, if we beat them before, [it doesn’t matter]; so we came out like we do for any other game.”

Sachem North controlled the middle of the field though, which forced Ward Melville’s attack to counter.

“Sachem North is an awesome team and we knew we had to come out strong,” Rogers-Healion said. “Seeing that they had a great hold on the center, we were able to pass around that using the outside and [send] the ball back.”

Kiera Alventosa clears the ball by sending it downfield. Photo by Bill Landon
Kiera Alventosa clears the ball by sending it downfield. Photo by Bill Landon

Senior Hannah Lorenzen was the last Patriot to light up the scoreboard, when the midfielder took a cross from Rogers-Healion and smacked the ball past the keeper to go up three goals with five minutes remaining in the first half.

Lorenzen said that Sachem North was much stronger in the final 30 minutes of play.

“We expected that they’d come out harder in the second half — they always do,” she said. “We knew that we had to step up our game — every single one of us — and keep the level of intensity up and just play our game.”

Sachem North struggled to find Ward Melville’s end of the field, and the Flaming Arrows had their hands full fighting off Patriots attackers for the remainder of the game.

“Although it was a solid win, I think that the girls would agree with me this wasn’t our best midfield game today, as far as our passing game,” Ward Melville head coach Shannon Watson said. “[Sachem North’s] strength was in the middle — they did a really nice job of stepping up and beating us to a lot of balls today.”

Watson said there is little discussion about her team’s undefeated performance [10-0 overall, 9-0 in Division I] with five league games left before the playoffs. The Patriots are just going to keep playing their game.

“We focus on possession and when we do that we’re more successful on the attacking end,” Watson said. “I think we did a nice job of keeping it out of our defensive end today.”

by -
0 3113

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.