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Football

Mount Sinai senior running-back Matthew LoMonaco drags a Babylon defender out of the back field in the semi-final playoff round at home Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Bill Landon

Players in Suffolk schools will be hitting the courts and fields come the start of the September sports season … well, some will be.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Aug. 24 that certain sports are allowed to start up Sept. 21, though all leagues must stay in their home region until Oct. 19. 

Sports have been divided into what are considered low or high risk. Low risk sports include soccer, tennis, cross county, track, field hockey and swimming. High risk sports would be football, wrestling, rugby, hockey and volleyball. How the distinction between the two was made was up to the New York State Department of Health.

All those sports deemed high risk will be allowed to practice starting Sept. 21 but not to play against other teams until after Dec. 31. 

There are still lingering questions about how some sports were determined to be high risk while others remain medium or low. The Department of Health guidance about sports details that a low risk sport is mostly individual activities like running, swimming or golf, or any sport that maintains little cross contamination of equipment. Medium risk sports have more but still manageable interaction between shared equipment (or the ability to clean between use) but with limited ability to maintain distance, which includes sports like baseball, soccer or even flag football. Games that need to have shared contact with equipment like volleyball or games that mandate close confines like wrestling are off the table, at least for the rest of this year.

Not every region will be participating in the fall. Nassau County school officials and Section VIII, which handles Nassau high school sports, have already made the decision this week to postpone all sports until the start of 2021. Meanwhile members of the Section XI board, which governs Suffolk sports, voted to host its sports season as described by the governor’s parameters.

What the exact guidelines for practices and games is still to be determined. Section XI wrote in a release Aug. 26 that the New York State Public High School Athletic Association has already met twice based on Cuomo’s Aug. 24 announcement. The association said it will come up with guidance for school districts to help them get started on their sports seasons.

“Over 200,000 students participate in the fall high school sports seasons and yesterday’s announcement was certainly a positive step for all those athletes,” said NYSPHSAA’s Executive Director Robert Zayas.

There will be several known restrictions for the start of the fall sports season. Indoor facilities can be at no more than 50% occupancy and districts must limit spectators to no more than two spectators per player. This is in addition to the normal masks and social distancing guidelines.

Coaches whose students will be left out of the chance for a fall sports season said it’s a hard pill to swallow. More so because of the vagaries still left for how the sports year will progress after December.

“I am in contact with the kids and I think all they want is a plan — something concrete — whether we play in the fall, or a condensed schedule starting in February,” said Mount Sinai High School Football Coach Vinnie Ammirato. “It would just be nice to get some clarity and a plan.”

Still, he understands why the decision was made.

“Everyone wants to play — with that said we need to keep the health and safety of all the players and coaches at the forefront.”

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Xavier Arline breaks free for one of his 4 touchdowns in a Shoreham Wading River rout of Seaford in the Long Island Championship game Nov. 30. Bill Landon photo

The Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River’s football team have been sprinting towards success for the past six years, and now this year’s Long Island Championship adds another tally to their streak.

SWR senior quarterback Xavier Arline did what he’s done all season long leading his team to victory where the Wildcats pummeled Seaford 49-7 in the D-IV championship game at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium Nov. 30.

Arline ran for four touchdowns in the game with carries of six yards, 54 yards, 64 yards and 67 yards, while throwing a pair of touchdown passes to tight-end Jake Wilson and senior running-back Mike Casazza. Seaford managed to find the end-zone with 29 seconds left as the Wildcats claimed their 4th Long Island Championship trophy in six years.

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Mount Sinai sophomore Joseph Spallina powers his way out of the back field against the Wildcats in the D-IV county finals at Stony Brook Nov. 24, 2019. Bill Landon photo

Shoreham-Wading River looked to avenge their only loss of the season back in week five to the Mustangs of Mount Sinai in the Suffolk County D-IV championship game Nov. 24. Avenge it they did, handing Mount Sinai their first and only loss of their season in a 35-14 victory at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium to punch their way into the Long Island Championship round.

Despite leading 14-13 with two minutes left in the opening half an unsportsmanlike penalty extinguished the Mustang drive, and it was all SWR in the 2nd half with Xavier Arline leading the way with 26 carries covering 195 yards.

It was the Wildcats fifth Suffolk County title, and the team will face Seaford Nov. 30 at Hofstra University at 12 p.m. for the Long Island crown.

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Quarterback Brandon Ventarola in traffic in the Mustangs semi-final playoff win against Babylon Nov. 15. Bill Landon photo

The No. 1 seeded Mustangs of Mount Sinai outran Babylon, the No. 4 seed, in the Division IV semi-final round overwhelming their opponent 28-6 to punch their ticked to the County Championship. Mount Sinai quarterback Brandon Ventarola led the way for the Mustangs with two rushing touchdowns and a 45-yard touchdown pass to Derek Takacs. Sophomore Joseph Spallina scored on short yardage to keep the Mustang’s undefeated record intact at 10-0.

The County Championship will be a rematch of week five where Mount Sinai will replay the No. 2 seeded Wildcats of Shoreham Wading River at Stony Brook University Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. Tickets at the gate are $10.00 or are available for $8.00 online here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

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It was all Xavier Arline for the Wildcats in the opening round of the playoffs where the senior quarterback scored four touchdowns and amassed 210 yards on 21 attempts. His and others led to a 54-6 thrashing of Center Moriches at home Nov. 8. Junior running-back David Tedesco carried six times for 45 yards with two touchdowns and Sean Miller covered 61 yards in eight attempts.

The win earns the Wildcats another home playoff game Nov. 15. Game time is 6 p.m. with a $10.00 admission at the gate or $7.00 online here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

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Trailing by 11, Ward Melville’s Steven Germain shifted the momentum for the Patriots with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the road followed by a 2-point conversion to trail 21-17 at the half against Patchogue-Medford.

Pat-Med came out firing in the third quarter and out-paced the Patriots to put the game away, 35-23, in the opening round of postseason play Nov. 9.

Ward Melville sophomore quarterback Chris Prussen opened the scoring on a short yardage touchdown. Tommy Dellaporta’s field goal found its mark from 39 yards, and senior wide receiver Travis Moehringer on a 19-yard pass play found the end zone for six.

The Patriots finished their season on the road with a 4-5 record as the No. 5 seed in Division I.

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Senior wide receiver Matt Robbert led the way for Centereach first on a 42-yard touchdown pass play from his younger brother Justin and then on a short yardage run for his second touchdown of the game in the Cougars’ regular season finale, at home against Half Hollow Hills East Nov. 1.

Robbert pulled double duty as the place-kicker and booted both extra points. Teammate Liam Webber on special teams recovered a blocked punt in the Hills East end zone to put his team out front, 20-0. Hills East broke the ice midway through the third quarter when they scored on a short run and with the point after, trailed 20-7.

The win lifts the Cougars to 5-3 in Division II which makes them No. 4 seed, earning a home playoff game against No. 5 Connetquot Nov. 8. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

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At 3-3 in their division, Comsewogue’s varsity football team needed a road win against East Islip when Jaden Martinez punched in from six yards out for a Warrior touch down on their opening drive in the final quarter, and with the point after tied the game at 7-7. With 10:49 left in regulation East Islip scored two unanswered touchdowns for which the Warriors had no answer, to win the game 21-7 in a Div. III matchup Oct. 26.

The loss drops Comsewogue to 3-4 forcing a must win game when the Warriors travel to Miller Place Nov. 1 in their final game of the regular season. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

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PJ Royals Win in Homecoming Blowout

Port Jefferson homecoming football game against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

The weekend of Oct. 4-6 was one of purple and Royals pride. Hundreds swarmed through Port Jefferson during the annual parade, and more gathered in the Joe Erland Field for fun and games, as the Village of Port Jefferson, Port Jefferson School District, Port Jefferson Free Library and local residents combined their efforts to put on a huge blowout celebration.

When it came to the game at 2 p.m. Oct. 5, it was a Royal’s rout when Greenport/Southold/Mattituck came calling and was blown out by Port Jefferson 62-0. From the opening kickoff it was all Port Jeff as wide receiver Aidan Kaminska proved unstoppable as the senior found the end zone three times, along with teammates Luke Verruto and Luke Filippi who each had a pair of touchdowns. Junior Alex Ledesma split the uprights eight times for the extra point.Senior quarterback Sam Florio, who was healthy after missing last week’s game against Mount Sinai, threw for over 250 yards with four TD passes in the Div. IV matchup.

The win lifts the Royals to 2-3 with three games remaining before the post season and are back in action with a road game against Elwood John Glenn Oct. 12. Kickoff is at 1:30pm.

Mount Sinai dominated their homecoming game through three quarters of play out scoring the visiting Royals 33-6 before Port Jeff rallied in the final quarter. Royals’ quarterback Luke Filippi (filling in for the injured Sam Florio) found senior Aidan Kaminska on a pair of short yardage pass plays for his 2nd and 3rd touchdown in the game where the senior set a Section XI record with 17 catches for 233 yards placing him 2nd in total receptions in a single game.

But despite Kaminska’s record the Royals fell to the Mustangs 39-20 Sept. 28.

Mount Sinai sophomore running back Joseph Spallina led the way with a16-yard run, a 23-yard pass reception and an 85-yard interception all finding the end-zone for the Mustangs. Senior quarterback Brandon Ventarola punched in from short yardage, while Matthew LoMonaco scored on a 14-yard pass play and Michael Trepeta found the end-zone on a 3-yard run.

Junior Alex Ledesma’s solid boot put up two PAT’s for the Royals in addition to Kaminska’s record making set of catches.

The win boosts the Mustangs to 4-0, tied with Shoreham Wading River in their division at the season’s halfway point.

The loss puts Port Jeff 1-3 in league. Their next game is set for Oct. 5 for homecoming weekend, where they expect to face Greenport at home with a 2 p.m. start time.

Mount Sinai looks to keep their perfect record intact when they hit the road Oct. 12 to face undefeated Shoreham-Wading River, for sole possession of first place in League IV. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.