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.”