By Bill Landon
Jack Collins was the king of the Royals’ homecoming court.
The senior quarterback completed 23 of 30 passes for a whopping 356 yards and four touchdowns to lead Port Jefferson to a dominating 42-13 win over Southampton/Pierson Oct. 21, which ensured the Royals a playoff berth.
“The kids in the locker room cannot wait for this game,” Collins said. “At Port Jeff there have been times where we’ve lost big to these teams, but it’s different. This year our team’s a lot stronger, and these guys want to prove that. I, do too.”
To do so, senior running back Thomas Mark returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown, and senior running Joey Evangelista capped it off with a 2-point conversion, also scoring on a 13-yard touchdown run of his own for a 14-0 Royals lead with just under five minutes left in the first quarter.
“We came out here knowing what we needed to do,” Evangelista said.
Collins threw three of his four touchdowns before halftime, on passes of 28 yards, 4 yards and 40 yards. A 2-point conversion was tried following all three, but only successful on the second, with senior running back Hunter Ginas running it in after Mark’s touchdown.
“It’s a great win; it’s a great feeling after coming off a tough loss last week,” Mark said, referring to Port Jefferson’s 45-8 loss at Elwood-John Glenn “During practice week all of the guys were really focused —put in a lot of work, and hard work pays off.”
Collins threw a 36-yard pass to Marquis Feldman for the senior wide receiver’s second touchdown of the game to open scoring in the third. Collins capped it off by throwing to Mark in the end zone for a 2-point conversion.
“It was awesome to see the fans come out, they really support us,” Collins said. “We came ready to play. It was a fun, good time.”
Feldman finished with 123 yards on eight receptions behind junior Jonathan Bachman’s nine catches for 154 yards. He said knows the importance of the Royals’ final game of the season at home against Shoreham-Wading River, especially for moving forward.
“This game’s in the past now, and we’ll get ready for the next,” Feldman said following the win. “We’ll work as hard as we can and won’t let up.”
Port Jefferson head coach Andrew Cosci said with Shoreham-Wading River being a little banged up he’s hoping it greatens his team’s chances, especially knowing the dominant history the Wildcats have over the Royals, but said not to count his team out of the Oct. 28 matchup.
“They’re a very good football team,” the coach said of his soon-to-be opponent. “We have our work cut out for us, but we have a different team this year — a team that believes they can play with the big boys.”
Mustangs will travel to Shoreham-Wading River Feb. 9 for 6 p.m. game
By Bill Landon
On the first day of practice before the start of the season, Mount Sinai senior Cristina Gulli said her team set goals to make it to the playoffs and go undefeated on the way there. And the girls’ basketball team is making that happen.
“We’ve worked very hard every day, so it’s amazing that we’re undefeated so far,” Gulli said. “And that hard work in practice has paid off.”
“We were definitely hoping for this level of success at the beginning of the season, but we knew it wasn’t going to come without a lot of hard work.”
Practice makes perfect, and the Mustangs remained perfect when the team made short work of visiting Southampton Feb. 6, defeating the Mariners 73-25. The win keeps the team at the top of the League VI leaderboard at 13-0 and gives Mount Sinai at least a share of the league title.
After the pregame ceremonies that acknowledged the accomplishments of the eight seniors on the squad, the Mustangs got to work, and after eight minutes of play, the final outcome was clear.
Mount Sinai took a 36-14 advantage into the halftime break.
Senior Victoria Johnson was at the core of the Mustangs’ offense. She led her team in scoring with 25 points and had six steals. Mount Sinai head coach Michael Pappalardo saw to it that every player got time on the court, and the Mustangs surged ahead 69-21 with the help of those off the bench.
“We were definitely hoping for this level of success at the beginning of the season, but we knew it wasn’t going to come without a lot of hard work,” Johnson said. “We’ve put the time in, a lot of time we went over our goals for the season and we worked on something different in every practice.”
Senior Veronica Venezia scored 14 points as she battled in the paint most of the game, something she’s done all season long. She also finished with 16 rebounds and six assists.
“It definitely feels great staying undefeated,” she said. “Me and Vic have been playing together since eighth grade — we gained confidence in every game.”
“We all bring positive influences, and it’s just great to share this wonderful occasion together.”
Senior guard Nicole Hurowitz said she’s glad to be a part of a special group of players— something she said she’ll remember for years to come.
“We help each other out and it’s pretty amazing being here with all these girls,” she said. “We all bring positive influences, and it’s just great to share this wonderful occasion together.”
Mount Sinai’s last win topped its program-best 15 wins in 2010, where the Mustangs ended with a 15-3 record and won the league title. The team is 17-0 overall with one game remaining in the regular season.
There is nothing regular about the final game before postseason play though, as the Mustangs will face their greatest threat to their flawless record: Shoreham Wading River.
During the last matchup on Jan. 17, Mount Sinai was able to hold on to a six-point lead — its narrowest margin of victory all year — to win 61-55.
Pappalardo understands the magnitude of the final game of regular season — on the road against the toughest challenger this year Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.
“We’re focused on Shoreham — they’re a great team, they have an awesome coach, they have great athletes ,” he said. “The sky’s the limit and I’m just happy for the girls. It took a long time and we’re finally here.”
Gold Coast Bank, which calls Route 25A in East Setauket one of its homes, is cashing in with a new branch in Southampton.
The Islandia-based bank filed an application with the state Department of Financial Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to expand its sixth Long Island branch in the eastern Suffolk community since its launch in 2008. The new spot is slated for 97 North Sea Road in the Southampton Village business district, adjacent to the Southampton post office.
“We are extremely pleased to announce our plans to open our sixth branch,” said John C. Tsunis, Gold Coast Bank’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Gold Coast has been highly successful since it opened for business, and this new branch serves to confirm our standing as a bank that continues to strengthen its roots in the communities we serve across Long Island.”
Tsunis said the bank recently reported its fourth consecutive year of profitability, making the move to expand an easy decision. The new Southampton location will join the Gold Coast branches across the island, including Mineola, Huntington, Farmingdale and East Setauket. And looking ahead, Tsunis said the bank had big plans for the far eastern end of Suffolk.
“With the opening of this branch, we are certain we will play a very active role in the growth in the Hamptons,” Tsunis said. “Southampton has always had a very large role to play on Long Island, serving as a beacon for business, tourism and the arts. We are excited to further extend the Gold Coast Bank footprint into this vibrant community.”
The announcement of the bank’s expansion came just weeks after another milestone announcement, when the state Department of Financial Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Program promoted Gold Coast Bank past its new bank, or “de novo,” status. The reclassification moved the bank beyond certain state banking regulations that are typically put in place for newly formed banks.
James P. Johnis, president and chief operating officer of Gold Coast, said the bank’s $323.8 million in total assets as of the end of 2014 propelled the bank into becoming one of Long Island’s premier banking locations.
“This solidifies us as a major part of Long Island’s banking industry, and going forward, we will continue to provide customers with superior personal service while exceeding customer expectations,” he said in a statement when the bank was promoted past new bank status. “This is a major step in our history and a most positive sign of our growth and success.”