SUFFOLK CLASS C FINALS | WILDCATS 14, PHANTOMS 4
Usually it’s the players sporting the bumps and bruises after a hard-earned victory. As Shoreham-Wading River coach Tom Rotanz discovered Wednesday afternoon, sometimes even the coach has to leave some blood on the field.
After the Wildcats’ 14-4 Class C county championship victory over Bayport-Blue Point at Stony Brook University, Shoreham players drenched Rotanz in a ceremonious dumping of the water cooler. Only problem was the cooler smacked him in his head, leaving him with a nice cut and blood dripping down his head.
On the Wildcats’ ninth county title in program history, it was the first post-game celebration injury for the longtime coach.
“I got the cold and the thud,” Rotanz said.
It was a small price to pay for a dominant performance from his team as the Wildcats won their second straight title and first as Class C school since 2007. They used a 9-0 run from the second quarter into the fourth to blow the game open after a sluggish start. It sets up a date with Nassau champion Cold Spring Harbor Saturday at Hofstra for the Long Island title.
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Senior Trevor Brosco, given space all game to operate, unleashed a barrage of shots and buried nearly half of them. He scored a season-high seven goals on 15 shots. It was the most goals by a Shoreham player this season.
Brosco has taken charge of the Shoreham offense in the playoffs. The Notre Dame-bound midfielder already has 12 goals in two games.
“It’s nothing surprising because he’s a wonderful teammate,” said Shoreham senior Chris Mahoney. “I’m glad he finally got exposed at a game like this. Everybody had his doubts about him I’m sure, but this game put them to rest, no doubt.”
Brosco scored from all over the field, many on long shots that whizzed past Bayport goalkeeper Ralph Fabiani.
“I think we just had good offensive ball movement,” Brosco said.
The Wildcats outshot Bayport 32-17 and had a 20-6 advantage in shots on goal. After a few too many turnovers in the opening quarter, the Wildcats dominated possession throughout the rest of the game. Their defense allowed few openings for Bayport’s big guns, Brian Ward and Brian White, to operate.
It added up to a season-low in goals for Bayport. The Phantoms’ previous low was seven against Comsewogue.
“Our zone defense doesn’t really expose one particular player, so it really involves a group effort,” Mahoney said. “I think we perfected it today. Four goals against a high-offensive power is unbelievable.”
The Wildcats (15-3) got a two-goal, three-assist effort from junior Tim Rotanz. Senior James Higgins added three.
Brosco said playing alongside Rotanz makes life easier on the field.
“He’s a great player needless to say,” Brosco said. “It’s nice having him out there.”
The Wildcats scored twice in the final 3 minutes of the second quarter to take a two-goal lead into halftime. Brosco scored off a feed from Rotanz with 29 seconds left in the second quarter to make it a 5-3 Shoreham lead.
The Wildcats erupted to start the third quarter, scoring three goals in the first three minutes. Brosco scored two of them, both unassisted.
It turned into a 5-0 run in under five minutes going back to the previous quarter, the kind of quick spurt the Wildcats have used all season to bury teams.
“I don’t know what it is with this group but I can sense when there’s blood in the water,” coach Rotanz said.
When his team gets rolling like that, Rotanz said he likes his team to stay aggressive.
“I told them we’re going to make mistakes, but nine times out of 10, we’re going to capitalize,” he said.
After winning the Class B county title last year, the Wildcats came into this season focused on repeating.
“Coach always says we want to be playing in June at the end of the season when it counts,” Brosco said.
Now they’ll play for their first Long Island title since 2007, which also happens to be the year of their last state title.
–The Wildcats did not commit a penalty in the game. Bayport had two.
–Shoreham goalkeeper Tyler Lutjen made two saves.
–Shoreham had a 14-8 advantage on face-offs behind Brosco and sophomore Mike Loscalzo.
–The Wildcats had a 32-24 advantage on ground balls.