Football: Riverhead wins playoff opener

11/10/2012 5:13 PM |

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead wide receiver Quinn Funn catches a 38-yard pass in the team’s 36-13 playoff win over Walt Whitman High School Saturday.


Superstorm Sandy might have knocked their power out and left their families unable to heat their homes. It might have also turned their school into a shelter, forcing a couple practices to be canceled and the playoff opener to be delayed.

But there’s one thing Sandy and her wicked wind gusts couldn’t keep the Riverhead football team from doing when it finally took the field again Saturday: It couldn’t stop them from winning.

The Waves, who entered the playoffs on a three-game win streak but hadn’t played since Oct. 27 due to the storm, scored three touchdowns in the first 18 minutes en route to a 36-13 Division II playoff win over Walt Whitman Saturday.

“You always worry whenever you’re forced to break from routine and your team can’t practice as normal,” said Riverhead coach Leif Shay. “But these kids prepared well. They took it all in stride and went out and played some good football today.”



It didn’t take long for things to return to normal on the football field at Riverhead High.

After a quick three-and-out for Whitman (4-5) on the game’s first series, the No. 2-ranked Waves (7-2) took advantage of good field position on their first possession, moving the football 42 yards on 10 plays before scoring the game’s first touchdown. Tight end Vincent Brodeur caught the 4-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ryan Bitzer, who then converted a two-point conversion run for an 8-0 Riverhead lead midway through the first quarter.

It was a sign of things to come for Bitzer, a three-year starter, and his Blue Waves teammates.

The quarterback, who Coach Shay said has really taken his game to the next level as this season has progressed, seemed to have an answer for everything the Wildcat defense threw at him. He used the run, mostly from tailback Jeremiah Cheatom, to set up his passing game. And when receivers weren’t open, he used his legs to pick up the first down.

Bitzer would finish the game with 150 passing yards and two touchdowns, while scrambling for 38 more yards and his team’s final score.

After Whitman answered Riverhead’s first touchdown with one of its own, Bitzer found wide receiver Quinn Funn open for a 13-yard scoring strike and a 15-6 lead with 9.1 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Cheatom then put the game away with a pair of second quarter touchdown runs, the first from 5 yards out and the second on a 3-yard run.

“We lost two days of practice, but we worked really hard on the days we did have it,” said Cheatom, who finished the game with 159 yards and the two touchdowns on 22 carries and one catch. “The coaches did a great job of having us prepared.”

Cheatom pointed out that not only did the team have to contend with the storm’s aftermath, but also with the challenge of having to play the same team two games in a row. The Blue Waves defeated Whitman 42-8 in the regular season finale.

Whitman quarterback Mitchell Bermudez threw one touchdown pass and ran for another in the loss.

Riverhead will now host West Babylon (5-4) in the semifinals next Saturday after the Eagles shocked previously unbeaten and top-seeded West Islip,  20-19. Teams are re-seeded after the first round, so the Blue Waves are now the No. 1 seed, playing the No. 4 seed in West Babylon. The Blue Waves opened the season with a 42-0 victory over the Eagles.

Bitzer said he expects he and his teammates to be ready to go when the game kicks off at 1 p.m. next Saturday.

“We need to watch film and fix our mistakes,” he said. “If we can work out what we did wrong, it will all work out for us.”

The winner of next week’s game advances to the Suffolk County Division II Championship at Stony Brook University. That game has been moved to noon on Sunday, Nov. 25.

21 Comment

  • Pingback: Ten photos from Riverhead's big playoff-opening win | Riverhead News Review

  • gXZfvF I am so grateful for your article.Much thanks again. Will read on…

  • I’m sorry but how did god get in the conversation to begin with? The article I just examine was about a man and a shark, did not see god’s title everywhere during the short article. Just holy rollers seeking to push their faith on everyone!! Oh and if god exists then why does god permit man eliminate nearly a hundred million sharks a calendar year and then god tells the shark to save the guy that kills his species??? I do not think so!!!!!!

  • I am not positive where you’re having your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning a lot additional or understanding extra. Thanks for amazing data I had been seeking for this facts for my objective.

  • This is one awesome post.Thanks Again.

  • I would have been good if I’d stumbled across this information sooner, thanks so much for sharing. The way this article has been written is just great! Not only is is really informative, it is also extremely easy to understand. Excellent job! Thanks again, I have learnt something new today, which I like to try and achieve everyday. My dad always said “a day without learning something is a wasted day”. I have certainly learned a great deal from this page, thank you. I hope you don’t mind, but I have added a link to this web-site from my my Google+ page.

  • Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this web site needs a lot more attention. I

  • As soon as I discovered this web site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  • Great delivery. Solid justifications. Keep up the good work.

  • Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and come with almost all important infos. I would like to look more posts like this.

  • How do I get “undefined” on my blog posts? There are 3 undefined words right below the title of my blog post. How do I get rid of it?.

  • I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  • Pingback: I thought about this

  • This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Take care! Where are your contact details though?

  • Thank you very much for sharing this info, I just wish I had found you earlier! The way you have constructed this article is both articulate and informative simultaneously. That’s quite an achievement, considering the subject matter addressed. Thanks, I have learned something new here, which I like to try and achieve everyday. As my old father used to say “a day gone without learning anything is a wasted day!”. I learned plenty from reading this article, thanks. If you don’t mind, I’d like to place a link to this page from my Facebook page, is that alright?

  • We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  • An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this topic here on your web page.

  • Thank you, I have been seeking for facts about this topic for ages and yours is the best I have found so far.

  • I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I

  • Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  • Thanks for the thoughts you talk about through this blog. In addition, many young women that become pregnant usually do not even seek to get health care insurance because they have anxiety they might not qualify. Although a lot of states right now require that insurers produce coverage no matter what about the pre-existing conditions. Costs on most of these guaranteed plans are usually higher, but when considering the high cost of medical care it may be a new safer route to take to protect your current financial future.