PANTHERS 36, WILDCATS 14
If the question for Shoreham-Wading River was whether the Wildcats had bridged the gap between themselves and the upper echelon of Division IV, the Babylon Panthers delivered a swift and emphatic answer Friday night: not yet.
The defending Long Island champions, who haven’t lost a regular season game since Oct. 1, 2011, quickly put an end to the Wildcats’ night by taking a 29-0 lead in the second quarter. The Panthers (2-0) scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions and cruised to a 36-14 victory.
The silver lining for the Wildcats: they reached the end zone twice, something they hadn’t done at all in their previous two trips to Babylon.
The Shoreham touchdowns came on consecutive plays from scrimmage, both 80-yard runs. Senior Tyler Anderson scored the first, busting a run to the outside and up the sideline on the final play of the third quarter. After Babylon went three-and-out, the Wildcats struck again when junior Aaron Harley-Rey broke through the middle for an 80-yard score.
The two plays injected life back into the Wildcats’ sideline, but the score never got any closer.
At the very least, the Wildcats can leave Babylon knowing they played a tougher game than a year ago, when the Panthers dismantled Shoreham late in the season, 55-0.
Babylon’s offense Friday did most of its damage early on through the air behind quarterback Nick Santorelli. He threw 11-of-13 for 150 yards and three touchdowns. The Panthers played a lot of spread formations with four wide receivers, which also opened up some running lanes for Santorelli and halfback Eric Schweitzer.
On two passing touchdowns, the Wildcats had a defensive back in position. But both times the receiver simply went up and snatched the ball out of the air.
Ray Wardell, a 6-foot-5 receiver, easily came down with the first passing touchdown while matched up against the 5-foot-10 cornerback Mike Ingermi for Shorheam. The touchdown gave Babylon a 14-0 lead. Jake Carlock, who’s 6-2, scored the first of his two touchdowns by snagging a ball amid double coverage at the left corner of the end zone.
Wardell caught six passes to lead the receiving corps. In the second half, the Panthers abandoned the spread formations and stuck to a basic running attack.
Schweitzer scored two touchdowns on the ground to lead the rushing attack. Anderson still had a big day on the ground for Shoreham as he tallied 150 yards.
The loss dropped Shoreham to 1-14 all-time against Babylon. The Wildcats host The Stony Brook School next week.