Football: Short-handed Blue Waves finish regular season 7-1

11/02/2013 4:36 PM |

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead wide receiver Ryan Hubbard finished Saturday’s game with one touchdown reception.

BLUE WAVES 21, WOLVERINES 8

In a span of 12 hours, the Riverhead Blue Waves lost two captains to injuries before the start of Saturday’s regular season finale against Newfield.

Quarterback Cody Smith suffered an eye injury late Friday in an incident coach Leif Shay described as “kids being kids.” Then during warmups, two-way starter Jaron Greenidge suffered a concussion. The Blue Waves also started the game without running back Jeremiah Cheatom, who arrived late after taking the SAT in the morning.

Still, the depth of the Blue Waves came through as Riverhead rallied to win 21-8 on the road to finish the regular season 7-1, locking up the No. 1 seed in the Division II playoffs.

Junior Ken Simco made his first varsity start and threw one touchdown in the win, a 20-yard pass in the third quarter to wide receiver Ryan Hubbard.

When Cheatom entered the game on the Blue Waves’ third possession, the game quickly turned. Cheatom carried 24 times for 110 yards with two touchdowns.

He scored from 11 yards out with 9:34 left in the second quarter to put the Blue Waves ahead 7-0. He added another score with 24 seconds left in the half on a 4-yard run.

The Blue Waves seemed well on their way to a 13-0 halftime lead. But Newfield struck for two quick pass plays to score a touchdown just before the half ended to make it 13-8.

Riverhead opened the second half on defense and Andrew Kinard intercepted a pass to give the Blue Waves possession at the Newfield 42. Five plays later, Simco connected with Hubbard for the touchdown that stood as the game’s final score.

The Blue Waves will open the playoffs at 1 p.m. next Saturday at home against No. 8 Half Hollow Hills West. Newfield finishes the regular season 5-3 and will open the playoffs as the No. 5 seed facing No. 4 West Islip.

CorrectionAn earlier version stated Cheatom missed the beginning of the game due to disciplinary reasons. While the Blue Waves did have players out at the beginning for that reason, he was not one of them.

joew@timesreview.com