Riverhead’s season will end as it began: minus running back Jeremiah Cheatom.
The Blue Waves (10-1) will take on undefeated Carey in the Class II Long Island Championship today without their star halfback, who was ruled academically ineligible this week, coach Leif Shay said. The Blue Waves were without Cheatom in the first game of the season as he nursed a hamstring injury. Since then, he’s been their featured rusher, scoring touchdowns in all but one game.
Losing Cheatom, who is a key player on defense as well, creates a huge void for Riverhead as the Blue Waves try to stop a high-octane Carey team. The Seahawks are 11-0 and have averaged 39.6 points per game. In the regular season, the Seahawks defense gave up just 22 points in eight games and four of their wins were shutouts.
Class II Long Island Championship: 4:30 p.m. Hofstra University, $7 admission
Carey defeated Garden City, the defending Long Island champion, 20-16 in the Nassau Division II final last week.
The Blue Waves will need to rely heavily on sophomore Ryun Moore on offense. Moore has seen some action on offense this year, but his biggest contribution has been on defense. Now, he’ll need to carry the load on both ends of the field.
Riverhead’s defense will be challenged by Carey quarterback Ray Catapano, who is equally a threat through the air and on the ground. He threw three touchdown passes in Carey’s win over Garden City. Catapano has twice thrown for five touchdowns in a game this season.
Riverhead is aiming for its first Long Island title since 2008, when the Blue Waves went undefeated and won the Rutgers Trophy as the top team in Suffolk County.
Prior to the Riverhead-Carey game, the Class IV championship game at Hofstra will feature Babylon against Roosevelt at noon.
Check back at 4:30 for live coverage from Hofstra of the Riverhead-Carey game.