DIVISION IV SEMIFINALS | WILDCATS 56, PANTHERS 0
Shoreham Wading River has emerged as a force to be reckoned with thanks to a crushing defense and ground and pound offensive attack.
The Wildcats made short work of two-time defending Class IV Long Island champion Babylon Saturday with a 56-0 shellacking to advance to their first county title game in program history.
The Wildcats will face No. 2 John Glenn Saturday at Stony Brook University for the Division IV county title.
The Panthers have been a familiar foe for Shoreham come playoff time, the team that has always stood in the way of Shoreham advancing to a county title game. Many of those games were one-sided.
The Wildcats, at last, returned the favor with an emphatic victory Saturday.
The game was nothing like the Week 2 matchup, which Shoreham won 9-7. From the opening whistle it was all Wildcats at Shoreham-Wading River High School.
Senior quarterback Danny Hughes scored four touchdowns while rushing for 116 yards.
The Wildcats (10-0) raced out to a 28-0 halftime lead. Junior Chris Rosati (140 rushing yards) forced a turnover to set up Shoreham’s first score — a Hughes QB keeper up the middle with 4:34 left in the first. Rosati found the end zone for the first of his two scores on the Wildcats’ next possession to make it 14-0.
Shoreham head coach Matt Millheiser had his entire team sign the game ball to present to the Cutinella family. Tom Cutinella, a 16-year-old junior, died from an injury sustained in a game Oct. 1.
The team gathered around the flag pole to lower the flag bearing Tom’s retired No. 54 as Shoreham concluded its final home game this year.
Millheiser said his team would take the flag with them to Stony Brook.
“Tommy’s always with us,” he said. “We’re not going to play here anymore this season, so we’ll take his No. 54 flag with us to Stony Brook and hopefully beyond.”
The lead for Shoreham quickly ballooned once the second half began against Babylon. Senior Isreal Squires jetted down the left side for the score just 12 seconds in the half as Shoreham took a commanding 35-0 lead.
The Panthers didn’t have much fight left in them.
Hughes added another touchdown four minutes into the third quarter, set up by a big run from Aaron Harely Rey that made it first-and-goal from the nine.
Hughes and Rosati each scored once more for the final 56-0 margin.
“We’re the best secondary in the league, we try to play our hardest every time,” Squires said. “We practice it in passing and stopping the run where our front line clogs the holes.”
The shutout meant Shoreham has still given up just 36 points this season, the top mark on Long Island. Shoreham has not allowed a point in the last three games.
“It’s a big shout-out to the D-line,” said senior defensive back Mike Ingemi. “They won’t be pushed back and they fill the holes and our secondary holds it down.”
“We’re just one big family out there and we have each other’s backs,” Rosati added. “If someone makes a mistake we’ll fix it and we fly to the ball. We practice that every day and we hustle and just fly to the ball.”
Babylon finishes the season 6-4.