An early season bye week can appear as a hindrance to some teams. For Bishop McGann-Mercy, a Week 3 bye, even before the official arrival of autumn, came at a perfect time.
The Monarchs opened their season against the two teams that played in last year’s Division IV county championship game, Shoreham-Wading River and John Glenn, again the top two teams in preseason standings this year. Predictably, the Monarchs limped out of both games with losses.
“I think when you come off playing those first two weeks against those big teams, you got a little bit of a letdown and question about what you’re able to do,” said Mercy coach Jeff Doroski.
On Saturday, the Monarchs returned to the field for their first game in 15 days and found a much different opponent than in Weeks 1 and 2. Facing a Wyandanch team that has struggled in recent years, the Monarchs emphatically notched their first win of the season, blowing out the Warriors on the road, 39-0.
Senior quarterback Kevin Santacroce tallied four touchdowns, two through the air and two more on the ground. Running back Sam Schrage added two more touchdowns.
“I think we needed a game like this to help our confidence,” Doroski said.
The Monarchs can even their record this weekend when they travel to Southampton Friday night to face the winless Mariners.
Against Wyandanch, the Monarchs (1-2) struck through the air and on the ground, while a stout defense limited any opportunities for the Warriors (0-4).
Santacroce completed 12 of 18 passes of 190 yards. His top target, wide receiver Marco Sciara, hauled in four passes for 74 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
A 24-yard touchdown pass from Santacroce to Sciara gave the Monarchs a 20-0 halftime lead.
“He was on target and throwing good balls,” Doroski said of his quarterback. “That’s kind of what we expect from him from week to week.”
While the Warriors came into the game 0-3, the Monarchs weren’t in a position to look past them. The Warriors easily could have been 3-0 after losing each of their first three games by a combined total of nine points. They lost 16-14 to Greenport, 14-12 to East Hampton and 12-7 to Center Moriches, a team that figured to be in the hunt for the one of the final playoff spots in the division.
For the first time this year, the Monarchs were able to establish a running game, something that proved to be a challenge against the bigger Wildcats and Knights in the first two weeks.
Schrage totaled 72 yards on 14 carries to lead the team on the ground while Joe Jeskie mixed in some runs as well.
“We had a good mix all around this week,” Doroski said.
The Mercy defense shined all afternoon. Defensive lineman John Viola picked up three sacks.
“He’s been all over the field,” Doroski said.
Linebacker Jack Pavelchak intercepted a pass, his second of the year, and recorded eight tackles. On offense, he caught four passes for 54 yards.
Photo Caption: Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Jack Pavelchak carries the ball against John Glenn in Week 2. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)