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Football: Curran picks off four passes and SWR rolls to 5-0

10/03/2015 6:08 PM |

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Jason Curran’s become the boss of the Shoreham-Wading River football team.

He’s the team’s quarterback, taking over the reigns from Danny Hughes after his spectacular senior season a year ago. He’s also replaced Hughes on defense, becoming the team’s free safety, a position that serves as the de facto quarterback on the other side of the ball.

“I was just doing whatever Danny Hughes told me,” Curran said of his role on defense last year. “Now I get to boss people around and tell them where to go.”

On Saturday, in the Wildcats’ biggest game of the year to date, Curran shined on both ends of the field, particularly on defense. He picked off four passes as the ball seemed to gravitate to him like a magnet. His first came on a superb diving play, as he caught the ball like a wide receiver fully outstretched to end the Mustangs’ opening drive.

Even when the Mustangs changed quarterbacks, it didn’t slow down Curran, who seemed to pick off anything in his direction. His big day highlighted another standout effort from the Shoreham defense as the Wildcats rolled to a 35-7 win at Mount Sinai High School.

In a contest that featured two undefeated teams, the Wildcats (5-0) dominated on both ends to extend their win streak to 17 games.

It was Curran’s day in the end.

“After the second [interception], every time I saw a ball thrown I kind of knew he was going to pick it off,” said senior Chris Rosati.

Perhaps just a coincidence, Curran wore the same number (6) as the Mustangs’ primary receiver: Griffin McGrath. Curran finished with as many interceptions as McGrath did receptions.

“I’m just back there trying to deflect passes really,” Curran said.

He nearly had another interception late in the second quarter when he broke up a pass play on fourth down.

The defense suffocated Mount Sinai all afternoon and limited the Mustangs to under 100 yards of total offense. The only points Shoreham allowed came on a fumble recovery by Appio Fragoletti in the final seconds of the first half that made it a 14-7 game.

It was all Shoreham in the second half. The Wildcats struck twice for touchdowns in the third quarter to open up a 28-7 lead. Curran scored his second of the game on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to make it 21-7 and then Rosati ran in a 21-yard run to extend the lead even more.

Rosati finished with three touchdowns, increasing his season total to 16. He also rushed for 162 yards on 14 carries.

Dating back to last year, the Wildcats have now scored at least 34 points in 13 straight games.

It was an emotional week for the Wildcats as they marked the one-year anniversary of Thomas Cutinella’s death. On Friday, hundreds of people turned out for a candlelight vigil to remember Tom, including the Mustangs. Two of Tom’s cousins play for Mount Sinai.

“We kept it in the back of our minds that we’re playing for him today,” Rosati said. “Knowing that we played against his two cousins was emotional. It’s just different, playing and knowing how close they are with him. Both teams are playing for Tom.”

The Wildcats entered the field in Mount Sinai with the No. 54 flag in honor of Cutinella. His younger brother Kevin played well on both ends and contributed five carries for 24 yards on offense.

Curran said the team came out focused on Saturday even after the emotional day before.

“We had our mind right because we’re thinking about Tom and that just makes us play harder and smarter just like he did,” he said.

In years past, a game at Mount Sinai almost certainly meant defeat for Shoreham. Saturday’s win was only the second against the Mustangs in program history. Their first win against Mount Sinai came in 2013. Last year, with Mount Sinai in Division III, the teams did not play.

The Wildcats opened the game in style with a methodical 10-play drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run from Curran. The Wildcats chewed up 6 minutes and 14 seconds of the first quarter on their opening drive. After Curran’s first interception, the Wildcats went ahead 14-0 when Rosati broke a 51-yard touchdown run.

Curran finished with 45 rushing yards on 14 carries. He attempted only three passes and completed two of them.

The Wildcats, after dominating the first half, held only a seven-point lead at halftime.

“We thought we were in control although it seemed like they were going to get momentum at the end of the half after that botched play,” Curran said.

It was the Wildcats’ defense and special teams that halted any Mount Sinai momentum. The Wildcats sent the Mustangs backward on their drive of the third quarter, forcing a punt from the Mustangs’ own 8-yard line. Shoreham senior James Loesch came in to block the punt, giving the Wildcats possession at the Mount Sinai 6-yard line. Four players later, on fourth-and-1, Curran punched it in for a touchdown.

Shoreham will travel to Port Jefferson next week. A game against John Glenn, a rematch of last year’s county championship, looms the following week in what may likely determine the Division IV winner.

Photo Caption: Shoreham-Wading River Jason Curran makes his second interception amid a crowd of teammate Jon Constant and Mount Sinai receiver Griffin McGrath. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

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