First Kevin Cutinella ran for touchdowns, and then he ran for a hot dog.
The hot dog was a well-deserved postgame snack for the Shoreham-Wading River quarterback. Cutinella bolted for four touchdowns and 184 yards, both career-high numbers for the senior, as the Wildcats ran over visiting Miller Place, 49-6, in a Suffolk County Division IV football semifinal Friday night at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field.
Two-time defending Long Island champion Shoreham (8-2) has advanced to its third straight county final. The Wildcats will play Babylon (10-0) for the Suffolk title Saturday at Stony Brook University. Babylon is responsible for one of Shoreham’s two losses.
Following the lead of junior kicker Tyler McAuley, who ran with the team’s “54” banner as the players charged onto the field before the game, Shoreham looked fired up and ready. The Wildcats had defeated Miller Place (7-3) by 13 points last month, but won by an even more convincing margin this time, thanks to an all-around performance from all quarters, starting with Cutinella.
Cutinella, playing his final game on the field named in honor of his late brother, made it a memorable one. On Shoreham’s second play from scrimmage, he received the shotgun snap and darted straight up the middle, disappearing amid a mass of bodies before reappearing and breaking through for a 39-yard score.
Miller Place had an answer for that on the second play of its next possession when Tyler Ammirato (21 carries, 156 yards) broke free for a 78-yard touchdown dash. The extra-point attempt failed, leaving Shoreham holding a 7-6 edge.
Shoreham broke the game open with three touchdowns within a span of 5 minutes, 54 seconds bridging the second and third quarters.
The Wildcats struck for a pair of touchdowns in the final 3:28 of the first half for a 21-6 lead at the half. Joe Miller jumped in front of a pass for an interception, taking the ball back 40 yards to the end zone. Then, with 14 seconds to go before halftime, Cutinella, on a keeper up the middle, laid a shoulder into a defender and found open space ahead of him for a 76-yard touchdown run.
A Miller Place player was injured on the play. Coleton Reitan, a junior wide receiver/safety, remained face down on the field while personnel attended to him. He was rolled over, stabilized, placed onto a stretcher and carried into an emergency vehicle as fans applauded him. A trainer said the measures were precautionary and he expected Reitan to be OK.
Shoreham kept its momentum going. On the fourth play from scrimmage in the second half, Chris Gray (17 carries, 152 yards) turned in an electrifying 72-yard run for his 24th touchdown of the year. He crisscrossed from one side of the field to the other, and leaped over a defender near the end. The senior has 1,618 yards from 143 carries, an average of 11.3 yards per carry, this year.
Before the third quarter was over, Cutinella tacked on touchdowns runs of 3 and 36 yards. He carried the ball 15 times.
Kyle Boden added a touchdown run of his own from 16 yards out in the fourth quarter.
McAuley converted all seven of his extra-point attempts.
Cutinella also had an interception for Shoreham’s defense, which stopped Miller Place for negative yardage on 11 of 40 rushing plays. Logan Snyder, Ethan Wiederkehr and Boden sacked Miller Place quarterback Anthony Seymour three times.
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Kevin Cutinella ran for four touchdowns and 184 yards, both career-high numbers, in a semifinal win over Miller Place. (Credit: Bill Landon)