It’s official. Suffolk County Division IV football will see a changing of the guard.
No. 3 seed Shoreham-Wading River, winner of the last three Long Island Class IV championships, saw its bid for a rare four-peat squashed Friday night by No. 2 Miller Place in the brutal cold.
Tyler Ammirato ran for two first-half touchdowns, sending host Miller Place on the way to a 28-0 blanking of Shoreham in a division semifinal. The Panthers (9-1), winners of six straight games, advance to the final against No. 1 Babylon or No. 4 Elwood/John Glenn on Thursday night at Stony Brook University.
Shoreham’s loss snapped a string of 13 consecutive playoff wins dating back to 2014. The Wildcats ended up with a 7-3 record.
Miller Place did something no other team has done this year in shutting out Shoreham. The Wildcats were held to 142 yards, all on the ground. Then again, it wasn’t an ideal night for throwing the ball.
Some of the most remarkable numbers were related to the weather. By game time the temperature was 31 degrees. It had dropped to 29 by halftime. Because of the breezy conditions, the wind-chill factor was said to make it feel as if the temperature was 10 to 15 degrees.
The weather didn’t seem to bother Ammirato, though. The 5-7, 170-pound senior running back didn’t take long to get warmed up. On Miller Place’s third play from scrimmage, he bolted through an opening up the middle and dashed 51 yards for the score.
Ammirato’s second TD, a 16-yarder off left tackle, along with Cameron Hammer’s extra point, spotted Miller Place a 14-0 lead 2 minutes, 15 seconds into the second quarter. An Alex Herbst interception set up that TD.
The shifty Ammirato picked up 129 yards on 19 carries.
The score remained 14-0 until Miller Place tacked on a pair of fourth-quarter TDs.
Shoreham put the ball in the air only four times, and two of those passes were intercepted. The second of those, by Rob Morales, was returned 35 yards for a TD 4:20 into the fourth quarter.
On Miller Place’s first possession after that, Tom Nealis made a sensational diving catch in the end zone of a 25-yard pass by Anthony Seymour.
Two of Miller Place’s wins have come at Shoreham’s expense. On the same field, Miller Place was a 21-14 winner over the Wildcats on Oct. 14.
Photo caption: Kyle Boden, left, and Liam Mahoney console each other following Shoreham-Wading River’s loss at Miller Place. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)