09/29/12 6:22pm
09/29/2012 6:22 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Asaiah Wilson gave the Monarchs a 12-0 lead by scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run.


These Monarchs have pride, and for good reason.

Bishop McGann-Mercy is off to one of the greatest starts in the football team’s history. Indeed, these are heady times for the Riverhead Catholic school. The Monarchs, who were seeded 12th in Suffolk County Division IV in a preseason coaches poll, brought their record to 4-0 on Saturday with a 12-7 homecoming win over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island at Harold T. Murray Memorial Field.

“Mercy football, 4 and 0!” said Asaiah Wilson, who played quarterback and safety for McGann-Mercy. Wilson went so far as to proclaim this the “best team in Mercy history.”

McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski said he did not know if the Monarchs had ever won their first four games in a season before. “We’re playing much more physical than we’ve ever played before,” he said. “We’re excited about what’s happening here.”

If the Monarchs were looking for an easy time against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island (0-4), it wasn’t happening. For one thing, it’s a rivalry game, and the Porters played what was easily their best game of the season.

McGann-Mercy can credit its defense for holding on during crunch time. After forcing McGann-Mercy to punt — and benefitting from a couple of penalties in the process — the Porters took possession at the Monarchs’ 40-yard line with 3 minutes 11 seconds to go in the game and the score 12-7. They reached the 16 before being stopped on a fourth-down play in which Eugene Allen absorbed a powerful initial hit by Wilson before being brought down by Ray Ellis for no gain. By holding the Porters several inches short of a first down, McGann-Mercy was able to run off four plays and the remaining time in the game.

“We lost basically by four inches,” said Allen, a junior who made his first start at quarterback. “We gave it all we can, just four inches. It was our game if we just made that one play.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island defensive back Jack Volinski breaking up a pass.

A controversial pass interference call against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island also had a big impact. The call came in the third quarter, negating an interception by Jack Volinski and allowing McGann-Mercy to retain possession. Two plays later, Wilson took the ball 10 yards on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown that made the score 12-0 with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

“That might have been the game,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “I talked to the official about it. I have no clue why he called that.”

Wilson (7 of 16, 139 yards), a junior transfer from Longwood, was also involved in McGann-Mercy’s first touchdown. He flipped a screen pass to Reggie Archer for a 37-yard touchdown completion in the second quarter.

Archer had a productive running game as well. Traversing a muddy, slick field that made it hard to get traction, the sophomore accumulated 122 yards from 29 carries.

A promising 11-play, 65-yard drive by McGann-Mercy reached the Porters’ 7-yard line. But the Monarchs came away empty-handed on the final play of the first half when Ed Kneski’s 35-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Timmy Stevens.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island got on the scoreboard with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Porters capped a 16-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run by Allen, making it a one-score game.

Allen is a playmaker, and that was the Porters’ thinking in going with him at quarterback instead of Matt Drinkwater, who had started the first three games at that position.

“We’re trying to get the ball in his hands as much as we can,” Martilotta said. “Drinkwater was doing well, but we feel [Allen] gives us a better chance to win. He’s quite an athlete. He made a couple of things happen today.”

Allen completed his last eight passes, going 10 of 11 for 104 yards. He said he took his first snaps as a quarterback since he was a freshman, and had not worked on his passing since mini camp over the summer. But he said he was confident. “I think if I had to, I can play any position on the field,” he said.

Allen took his share of hits from a McGann-Mercy defense that was a tough nut to crack. Pat Marelli made a game-high eight tackles, including one of the Monarchs’ six sacks.

Instead of their first win, the Porters dropped their ninth straight loss dating back to last year.

“It hurts,” Martilotta said. He added, “If we got that first down right there [near the end of the game], we’d be having a different interview right now.”

Meanwhile, these are happy times at McGann-Mercy, where the school is abuzz about what its football team has been doing. The Monarchs started the day in third place. Who knows where they will end up by the time the regular season ends? At this point, it looks like a safe bet that the Monarchs will be making their first playoff appearance since 2007. Their remaining games are against Port Jefferson, Shoreham-Wading River, The Stony Brook School and East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but something like this, I’m just shocked,” Wilson said. “I’m overwhelmed.”

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09/29/12 5:43pm

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola at a welcome home party at McDonald’s in Mattituck last October.

A defense fund was created to help two U.S. Marines, one of whom is from Southold, who are being court-martialed for allegedly urinating on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in late July 2011, and posing for pictures with the bodies.

The 3/2 Scout Sniper Defense Fund has started a Facebook site with a link to a PayPal account where contributions can be made, according to Laura Pace of Mattituck. Her brother, Staff Sgt. Edward Deptola of Southold, 27, faces charges along with another Marine, Staff. Sgt. Joseph Chambin, for the urinating incident, which was captured in a video that appeared on YouTube in January.

Click here for the full story on The Suffolk Times.

09/29/12 3:19pm

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Shannon Rosati heads the ball in a crowd Saturday morning against Bayport-Blue Point.


Junior goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop made 14 saves, but that was not enough to stop Bayport-Blue Point from recording a 1-0 win over host Shoreham-Wading River in a Suffolk County League VI girls soccer game on Saturday morning.

Junior forward Nicole Copping scored the lone goal of the match with 27:30 remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats (0-4 League VI, 1-4 overall) pushed for an equalizer in the second half, but fell short against Bayport (3-1-1, 3-0-1). It was the second straight shutout for the Wildcats after falling 1-0 at Mattituck Thursday night.

Shoreham visits Mt. Sinai at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Read a full story in next week’s Riverhead News-Review.

09/29/12 1:45pm

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead halfback Jeremiah Cheatom rushes the ball in Week 1.

Riverhead (2-1) vs. Hills West (0-3)

Division II

Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field

The Riverhead Blue Waves bounced back from a Week 2 loss in emphatic fashion last week by beating up on North Babylon the road. The Blue Waves, behind the running of halfback Jeremiah Cheatom (3 touchdowns), built a huge early lead before the Bulldogs tried to make a late rally, even pulling with one touchdown.

But the Blue Waves held off the Bulldogs to return home today at 2-1 and in second place in the Division II power points. With three other teams in the division still undefeated, including West Islip after a big win last night over Newfield, the Blue Waves will need to keep winning in order to keep their place as a top-four team in the division.

Hills West, a surprising 0-3 team, will be looking for some revenge after a controversial finish at Riverhead last year. In a wild shootout, the Blue Waves scored a last-second touchdown to win the game, a play that appeared to come after the clock had already hit zero.

To follow all of today’s action, click on the live blog below as former Riverhead Blue Wave Michael Hejmej provides updates throughout the game. Read more of Hejmej’s Riverhead football stories here.

09/29/12 1:00pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | A Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance vehicle parked in Riverhead earlier this summer.

A woman living in the Riverhead Town portion of Manorville last month urged the Riverhead Town Board to change the boundaries of local ambulance companies so that her neighborhood could be covered by the Manorville Community Ambulance, which is much closer to her neighborhood than the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance.

Now, several residents in the Brookhaven Town section of Calverton say they’d like to have their neighborhood covered by the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance instead of the Manorville Community Ambulance — also because it’s closer.

The residents are hoping the two towns can hammer out a deal.

Streets such as South River Road, Pinehurst Boulevard, Starr Boulevard and the Calverton Hills apartments are located in Brookhaven Town, but have Calverton Zip codes. They area served by the Manorville ambulance, even though Riverhead’s ambulance building is much closer.

Likewise, streets like Oakwood Drive and parts of Wading River-Manorville Road have Manorville Zip codes but are located in Riverhead Town. Clare Bennett of Oakwood Drive appealed to the Riverhead Town Board in August, asking that the Manorville ambulance be allowed to serve her neighborhood, citing response times from Riverhead.

Meanwhile, Lillian Rider of South River Road in Calverton told The News-Review this week that she’s hoping to have her neighborhood served by Riverhead ambulance instead of Manorville.

“It’s just ridiculous trying to get an emergency vehicle in this neck of the woods,” Ms. Rider said. Calls to 911 often go to Riverhead police first and are then relayed to Suffolk County police, she said.

“I think everyone here would be in favor of that,” Ernie Fugina, president of the Peconic Lake Estates Civic Organization, said of the idea of having Riverhead ambulance service his neighborhood. “It takes a long time to get an ambulance.”
PLECO’s members live in areas like South River Road, that are just south of the Peconic River.

Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy said Tuesday that he’s working to set up a meeting with officials from Brookhaven Town, the Manorville Community Ambulance and the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance to discuss the boundary issues. He said it will likely take place around the second week of October, but no date has been set.

“The Brookhaven Town Board has to approve it,” Mr. Dunleavy said. Likewise, the Riverhead Town Board is the agency in charge of the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance, whose boundaries do not extend outside the town.

When officials were talking about just having the Manorville part of Riverhead Town covered by Manorville Ambulance, they thought Riverhead would have to contract for services and pay Brookhaven for the ambulance service. But if the Riverhead ambulance can serve a part of Brookhaven, the towns might be able to exchange the services, Mr. Dunleavy said.

“If we can do a swap, it may not cost us any money,” he said.

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09/29/12 11:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop (left) and Republican Challenger Randy Altschuler on the stage at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall Thursday evening.

Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler of St. James, debated Thursday night at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead.

The debate, moderated by Suffolk Times editor Tim Kelly, can be seen below in three parts.

09/29/12 9:12am

A 46-year-old Riverhead man died following injuries suffered in a two-car motor vehicle accident on Sound Avenue Saturday morning, according to Riverhead Town Police.

At about 12:30 a.m., a 2006 Mazda sedan, which had been traveling eastbound was struck by a 2005 Kia Suburban SUV traveling west on Sound Avenue in Riverhead just east of the intersection with Horton Avenue, according to police.

Witnesses said that the Mazda appeared to have lost control going around a curve in the road and crossed into the westbound lane going sideways, directly into the path of the Kia.

The driver of the Mazda, John Scorzelli Jr., 46, of Riverhead, was treated at the scene by members of the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance and transported  to Peconic Bay Medical Center.

But police said he suffered extensive injuries in the accident and was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at the hospital.

The operator of the Kia, Lia Fallon, 43, of Port Jefferson, was treated at the scene for minor injuries and transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment, police said.

Sound Avenue was closed to traffic between Horton Avenue and Roanoke Avenue was closed to traffic while the accident was being investigated.

There were no charges issued as a result of the accident, according to police.

Mr. Scorzelli was a physician’s assistant at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital and lived on Park Drive. His wife, Maria, also is a physician’s assistant, at Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson.

Ms. Fallon is the executive chef and owner of Amarelle across from the Duck Ponds in Wading River and Bistro 72 at the Hotel Indigo in Riverhead.

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09/29/12 8:00am

I cringe every time I hear about one of these over-the-top Little League coaches getting arrested.

Not just because I’m upset for their families and the kids they coach, but also because I’m embarrassed for myself.

It was not that long ago that I, too, was a meathead youth sports coach.

Now let’s get a few things straight: I never followed a kid from the other team to his bus stop and sent photos along with a threatening text to his parents, as Robert Sanfilippo of Huntington is alleged to have done, charges that helped earn him national headlines and possible jail time.

No, my bad behavior was much more mild, but I definitely took things too seriously.

For the three years I coached youth softball — yes, girls ages 9 to 12. I kept meticulous stats, lost sleep at night over lineup decisions and even occasionally was tough on players.

And yes, there was even one time when a game I was managing had to be stopped briefly due to a war of words between yours truly and another coach.

I remember the details vividly (like I said, I used to lose sleep over this stuff).

My team was tied, 1-1, with our opponents, it was fairly late in the game and we were up at the plate. With a runner on first, one of my girls hit a single to left field. Coaching third base at the time, I began waving the runner on first to round second and head to third.

First to third on a single, nothing too aggressive about that base-running move, right? Except, I never stopped waving my arm.

When I looked out to see the left fielder catch the ground ball, I noticed she had no idea what to do. I could have been the nice guy and held my runners at first and third … but I didn’t.

When I saw the left fielder picking daisies with the ball in her mitt, I sent my base runner home with the go-ahead run. The other coach flipped.

In the past dozen years since it happened, I’ve always justified the move in my head as the right thing to do. My players, most every one of them, were prepared. They all knew where to throw the ball and to get it in quickly. They were also well aware of how to run the bases; when to hold, when to stop.

It wasn’t my fault the other coach’s team never practiced, I’d tell myself.

I told him that, too. He went bonkers and so did the left fielder’s mom, who started screaming expletives at me. The parents on my team fired back in my defense. Saturday morning youth softball suddenly sounded like Sunday night HBO.

The umpire, a kid who couldn’t have been a day older than 17, stopped the game. After 15 minutes of the coaches begging him to let us finish the final inning, he obliged. We won the pitcher’s duel, 2-1.

I was never proud of how I acted that day. While I’m still not convinced I did the wrong thing on the field, I certainly didn’t handle myself well after the action stopped.

I certainly hope the now infamous Mr. Sanfilippo isn’t trying to justify his recent actions. He was just plain wrong. Police said he went so far as to text the boy’s father that he’d “pick [the boy] at the bus stop for [the dad] next week” and he sent the dad pictures of the boy’s mom shopping.

The boy’s father told Newsday he didn’t recognize where the text messages were coming from at first.

“It was nerve-racking,” he told Newsday. “I couldn’t sleep. When he suddenly started mentioning my son by name, it just hit me that it was this guy.”

Police then showed up at Mr. Sanfilippo’s next game and arrested him. The Half Hollow Hills Little League has temporarily banned him from coaching and from their facilities, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

The sad thing is that Mr. Sanfilippo isn’t the only youth coach going way too far.

Google the words “Little League coach arrested.” The first page of results turns up multiple stories of coaches molesting kids, a coach who urinated in the outfield during a game, a coach who got busted buying cocaine at a game and a coach arrested for an assault that took place during a game. Every single one of these incidents occurred in the past three years, including several that happened in the past few months.

The first search result was a story about Mr. Sanfilippo, the new poster boy for competitive youth coaches taking things way too far.

Youth sports are supposed to be fun. It’s all about encouraging our kids to be active and to teach them about the importance of teamwork.

It’s not about us.

A few years back, I was out covering a basketball game when I ran into the coach with whom I’d mixed it up a decade earlier. His two kids, who were excellent athletes, were now playing high school sports. We exchanged a few brief but friendly words and moved on.

A few months later I ran into him at a pub and when I went to pay my tab, the bartender told me it was taken care of. The other coach, who was at the opposite end of the bar, raised his glass to me.

Grant Parpan is the executive editor for Times/Review Newsgroup. He has a career winning percentage of .786 as a youth softball coach. He can be reached at [email protected] or 631-354-8046.