11/15/14 6:38pm
11/15/2014 6:38 PM
Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Danny Hughes carries the ball in Saturday's win over Babylon. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Danny Hughes carries the ball in Saturday’s win over Babylon. (Credit: Bill Landon)

DIVISION IV SEMIFINALS  |  WILDCATS 56, PANTHERS 0

Shoreham Wading River has emerged as a force to be reckoned with thanks to a crushing defense and ground and pound offensive attack.

The Wildcats made short work of two-time defending Class IV Long Island champion Babylon Saturday with a 56-0 shellacking to advance to their first county title game in program history.  (more…)

11/14/14 4:00pm
11/14/2014 4:00 PM
SWR running back Chris Rosati scores a touchdown in a Week 8 win over Port Jefferson. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

SWR running back Chris Rosati scores a touchdown in a Week 8 win over Port Jefferson. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

It was back in Week 2, on a Friday night in mid-September, that the Shoreham-Wading River football team picked up one of its biggest wins in years.

The Wildcats, behind a stout defense, won for the first time ever that night in Babylon and for only the second time ever in program history against the Panthers. Shoreham snapped a 25-game winning streak for Babylon, the two-time defending Class IV Long Island champions.  (more…)

09/27/14 9:05pm
09/27/2014 9:05 PM
Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

So, how does a high school football team follow up one of the biggest wins in program history?

Well, if it’s Shoreham-Wading River, it wallops visiting Hampton Bays, 48-0.

A lot of things could have gone wrong in Saturday’s Suffolk County Division IV game for the Wildcats (3-0), who were coming off a stunning 9-7 upset of defending Long Island Class IV champion Babylon a week earlier. In addition to having to deal with Saturday’s hot weather, the Wildcats could have faced a natural letdown after their big triumph over Babylon.

It didn’t happen. (more…)

09/19/14 9:52pm
09/19/2014 9:52 PM
Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser receive a surprise ice shower after the Wildcats' upset victory over Babylon Friday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser receive a surprise ice shower after the Wildcats’ upset victory over Babylon Friday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

WILDCATS 9, PANTHERS 7

The memory is still fresh in the mind of Daniel Hughes. Two years ago. Under the lights in Babylon. The Wildcats were 5-1, and eager to prove they belonged in the upper echelon of Division IV.

On a night that ended like so many before in Babylon, the Wildcats limped away, their egos bruised, in a stinging 55-0 loss. A month later, the Panthers were Long Island champions, in the midst of a 25-game win streak they carried into Friday night.

“I’ve never had something as bad as that in my life,” Hughes said.

Losses against Babylon continued again last year, once in the regular season, again in the playoffs, 42-13.

The Wildcats returned to Babylon Friday, once again eager to prove a point.

And this time, they delivered.

In a defensive battle that came down to the very end, the Wildcats emerged 9-7 winners to hand the Panthers their first loss since the county championship game in 2011 against John Glenn. The Wildcats forced three turnovers, controlled field position throughout and relied on a physical, stout defense to hand the Panthers their first regular season loss since Oct. 1, 2011.

The Wildcats won for only the second time in program history against Babylon. Their only other win came in 2005. Overall, the Wildcats are now 2-15 against Babylon.

Seconds after Shoreham sophomore Ethan Wiederkehr sacked Babylon quarterback Ron Woodhull on fourth down to seal the victory, players grabbed the water cooler to douse coach Matt Millheiser. Only one kneel down remained for the win.

“I could hear the ice and all of a sudden, I was like whoa!” Millheiser said. “It’s all good. It’s worth it.”

Shoreham junior Chris Rosati scored on an 8-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and the score remained stuck at 6-0 for most of the game.

Neither team’s offense could generate drives.

The Wildcats gained a little breathing room with 5:35 left in the fourth when Daniel Mahoney kicked a 26-yard field to make it a two-possession game at 9-0.

But the Panthers came surging back with a five-play, 69-yard drive capped by a 34-yard touchdown pass from Woodhull to Stephen Schweitzer. The drive took only 56 seconds.

The Wildcats began their next drive with their worst field position of the game after a holding penalty on the kickoff negated a huge return by Isreal Squires. Backed up at their own 6-yard line, the Wildcats managed to pick up two first downs before eventually punting with under a minute to go. Babylon got the ball back on its own 38 and turned it over on four plays.

Rosati rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries. Hughes rushed for 60 on 13 carries. He also completed 7 of 17 passes for 71 yards.

The Wildcats improve to 2-0 heading into next week’s game against Hampton Bays. The Panthers are now 1-1.

Last year the Wildcats defeated Mount Sinai for the first time in program history.

joew@timesreview.com

11/15/13 12:30pm
11/15/2013 12:30 PM
DANIEL DE MATO FILE PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Daniel Hughes scrambles with the ball against Babylon in Week 2.

DANIEL DE MATO FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Daniel Hughes scrambles with the ball against Babylon in Week 2.

When the Shoreham-Wading River football team lines up against Babylon tonight in the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs, the odds will most definitely be stacked against the Wildcats.

The Panthers, defending Class IV Long Island champions, will take a 21-game win streak onto their home field, where they’ve been nearly unbeatable over the past decade. The Panthers have lost just twice since the start of the 2011 season.

While the top-seeded Panthers (9-0) enter as favorites, there’s reason for Shoreham (7-2) to be optimistic.

How can the Wildcats pull off the upset?

1. Control the clock

The Wildcats have relied on their ground game all season behind a veteran offensive line and the aggressive running of senior Tyler Anderson. In the first round of the playoffs, Anderson exploded for more than 400 rushing yards to break his previous school record. It won’t be that easy against Babylon, which has allowed double-digit points only twice this season. The Wildcats were one of those teams. But their 14 points scored were toward the end of the game after it already was lopsided. The Wildcats will need to control the pace of the game in order to win, running long drives, even if they end up without points.

2. Limit Babylon’s passing attack

Babylon quarterback Nick Santorelli lit up the Shoreham defense in the regular season matchup. Babylon’s strength is its ability to spread out a defense and throw the ball, which opens up the running game between the tackles. The Panthers have two dynamite receivers with tremendous size in 6-foot-5 Ray Wardell and 6-foot-2 Jack Carlock. The two combined for 12 receptions and three touchdowns when the teams last met. The Wildcats will need to avoid giving up big plays through the air, especially early in the game. If the Wildcats can force Babylon to run the ball, they’ll have a much better chance on defense.

3. Special teams

A key ingredient in any upset is the play of special teams, which can help swing the momentum of a game. The Wildcats have a tremendous kicker in Zach McAuley, who has the potential to add three points with a field goal if a drive stalls. A kick-off return or punt return for a touchdown would go a long way toward helping the Wildcats win an upset. Anderson has been returning kicks for Shoreham. He returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown in Week 8 against Port Jefferson.

4. No mistakes

It goes without saying in any football game, but for the Wildcats to have a chance, they can’t cough the ball up or commit needless penalties. If the Wildcats can win the turnover battle, the game could be there in the end for the taking. And if the Wildcats can put Babylon in an uncomfortable position of being in a tight game in the fourth quarter, who knows what might happen.

10/25/13 10:37pm
10/25/2013 10:37 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Babylon's Jack Kresek hits Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Mike Frosina while Frosina attempts a pass.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Babylon’s Jack Kresek hits Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Mike Frosina while Frosina attempts a pass.

PANTHERS 41, MONARCHS 6

The word on the street is that Babylon High School’s football team is even better than it was last year when the Panthers won the Long Island Class IV championship and the Rutgers Trophy, which is given to the most outstanding team in Suffolk County. A reporter who covers the team said the current squad is the strongest he has seen in 20 years.

Now that has to send a chill through teams throughout Suffolk Division IV and beyond.

Is Babylon that good?

It just may be. The Panthers have been beating opponent after opponent in dominant fashion. In other words, it has been business as usual in Babylon this season.

On Friday night it was Bishop McGann-Mercy’s turn to take its medicine. Babylon, playing its final regular-season at home, assured itself of a playoff game in the familiar surroundings of Coach Walt Williams Field with a 41-6 defeat of the Monarchs. Babylon (7-0), which started the day as one of only three unbeaten teams in Suffolk, extended its winning streak to 19 games.

Impressive as ever, Babylon was once again a model of offensive efficiency and defensive toughness. Babylon surged to a 28-0 lead by halftime, by which time the Monarchs (0-7) had minus-7 yards of offense. McGann-Mercy finished the game with only one first down and 63 yards in offense.

Meanwhile, Babylon scored touchdowns on five of its first six possessions. The Panthers have produced 29 touchdowns in 34 first-half possessions this season.

That doesn’t include a strange play that brought the second score of Friday’s game. A line-drive punt by McGann-Mercy’s Andrew Glasgow was caught near the line of scrimmage by Babylon’s Luke Zappia, and he ran the ball back 30 yards for his fourth touchdown of the season late in the first quarter.

Babylon put the ball in the air only five times, but three of them went for touchdowns. Nick Santorelli, one of the 16 Babylon seniors who were recognized and presented with a rose during a pregame ceremony, hit Stony Brook University-bound Jake Carlock for a pair of touchdowns. The two slants, of 25 and 32 yards, were Carlock’s only catches of the night before Babylon coach Rick Punzone started making multiple substitutions in the second quarter. But the second catch gave Carlock, a senior, his 15th touchdown of the season, a school record.

Santorelli was replaced at quarterback by Henry Brunjes about midway through the second quarter, and Brunjes immediately led a drive that ended with him finding an open Eddie Vega in the end zone for an 11-yard reception. It was the first touchdown of the year for both of them.

Making it look easy, Babylon continued putting points on the scoreboard in the second half. Stephen Schweitzer scored on a 7-yard run and Brunjes ran one in from 5 yards out himself.

The Monarchs averted a shutout when their quarterback, Mike Frosina, turned what coach Jeff Doroski said was a busted play into a touchdown. It looked like a naked bootleg, with Frosina faking a handoff before darting around the left side and racing 30 yards to the end zone. It was McGann-Mercy’s only third-down conversion of the game.

Eleven Babylon ball carriers contributed to the team’s 207 rushing yards.

Pat Marelli made a game-high 7 tackles for the Monarchs; all of them were solo except for one, and two were for losses.

bliepa@timesreview.com

09/20/13 9:53pm
09/20/2013 9:53 PM

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Daniel Hughes scrambles for a first down in the fourth quarter Friday night against Babylon.

PANTHERS 36, WILDCATS 14

If the question for Shoreham-Wading River was whether the Wildcats had bridged the gap between themselves and the upper echelon of Division IV, the Babylon Panthers delivered a swift and emphatic answer Friday night: not yet.

The defending Long Island champions, who haven’t lost a regular season game since Oct. 1, 2011, quickly put an end to the Wildcats’ night by taking a 29-0 lead in the second quarter. The Panthers (2-0) scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions and cruised to a 36-14 victory.

The silver lining for the Wildcats: they reached the end zone twice, something they hadn’t done at all in their previous two trips to Babylon.

The Shoreham touchdowns came on consecutive plays from scrimmage, both 80-yard runs. Senior Tyler Anderson scored the first, busting a run to the outside and up the sideline on the final play of the third quarter. After Babylon went three-and-out, the Wildcats struck again when junior Aaron Harley-Rey broke through the middle for an 80-yard score.

The two plays injected life back into the Wildcats’ sideline, but the score never got any closer.

At the very least, the Wildcats can leave Babylon knowing they played a tougher game than a year ago, when the Panthers dismantled Shoreham late in the season, 55-0.

Babylon’s offense Friday did most of its damage early on through the air behind quarterback Nick Santorelli. He threw 11-of-13 for 150 yards and three touchdowns. The Panthers played a lot of spread formations with four wide receivers, which also opened up some running lanes for Santorelli and halfback Eric Schweitzer.

On two passing touchdowns, the Wildcats had a defensive back in position. But both times the receiver simply went up and snatched the ball out of the air.

Ray Wardell, a 6-foot-5 receiver, easily came down with the first passing touchdown while matched up against the 5-foot-10 cornerback Mike Ingermi for Shorheam. The touchdown gave Babylon a 14-0 lead. Jake Carlock, who’s 6-2, scored the first of his two touchdowns by snagging a ball amid double coverage at the left corner of the end zone.

Wardell caught six passes to lead the receiving corps. In the second half, the Panthers abandoned the spread formations and stuck to a basic running attack.

Schweitzer scored two touchdowns on the ground to lead the rushing attack. Anderson still had a big day on the ground for Shoreham as he tallied 150 yards.

The loss dropped Shoreham to 1-14 all-time against Babylon. The Wildcats host The Stony Brook School next week.

joew@timesreview.com

08/21/13 8:00am
08/21/2013 8:00 AM
Riverhead Foundation Courtesy Photo | Roxanne and foundation volunteers during a physical at the Riverhead aquarium.

RIVERHEAD FOUNDATION COURTESY PHOTO | Roxanne and foundation volunteers during a physical.

A campaign to raise funds for the release of the Riverhead Foundation’s newest patient is making waves.

Roxanne, an adult Risso’s dolphin was rescued just south of Oak Beach on Jones Beach Island in Babylon June 6. The U.S. Coast Guard found her struggling from dehydration and gastric bleeding on a sand bar, according to officials from the non-profit.

Foundation volunteers transported Roxanne on a stretcher, loading the 9-foot, 600-pound dolphin into the back of a vehicle and brought her to her current home in Riverhead.

“Roxanne is now healthy and thriving,” according to the press release. “She eats over 75 pounds of squid each day, and interacts with staff along with her enrichment devices.”

Roxanne will need an 18 member team, a crane, a transport truck and a vessel to carry her back into ocean waters. She will also be fitted with a satellite tracking device in order to provide data on how she behaves after her release.

In all, about $35,000 is needed to completely fund her rehabilitation and release, according to a foundation spokeswoman.

Her story aired last Thursday night on WABC’s Channel 7 Eyewitness News, generating more than $4,500 in donations in the 24 hours following the broadcast.

The network included the hashtag #FreeRoxanne, which is now being used to spread Roxanne’s story on Facebook and Twitter.

More information about Roxanne can be found on her donation page, and a real-time view of her can be seen on the foundation’s website.

Foundation officials said they hope to release Roxanne in early September.

Riverhead Foundation Courtesy Photo | Roxanne in her tank at the Riverhead Aquarium.

RIVERHEAD FOUNDATION COURTESY PHOTO | Roxanne in her tank at the Riverhead Foundation.