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.