ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead wide receiver Ryan Hubbard finished Saturday’s game with one touchdown reception.
BLUE WAVES 21, WOLVERINES 8
In a span of 12 hours, the Riverhead Blue Waves lost two captains to injuries before the start of Saturday’s regular season finale against Newfield.
Quarterback Cody Smith suffered an eye injury late Friday in an incident coach Leif Shay described as “kids being kids.” Then during warmups, two-way starter Jaron Greenidge suffered a concussion. The Blue Waves also started the game without running back Jeremiah Cheatom, who arrived late after taking the SAT in the morning.
Still, the depth of the Blue Waves came through as Riverhead rallied to win 21-8 on the road to finish the regular season 7-1, locking up the No. 1 seed in the Division II playoffs.
Junior Ken Simco made his first varsity start and threw one touchdown in the win, a 20-yard pass in the third quarter to wide receiver Ryan Hubbard.
When Cheatom entered the game on the Blue Waves’ third possession, the game quickly turned. Cheatom carried 24 times for 110 yards with two touchdowns.
He scored from 11 yards out with 9:34 left in the second quarter to put the Blue Waves ahead 7-0. He added another score with 24 seconds left in the half on a 4-yard run.
The Blue Waves seemed well on their way to a 13-0 halftime lead. But Newfield struck for two quick pass plays to score a touchdown just before the half ended to make it 13-8.
Riverhead opened the second half on defense and Andrew Kinard intercepted a pass to give the Blue Waves possession at the Newfield 42. Five plays later, Simco connected with Hubbard for the touchdown that stood as the game’s final score.
The Blue Waves will open the playoffs at 1 p.m. next Saturday at home against No. 8 Half Hollow Hills West. Newfield finishes the regular season 5-3 and will open the playoffs as the No. 5 seed facing No. 4 West Islip.
Correction: An earlier version stated Cheatom missed the beginning of the game due to disciplinary reasons. While the Blue Waves did have players out at the beginning for that reason, he was not one of them.
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy running back Reggie Archer carries the ball against Babylon Oct. 25, which turned out to be the final game of the season for the Monarchs.
The McGann-Mercy football team’s final game of the regular season tonight at Southampton was abruptly canceled this morning, according to Mercy athletic director John Lonardo and head coach Jeff Doroski.
It was Southampton’s decision to forfeit the game, which will go down as Mercy’s first win of the season.
Lonardo said he received a call last night from Southampton’s athletic director about the possibility of a forfeit. This morning, Mr. Lonardo said he received a call confirming that the game will not be played.
“As far as I know there are no plans to play game at a future date,” he said.
Southampton High School Principal Brian Zahn told The Southampton Press that “there was an incident reported to us that we are investigating and following up on. Because of the nature of our investigation we felt it best that we just forfeit that game.”
The news came as a shock to the Monarchs, who prepared all week to face the 1-6 Mariners and were excited over the prospects of ending the season with a win.
“I feel bad for all the kids involved,” Doroski said. “The seniors miss out on an opportunity to play their last high school football game.”
Word began to spread among the players this morning via text messages and phone calls, Doroski said. The team plans to meet at 3 p.m. today for a final meeting and to collect equipment. Doroski said they might take the players out for a night of bowling and pizza.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on over there.”
After a thrilling run to the Division IV semifinals last year in the playoffs, the Monarchs couldn’t catch a break this year as a difficult schedule and injuries paved the way to an 0-7 start. As practice began this week, Doroski told the players that nothing else matters from this point as they prepared to try to win their final game.
“For the seniors that would be something they remember,” Doroski said.
ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead’s Raheem Brown, left, and Ryan Harkin wrap up West Islip’s Max McNichols for a loss.
BLUE WAVES 33, LIONS 21
Senior running back Jeremiah Cheatom ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns to spark Riverhead to a 33-21 victory over West Islip in a Suffolk County Division II football game at Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field on Saturday afternoon.
The win solidified the Blue Waves’ prospects of hosting at least one game in the upcoming playoffs, which are to begin on the weekend of Nov. 9.
The first half was a see-saw battle.
Riverhead (6-1) grabbed a 7-0 lead on Darren Jefferson’s 30-yard touchdown reception and Dylan Pace’s’ point after with 3 minutes 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but West Islip (5-2) tied it on quarterback Sam Iliaro’s one-yard run and Liam O’Donnell’s ensuing PAT 29 seconds into the second period.
The Blue Waves retook the lead on Cheatom’s 48-yard scoring run on the next possession with 9:47 remaining in the half, but could only extend the margin to 13-7 as Pace failed to convert the extra point.
Iliaro’s 20-yard TD run and O’Donnell’s point after boosted the visitors into a 14-13 halftime lead.
Senior quarterback Cody Smith’s three-yard run and sophomore running back Ryun Moore’s successful two-point run lifted the Blue Waves into a 21-14 advantage they would not relinquish with 5:15 left in the third quarter.
Cheatom, who carried the ball 36 times, including on 23 occasions in the second half, sandwiched a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs around a West Islip score. He ran in from 12 yards with 10:15 remaining and from five yards with 4:09 left.
Iliaro had a one-yard run for West Islip with 7:03 to go in the game. The Blue Waves finish their regular season next week at Newfield, 22-8 winners over Central Islip on Saturday.
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River’s Brennan Gorman (51), Max Goldfarb (77), Chris Rosati (8) and Ethan Wiederkehr (40) celebrate after stopping Elwood/John Glenn on a third-and-one play.
KNIGHTS 21, WILDCATS 18
A back-and-forth battle marked by turnovers and missed opportunities came down to a big fourth-quarter decision.
The Knights of Elwood/John Glenn, thanks to three rushing touchdowns by sophomore quarterback Wayne Knight — and needing a win to stay in the race for a Suffolk County football playoff spot — held a 21-18 lead over host Shoreham-Wading River on Saturday afternoon.
The Knights faced fourth-and-three at the Wildcats’ 32 with a little more than three minutes remaining. With the wind behind them, they could punt into the end zone or try a pooch punt deep into Wildcats territory and leave it to their defense. They could let White or tailback Chris Forsberg, who combined for 200 rushing yards, carry the ball for a first down that would all but seal the win.
Knights head coach Dave Shanahan went for door No. 3.
White faked a handoff, turned to his right and tossed a 5-yard curl to Stephen Orkiszewski for the first down, which allowed the Knights — who entered the game in seventh place in Division IV — to run out the clock and improve to 5-2.
“I went to the senior,” said Shanahan, referring to Orkiszewski. “Our kids really rallied and buckled down, and we were able to run the ball. Usually, we throw the ball. Today we ran it.”
White relieved starting quarterback Tommy Balacki, a senior, midway through the first quarter, and the move sparked the Knights. White finished with 102 yards rushing and 48 yards passing.
Shoreham-Wading River came into the game in second place and dropped to 5-2 with the loss. With one game remaining at 3-4 Port Jefferson, the Wildcats are playing for a top-four seed in the playoffs.
“I tell the kids after every game, whether it’s a win at Mount Sinai, enjoy the weekend, but we’ll see you on Monday and it’s back to work,” said Wildcats head coach Matt Millheiser. “The message is the same here. We had a tough loss, we wanted this one bad, but now it stings over the weekend, and it’s time to get back to work on Monday.”
The Wildcats honored 13 seniors in a ceremony before their final home game, and came out storming. Tyler Anderson (26 carries, 225 yards) returned the opening kickoff 43 yards to midfield. After a 16-yard run and a 30-yard jaunt by quarterback Danny Hughes, Anderson capped the 89-second drive with a six-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
Two plays later, Glenn’s Keeshawn Boodie lost a fumble at midfield, but a botched pitch to Isreal Squires gave the ball right back to the Knights, who ended up missing a field goal.
The Wildcats went three-and-out, and a shanked punt into a stiff wind gave the Knights possession at the Shoreham 16 yard-line. Four plays later, at fourth-and-one from the 7, White scored on a sweep to help knot the score, 7-7.
The Wildcats answered with a drive that featured a 31-yard run by Anderson and a 26-yard reception by Aaron Harely-Rey, and had first-and-goal at the Knights 4. Anderson lost three yards, and after an incomplete pass, Hughes took it to the goal line and came up inches short. On fourth down, Millheiser called Hughes’ number again, but the Knights defense stopped him at the goal line.
“Danny doesn’t get it in on the quarterback sneak, so that’s a difference in score right there,” Millheiser said. “They were able to capitalize on their chances, and we weren’t able to capitalize on enough of ours.”
The Knights punted the ball back to the Wildcats, who went ahead by 10-7 on a 35-yard field goal by Zach McAuley. But the Knights responded, driving 72 yards for a touchdown when White scored from two yards out with 18 seconds left in the half.
Glenn missed another field goal, from 25 yards out, early in the third quarter, but the Wildcats couldn’t handle the prosperity, turning it back over when Harely-Rey lost a fumble at the Shoreham 38. Four plays later, White scored his third touchdown, and the Knights led, 21-10.
The Wildcats answered quickly. A 17-yard pass from Hughes to Adam Tanner helped set up a 21-yard touchdown run by Anderson, and the senior workhorse converted the two-point try to move the Wildcats within three, 21-18, early in the fourth quarter.
The Shoreham defense forced the Knights to punt, but the Wildcats’ turned it back over on downs, as Anderson was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-three from the Shoreham 39.
Millheiser said he is counting on his seniors to get the Wildcats back on track. He said, “It’s nothing they haven’t been through before, and I expect them to respond and be leaders going into the next week.”
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.
AP/SCOTT BOEHM PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet played in the preseason with Cleveland, one his five teams so far. He was released from the Jets yesterday.
No one said playing in the NFL was easy.
Miguel Maysonet’s latest bid to make an NFL roster ended Tuesday when he was released from the New York Jets’ practice squad, according to multiple media reports. The Jets were the fifth team he played with since signing with the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after the NFL Draft ended in April.
Maysonet, the former Riverhead and Stony Brook University star running back, signed with the Jets’ practice squad Oct. 15.
Maysonet has also made stops in Cleveland, Indianapolis and San Diego. He spent nearly the entire preseason with the Browns and saw action in each preseason game.
ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Ryan Hubbard intercepted two passes and caught a 56-yard reception in Saturday’s win over Walt Whitman.
BLUE WAVES 28, WILDCATS 0
Dylan Pace briefly played quarterback during his younger days in P.A.L. Now as a junior on the Riverhead varsity, Pace is listed as an offensive lineman and defensive end, although his niche has been on special teams as a kicker.
In Saturday’s homecoming game against Walt Whitman, Pace’s role expanded to punter after the Blue Waves lost Dan Czelatka to an injury last week during their win over Smithtown West.
Over the last few weeks, the Blue Waves have practiced a fake punt play over and over, waiting for just the right time to unveil it. After two stalled drives to start Saturday’s game and the Blue Waves facing a fourth down in Whitman territory, Riverhead coach Leif Shay decided it was time.
Pace took the snap deep in punt formation, grabbed the ball with his right hand and fired a pass to Jaron Greenidge, who scampered 40 yards for a touchdown that stunned the Wildcats and put Riverhead ahead 14-0.
“I don’t even know how I threw it,” Pace said. “I wouldn’t call it lucky,” but I can throw it pretty good.”
Pace’s first varsity touchdown helped the Blue Waves roll to a 28-0 win over Whitman in front of a packed house at Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field.
The Blue Waves notched their second straight shutout to improve to 5-1 in Division II.
After Pace threw the touchdown, he didn’t have time to celebrate. The Blue Waves needed him to kick the extra point. Then, he had to kick off.
“I’m just glad I threw a touchdown and got my first touchdown,” Pace said.
Even the coaches were pleasantly surprised.
“Dylan’s really stepping up as an athletic kid,” Shay said. “We didn’t know he could throw that well.”
ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Jaron Greenidge makes one of his team-leading four catches against Whitman.
Pace has gotten better and better kicking extra points for Riverhead after the Blue Waves opened the season unsure who could kick. Shay said earlier in the season that it was important for the Blue Waves to be confident in kicking extra points.
Pace has now made his last seven kicks over the past two games.
“Toward the beginning of the season I was struggling with my extra points and kickoffs,” he said. “I’ve been practicing more and got better and better.”
Pace doesn’t consider himself an “actual kicker,” but said if the team needs him, he’s ready.
Senior Ryan Hubbard, who also had to step up in the absence of Czelatka, had a big day with two interceptions. He got the Blue Waves on the board in the first quarter with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown. Late in the second quarter he picked off another pass.
“He’s been great for us all year,” Shay said. “He’s stepping up because Czelatka’s down, but he’s always been solid for us.”
Riverhead’s defense carried the load on a day where the offense didn’t generate the same spark it has in some earlier games. The Wildcats, despite a 1-5 record, made life difficult for the Blue Waves on offense.
Senior Jeremiah Cheatom still churned out 116 yards on 18 carries. He scored the Blue Waves’ final touchdown on a 12-yard run in the third quarter.
“They did a good job of presenting us some fronts that we hadn’t seen yet,” Shay said.
Riverhead’s defense didn’t allow much of anything. Whitman mustered just 53 yards of offense.
“Defensively we knew they were quick,” said Riverhead linebacker Mike Van Bommel. “No. 10 (Jaron Batts), small, shifty, we knew we had to corral him.”
The Blue Waves limited Batts to only 10 yards on 10 carries. The Blue Waves’ defense produced seven tackles for a loss.
“We finally started meshing,” Van Bommel said. “Playing as a team, we’re playing good responsible football.”
The Blue Waves scored two of their touchdowns on fourth down plays. Pace’s touchdown in the first quarter and then quarterback Cody Smith threw a 32-yard pass to Andrew Kinard in the second quarter on fourth-and-eight. That put the Blue Waves ahead 21-0. Kinard snatched the ball right out from under Terhon Legros, who was in disbelief that he let the ball go right past him.
Riverhead’s win sets the stage for what should be a good one next week against West Islip. The teams came into this week in a three-way tie for first place along with Smithtown West.
Before the season, one of Riverhead’s goals was to win “two out of the three W’s,” Van Bommel said, eluding to Smithtown West, Walt Whitman and West Islip.
So far, the Blue Waves are two-for-two.
“We would definitely like to go three-for-three,” Van Bommel said.
NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game in honor of Benjamin Goodale, a Riverhead police officer who died suddenly Oct. 15. Mr. Goodale graduated from Riverhead in 1990 and played football during his high school years.