12/02/14 7:30pm
12/02/2014 7:30 PM
Isreal Squires, with an escort provided by Bryce Casey, crossing the goal line for an 80-yard touchdown reception. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Isreal Squires, with an escort provided by Bryce Casey, crossing the goal line for an 80-yard touchdown reception. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Speed kills — and thrills. And wins Long Island championships.

Fleetness of foot was the outstanding quality exhibited by the Shoreham-Wading River High School football team as it sped to its first Long Island championship on Sunday. It was Isreal Squires’ blazing speed, especially, that drew raves from the press box at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

Squires sure can fly, and the Wildcats soared, 47-13, in the Long Island Class IV final over a Roosevelt team that is pretty fast itself. (more…)

12/01/14 12:57am
12/01/2014 12:57 AM
Shoreham-Wading River collected some coveted trophies with their first Long Island championship on Sunday night. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River collected some coveted trophies with their first Long Island championship on Sunday night. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

LONG ISLAND CLASS IV FINAL | WILDCATS 47, ROUGH RIDERS 13

The season that brought so much pain also brought joy, and perfection.

Along with 54, the retired uniform number of a fallen teammate, the Shoreham-Wading River High School football team’s season will also be remembered for some other numbers: 12-0, as in 12 wins, no losses.

A season that mixed tragedy with triumph concluded Sunday night with the Wildcats in a class of their own. For the Wildcats, it was the perfect ending to a perfect season, a 12-0 season topped off by their first Long Island championship in the team’s 17-year history. (more…)

09/13/14 11:30am
09/13/2014 11:30 AM
Shoreham-Wading River senior Isreal Squires during a practice leading up to yesterday's season opener. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Isreal Squires during a practice leading up to yesterday’s season opener. (Credit: Garret Meade)

WILDCATS 35, RED DEVILS 7

No matter how well a team may look in the preseason, a coach still gets that uneasy feeling before the first game of the season. How will a new team perform once the game’s count for real?  (more…)

11/02/13 6:12pm
11/02/2013 6:12 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Tyler Anderson scored three touchdowns Saturday against Port Jefferson.

WILDCATS 33, ROYALS 7

It took a few days for the sting of last week’s loss to John Glenn to begin to fade for Shoreham-Wading River. The Wildcats realized all they could do was prepare for the next game today against Port Jefferson and close out the season with a win.

“We tried to treat this week as a playoff week,” said Shoreham coach Matt Millheiser. “I think the kids responded to that.”

Shoreham rolled to a 33-7 road win over the Royals Saturday to finish the regular season at 6-2 in Division IV. But as the final power points were tallied, the sting of that earlier loss reappeared.

The Wildcats, who were in prime position to earn the No. 2 seed going into last week, which would have been the highest finish in program history, will instead begin the playoffs as the No. 4. While that does give Shoreham a home playoff game in the first round, it lines them up to most likely face unbeaten and top-seeded Babylon in the semifinals rather than the county championship.

There’s still a chance the Wildcats could avoid Babylon until the county finals; teams are reseeded after the first round. But that would require either No. 2 Mount Sinai or No. 3 John Glenn to lose in the first round in games they would be favored to win.

Shoreham will begin the postseason against No. 5 Center Moriches next Saturday at 1 p.m. The teams did not meet in the regular season. Mount Sinai, Glenn, Shoreham and Center Moriches all finished with identical records.

The Wildcats got a typically dominant performance against Port Jefferson from running back Tyler Anderson. He carried the ball 12 times and tallied 151 yards. He scored three touchdowns, including a 90-yard punt return early in the second quarter, which was the first special teams touchdown for Shoreham this season.

“He had a really, really good day,” Millheiser said.

Anderson didn’t normally return punts earlier in the year. But sophomore Chris Rosati has been limited with a sore hamstring, so to limit his playing time, the Wildacts threw their two-way starter onto special teams.

“As of right now we’re going to leave him back there,” Millheiser said.

Shoreham quarterback Daniel Hughes was 3 of 5 passing, including a 80-yard touchdown play to tight end Mitch Idtensohn.

Hughes, Isreal Squires and Aaron Harley-Rey all had interceptions for the Wildcats. Squires had a big day on defense with 10 tackles.

“The defense played well,” Millheiser said.

Shoreham led 33-0 in the fourth quarter before the Royals broke through for their lone score. Port Jefferson finishes the season 3-5 and out of the playoffs.

joew@timesreview.com

09/12/13 8:11pm
09/12/2013 8:11 PM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River senior Tyler Anderson scored two touchdowns Thursday against McGann-Mercy.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Tyler Anderson scored two touchdowns Thursday against McGann-Mercy.

WILDCATS 46, MONARCHS 0

As the two-a-day practices of late August give way to scrimmages and final game preparations in September, the anticipation toward Week 1 builds greater and greater. In many ways during the long grind, the first game of the season feels like the biggest.

“You’re working out over the summer, this is the game you’re waiting for to get the pads warmed up,” said Shoreham-Wading River senior Tyler Anderson.

Around Shoreham, there hasn’t been the kind of anticipation for a season since the days of star running back Brendan Kelly in 2006 and ’07. In their Division IV opener Thursday afternoon, the Wildcats played like a team caged up all summer that was finally let loose.

At the receiving end of it were the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs, a team thrust into the spotlight of the upper echelon of Division IV by reaching the semifinals of the playoffs last year — their best season in more than two decades.

As the Monarchs quickly found out Thursday, the honeymoon is over.

The Wildcats stampeded Mercy from the outset, cruising to a 46-0 victory at home.

Shoreham needed just over two minutes to score the first touchdown of the game, an 11-yard run by Anderson. On the first drive alone Anderson tallied 63 rushing yards as he dodged, side-stepped and ran past helpless tacklers.

“It’s just momentum for the game and helps carry guys through,” Anderson said of striking early.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Mercy sophomore KJ Santacroce made his first varsity start Thursday against Shoreham.

The game was never in doubt for the Wildcats. They scored a pair of touchdowns through the air, and two more through the air by picking off passes and returning them for touchdowns.

They even scored with the kicking game when senior Zach McAuley connected on a 19-yard field goal late in the game for the Wildcats’ final three points. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, McAuley bolted for the exits.

A soccer game at Mount Sinai was about to kick off. And McAuley was pulling double duty.

The Wildcats jumped ahead to such a big lead, Anderson only carried the ball five more times after the opening drive. He finished with 96 yards on nine carries.

“Every play you want to be out there,” Anderson said of the unfortunate side-effect of a lopsided win.

Junior quarterback Danny Hughes threw only three passes all game and the first two went for touchdowns. He connected on a 34-yard pass to the right side of the end zone with junior Isreal Squires. On a third-and-16, Squires raced past his defender to create separation and haul in a perfectly thrown ball from Hughes. The touchdown and two-point conversion made it 15-0 Shoreham.

Squires said he could see the improved arm strength of Hughes right from the start of practices this year.

“He got a better arm over the summer from working out and everything,” Squires said.

Hughes later threw a 36-yard touchdown to tight end Mitch Identsohn. As Hughes rolled to his left, he thought about tucking the ball and running with it. Then he saw the arm of Identsohn go up as he raced across the field. Hughes let the ball loose and hit his big tight end in stride. Identsohn did the rest to land in the end zone.

Squires added a second touchdown when he picked of Mercy sophomore KJ Santacroce on the first drive of the second half and returned it for a touchdown to put the Wildcats ahead 36-0.

Mercy couldn’t get any momentum on offense. And they lost starting running back Reggie Archer to cramps late in the second quarter. Senior Paul Annunziata carried most of the load on the ground with Archer sidelined.

“We knew coming in we were going to play a tough schedule this year,” said Mercy coach Jeff Doroski. “We started with one of the big boys in the division and they are rightfully a three seed. We got to get better.”

Santacroce completed 7 of 15 passes and showed some glimpses of good things to come.

“KJ’s only going to get better for us,” Doroski said.

With the season opener behind them, the Wildcats will now turn their attention to next week’s showdown at Babylon against the defending Long Island champion.

The Wildcats got crushed by the Panthers last year, 55-0, and are eager for another opportunity.

“That’s going to be the test,” Squires said.

“They always say look to the next game, now we’re looking at Babylon,” Anderson added. “That’s the game we’ve really been looking forward to.”

When the Wildcats kick off against Babylon, they’ll have a supporter in Doroski.

“When are one of us going to step up and take down a Babylon or Mount Sinai?” he said. “Are these guys going to be the team that goes in there and we see a little bit different [result]? I hope so. We’d like to see somebody new in there.”

joew@timesreview.com

04/13/13 5:39pm
04/13/2013 5:39 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia looked as if was running on air as he took first place in the open 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 20.98 seconds.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia looked as if was running on air as he took first place in the open 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 20.98 seconds.

SUFFOLK TRACK OFFICIALS HOLIDAY CLASSIC

One has to wonder just where Ryan Udvadia gets all that energy.

Less than 48 hours after running and winning three individual events (the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters) and anchoring a winning 4×800-meter relay team in a dual-meet win over Mount Sinai, the Shoreham-Wading River junior was back on the track again on Saturday.

In only Shoreham-Wading River’s fourth meet this season and first invitational, Udvadia made a strong case for himself as arguably the best long-distance runner in Suffolk County. He did that with his victory in the open 1,600 against some tough competition in the Suffolk Track Officials Holiday Classic at Mount Sinai High School.

It wasn’t the first-place finish that was so impressive as the time: 4 minutes 20.98 seconds. That is only a few seconds off Udvadia’s best time. Coming so relatively early in the season, before the weather has truly warmed up, was impressive.

“I was a little nervous about the mile because it was pretty stacked, great competition,” he said, “but I knew I had the race when there was like a half-mile to go and I realized how slow it was in the beginning, and how much energy I actually had left.”

Udvadia took the lead briefly going into the last lap, lost it, but then surged forward with 200 meters to go. He ended up winning by a fair margin over the next two finishers, Tom Meehan of Eastport/South Manor (4:23.32) and Tim McGowan of Northport (4:23.92).

“Nobody runs 4:20 this early,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Bob Szymanski said. “I didn’t want him to run that fast … but he also wants to establish himself.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Udvadia’s day was not done. He had an open 800 final to run after that.

Szymanski, concerned about his star runner’s health, warned him beforehand not to do anything “stupid.”

Udvadia almost hurt himself before the 800 race, trotting into a hurdle while talking to someone and warming up at the same time. He took a fall, Szymanski said, but was O.K.

During the first half of the race, Udvadia had fallen back to about the final one-third of the field. Some may have wondered if Udvadia’s legs were giving out on him. Szymanski was watching the race from the press box when someone asked him, “What happened to your man, Udvadia?” The coach replied, “It’s not over yet.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck high jumper Darius Brew missed this attempt, his first at 5 feet 7 inches, but went on to clear a personal-record 6-0 and tie for fourth place.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck high jumper Darius Brew missed this attempt, his first at 5 feet 7 inches, but went on to clear a personal-record 6-0 and tie for fourth place.

True enough. Playing track and field’s version of opossum, Udvadia then made his move. It was all part of the plan. Passing about a dozen runners in front of him, and making it look ridiculously easy in the process, Udvadia went on to win the heat in 1:58.61, his fastest 800 time ever. It stood for fourth place.

Udvadia said he even surprised himself.

“Usually in the beginning [of a race] I just sit [back] on them, and when I feel like I can do it, I’ll go for the kick, and that’s what I did for the last lap,” he said.

Is that kick always there?

“Ninety percent of the time,” he said, smiling.

Szymanski said Udvadia reminds him of Bobby Andrews, one of the greatest runners the Wildcats have ever produced.

A driven athlete who doesn’t like second-best, Udvadia does research about his competition and trains. Oh boy, does he train, so much so that Szymanski said he needs to rein him in sometimes for fear of overtraining and injury.

After the 800, his sixth competitive race in three days, Udvadia conceded he was glad his running day was over.

“Now I’m tired,” he said. “I don’t want to run any more.”

Like Udvadia, Isreal Squires competed in four events for Shoreham-Wading River on Thursday. Squires said he felt soreness in his legs, and because of that he didn’t feel good about his chances of winning on Saturday.

He was wrong — twice.

Squires turned in a personal-best distance of 21 feet 3 3/4 inches, good enough for first place in the open long jump. He also flew to the finish line in 51.89 seconds to win the sophomore 400 final.

What was his motivation?

A clock.

The winners of open events were presented with specially designed clocks bearing the meet logo.

“I just wanted to get the clock, really,” Isreal said. “It looks pretty cool in the box.”

Shoreham-Wading River senior Kyle Fleming was seventh in the open discus with a throw of 123-6. A teammate, junior Keith Steinbrecher, won the 2,000-meter steeplechase novice race in 6:43.10.

Mattituck’s 5-foot-8 freshman, Darius Brew, set a personal record, clearing 6-0 to finish in a tie for fourth place in the high jump with North Babylon senior Kamar Marston-Mills. It didn’t hurt that Brew had a little luck on his side.

“I was very surprised because I went over and I kind of hit the bar and it moved, but I didn’t hit it enough to knock it over, so I got lucky, I guess,” he said.

In addition, Brew also took sixth place in the frosh-soph long jump, covering 18-6 3/4.

Mattituck coach Pete Hansen said, “He’s got a lot of talent.”

Brew acknowledged that 6-0 is a magical number for high school high jumpers. It means instant credibility.

“I wanted to achieve 6 feet, and I did it,” he said. “That number [means] you’re good and you have a chance to win.”

Another Mattituck freshman, Jack Dufton, didn’t do badly for himself, either. Dufton set personal records in the freshman 800 (13th place in 2:18.62) and the freshman 1,600 (21st in 5:04.41).

“There’s definitely a lot more competition here, so you’re running harder just because you play to the level of your competition,” Dufton said. “There’s a lot of schools here, a lot of good kids. It’s tough. I’m usually looking at the clock in that last 100 meters, just chasing the clock.”

Dufton said that helps him run faster. “That,” he said, “and Hansen screaming at you.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

09/08/12 7:00pm
09/08/2012 7:00 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River running back Dominic Pirraglia scored the game’s first touchdown Saturday against Bayport-Blue Point.

WILDCATS 30, PHANTOMS 0

Some secrets are hard to keep.

Before the start of the 2012 football season, Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser hoped to keep the name Isreal Squires under wraps for as long as he could. Millheiser knew he had a talented receiver/runner/safety in the 6-foot sophomore and that it would only be a matter of time before opposing teams knew his name.

It turned out to be the first play of the season.

Squires raced the opening kickoff back to the 46-yard line Saturday at home against Bayport-Blue Point, showing off some of the speed that makes him such a dangerous player offensively. It was just a glimpse of what was to come later.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Squires said of his first varsity game.

A kickoff return was one thing, but Squires saved his best for the second half. He hauled in two touchdown passes, one more impressive than the next in a 30-0 Division IV victory for the Wildcats against the preseason No. 5 seed in Bayport at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

Squires made a pair of highlight reel catches as part of a four-reception, 133-receiving yards performance.

Not bad for a rookie debut.

“He’s just an amazing athlete,” Millheiser said.

Squires caught both passes from a fellow sophomore in Danny Hughes, who was also making his varsity debut. All four of his completions went to Squires.

The first touchdown came on a third-and-12 from the Phantoms’ 42-yard line. Squires lined up on the right side, ran a straight route and waited for Hughes to air it out for him. The pass, a bit wobbly, came up shorter than Squires expected, forcing him to stop, readjust and leap to snag the ball out of the air. The touchdown play effectively put the game out of reach for the Phantoms as Shoreham went up 23-0 late in the third quarter.

“I had to reverse and jump,” Squires said.

His second touchdown took a similar effort. Again on third down, Squires raced up the right sideline and made a leaping grab around the 10-yard line. This time, he dragged the defender the rest of the way, and reached out just in front of the end zone to put the ball in for the 46-yard score.

“He was dragging the kid, dragging the kid then stepped and reached and dived,” Millheiser said. “That’s a grind-it-out, tough effort. It was just an amazing play.”

While the Wildcats remain a run-first team, Millheiser hopes the combination of Hughes and Squires can keep an opposing defense more honest this season.

“Teams really packed the box against us last year,” he said. “Now we have a weapon out there that’s going to force people to pay attention.”

The Wildcats didn’t have a huge day on the ground, but they got enough production when they needed it. The trio of Tyler Anderson, Avery Friedman and Dominic Pirraglia combined for 115 yards on 32 carries. Pirraglia scored the game’s first touchdown on a 9-yard run.

The Wildcats capitalized early on a bevy of mistakes from Bayport. The Phantoms turned the ball over on three of their first four plays from scrimmage.

Combined with a Shoreham turnover on the Wildcats’ first possession, the game featured four turnovers before the halfway point of the first quarter.

Anderson picked off the first pass, racing the ball to the Phantoms’ 13-yard line to set up Shoreham’s first score. A minute later Hughes snagged a ball in the middle of the field and took it back 31 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0 Shoreham.

“Right away on defense our kids did a great job of what we coached them up to do all week,” Millheiser said. “Hughes and Anderson got to the spots, made the interceptions and then made plays after it.”

Bayport runs a spread offense, which wasn’t in synch at all. The Phantoms had several false start penalties by their receivers throughout the game, adding to their problems.

Against a team that likes to throw the ball, the Wildcats played Hughes more on defense than they otherwise might against a run-first team.

“We liked having an extra guy like him out there in coverage,” Millheiser said.

Defensively the Wildcats were solid against the run and pass all game. Shoreham limited Bayport to 120 yards of total offense.

The Phantoms struggled just to get the ball across midfield.

Millheiser credited the work of the defensive line.

“They did a phenomenal job of getting to the quarterback when they needed to and stuffing the run,” Millheiser said.

Mitch Identsohn and Pirraglia both had strong games at linebacker for Shoreham. Defensive tackle Kreed Mauser had back-to-back sacks in the third quarter and closed out the game with a tackle for a loss on the final play.

“Kreed’s got a motor,” Millheiser said. “He never quits. He’s a big, tall, physical kid. He doesn’t get faked out. If we tell him get the quarterback, he understands get the quarterback.”

The Wildcats lost a two-way starter on the line early in the game when Jason Ambrosini suffered a hit to the head. Millheiser said he may have had a concussion and would have to be further evaluated.

Whereas in the past few years an injury was devastating for the Wildcats, this time they had a backup ready to go. Sophomore Bobby Puckey stepped in to fill Ambrosini’s role on both sides of the ball. It was the first varsity game for Puckey.

“He’s a kid who did very well on JV last year,” Millheiser said. “This year he came into camp and started beating up on some of the varsity guys.”

Next week the Wildcats will have their hands full against the Mount Sinai Mustangs, the preseason No. 2 seed and one of the favorites going into the season to win the county title. The Mustangs will present a different challenge for Shoreham as they’re a run-first team that can throw several talented runners at the defense.

“They always play us very, very tough,” Millheiser said. “Kids are going to have to step up.”

One thing’s for sure, the Wildcats will be no secret.

joew@timesreview.com