11/08/14 5:39pm
11/08/2014 5:39 PM
Riverhead running back Ryun Moore picks up a first down in the Blue Waves' playoff win against Deer Park Saturday. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Riverhead running back Ryun Moore picks up a first down in the Blue Waves’ playoff win against Deer Park Saturday. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Behind a suffocating defense that forced two turnovers and bottled up Deer Park’s star running back, the Riverhead Blue Waves advanced to the semifinals of the Division II playoffs with a 23-6 win Saturday afternoon over the Falcons.  (more…)

11/07/14 5:00pm
11/07/2014 5:00 PM
Riverhead's Raheem Brown rushes up the middle for a first down. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Riverhead’s Raheem Brown rushes up the middle for a first down in last week’s win over Bellport. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Riverhead coach Leif Shay didn’t need to watch hours of film to get a handle on Deer Park’s offensive approach.

“They run Thompson and then they run Thompson and then after that they’ll run Thompson,” Shay said before practice Friday.  (more…)

11/01/14 5:35pm
11/01/2014 5:35 PM
Riverhead celebrates after Bellport's Nick Founts (#12) has his last second field goal attempt blocked by Troy Trent (#77.) (Credit: Daniel DeMato)

Riverhead celebrates after Bellport’s Nick Founts (#12) has his last second field goal attempt blocked by Troy Trent (#77.) (Credit: Daniel DeMato)

BLUE WAVES 9, CLIPPERS 7

Soaking wet and shivering with mud splattered on his face, Raheem Brown had one final duty before he could finally retreat to a warm bus. Standing on the field, he answered reporters’ questions and spoke about what he and his Riverhead High School football teammates had just done: hand rival Bellport its first loss of the season.

It is because of Riverhead that Bellport will not enter the playoffs unbeaten. And it is because of Brown — not to mention a big helping hand from Troy Trent — that the Blue Waves were able to persevere under extremely difficult conditions. (more…)

10/11/14 7:47pm
10/11/2014 7:47 PM
Riverhead coach Leif Shay addressing his players following their win over Newfield. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Riverhead coach Leif Shay addressing his players following their win over Newfield. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

BLUE WAVES 20, WOLVERINES 15

The Riverhead Blue Waves’ defense took the philosophy of “bend but don’t break” to extremes in Saturday’s 20-15 win over the Newfield Wolverines in Selden.

In the first half of the Suffolk County Division II game, Newfield was stopped on Riverhead’s 6-yard line after going for it on fourth down with 2 yards to go on. The Wolverines were stopped on fourth-and-1 from Riverhead’s 4 on their next drive, and they were intercepted on a third-and-1 play on Riverhead’s 6 on the drive after that, leaving the score at 8-7 Newfield (1-4) by halftime.

In the fourth quarter, after both teams got their offenses going a little more, the Riverhead defense stopped Newfield on a fourth-and-3 from Riverhead’s 10 to seal the win. (more…)

10/01/14 9:00pm
10/01/2014 9:00 PM
Riverhead junior William Mitchell eludes a final tackler on an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Wednesday against Hills West. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead junior William Mitchell eludes a final tackler on an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Wednesday against Hills West. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

COLTS 42, BLUE WAVES 28

Ray Lyte made his varsity debut on the Half Hollow Hills West football team as a freshman three years ago as a call-up during the playoffs. Hoping to make an impact as a sophomore, his season was wiped out by a broken wrist. Then last year, as a junior, injuries again kept him in and out of the lineup.

“Last year I was the ‘injur-bug,’ ” Lyte said.

Now healthy for his senior season, Lyte has become a key player for the Colts, although his role on offense has been mostly limited. Through three games and the first half of Wednesday’s game against Riverhead, Lyte hadn’t gotten more than four carries in a game.

That trend continued for the first half against the Blue Waves in Dix Hills on a rare mid-week game. After the Colts saw a 14-0 lead turn into a 21-14 hole, their offense switched gears. Lyte, a speedster who can attack the outside, became the focal point in an offense that exploded for four second-half touchdowns.

Lyte scored twice, helping the Colts to a 42-28 Division II victory while handing the Blue Waves their first loss of the season. Lyte continually burned the Blue Waves (3-1) on runs to the outside and he tallied 89 yards in the second half on 10 carries. His 3-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter broke a 28-28 tie and put the Colts ahead for good.

“I had a lot of rest in the first half,” Lyte said. “I was just playing defense. So I was more energized coming out.”

Lyte’s running, combined with the arm of quarterback Anthony Lucarelli, overwhelmed the Riverhead defense in the second half. Lucarelli picked apart the Blue Waves’ secondary, completing 8 of 10 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns.

“They scouted us well,” said Riverhead coach Leif Shay. “They knew we had a weakness on the perimeter. We weren’t able to set the edge. They were able to get the edge and they kept going to it.”

After trailing 14-0 in the first half, the Blue Waves bounced back to tie the game at the half with a pair of rushing touchdowns from Ryun Moore.

Riverhead appeared to be taking control of the game at the start of the third quarter. The Blue Waves forced a three-and-out on the Colts’ first possession, powered by a pair of sacks. Riverhead got the ball back and Moore ripped off two big runs to set up a 6-yard touchdown run by William Mitchell that gave Riverhead a 21-14 lead.

But it was all Hills West the rest of the way. The Colts (4-0) outscored Riverhead 28-7 over the remainder of the game. Riverhead’s lone score during that stretch came on an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Mitchell that tied the game at 28. The Colts answered that score with a nine-play drive — their longest of the game — to retake the lead, 35-28.

The Blue Waves relied heavily on the running game until the score tipped against their favor in the fourth. Moore finished with 135 yards on 21 carries. Mitchell added 32 yards on 10 carries.

Lyte walked away from the game impressed with what he saw from Moore.

“Ryun Moore is probably one of the best backs I’ve ever seen in this division,” he said.

The Blue Waves have overcome regular season losses in each of the past two seasons that ended with a county championship. In Week 2 last year, the Blue Waves lost 50-36 at East Islip before beating the Redmen in the county championship. Two years ago, the Blue Waves lost twice in the regular season.

“It’s a black-and-blue division,” Shay said. “Whoever limps out of it is going to play for a Long Island Championship.”

joew@timesreview.com

09/20/14 5:24pm
09/20/2014 5:24 PM
Troy Trent and Raheem Brown celebrate during the Blue Waves' win over Smithtown East Saturday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Troy Trent and Raheem Brown celebrate during the Blue Waves’ win over Smithtown East Saturday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

BLUE WAVES 39, BULLS 27

Riverhead quarterback Kenny Simco threw for three touchdowns and running back Ryun Moore rushed for two more as the Blue Waves defeated Smithtown West Saturday afternoon, 39-27, at Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field.  (more…)

09/11/14 8:00am
09/11/2014 8:00 AM
Ethan Greenidge, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman, is one of Riverhead's three all-division players. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Ethan Greenidge, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman, is one of Riverhead’s three all-division players. (Credit: Garret Meade)

PREVIEW

So, what will be vital for the Riverhead High School football team as it makes a bid this year for a third straight Suffolk County Division II championship? Will it be the play of its quarterback, Kenny Simco? The blocking of the offensive line? The running prowess of Ryun Moore? The tenacity of its defense?

While all of the above will undoubtedly be important, those are not the answers coach Leif Shay gave when asked that question. As Shay sees it, it comes down to something far more elemental: team chemistry and player personalities.

Shay said how well his players get along with each other and respect each other — the subject of his speech to them on the first day of preseason practice — will go a long way toward determining whether the Blue Waves go a long way. (more…)

08/22/14 6:00pm
08/22/2014 6:00 PM
Kenny Simco, a senior quarterback, has a 4-0 record as a varsity starter. Last season he completed 39 of 55 passes for 439 yards and 5 touchdowns. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Kenny Simco, a senior quarterback, has a 4-0 record as a varsity starter. Last season he completed 39 of 55 passes for 439 yards and 5 touchdowns. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Just because two football players are friends doesn’t mean that they can’t be competitors, and just because they are competitors doesn’t mean that they can’t be friends.

That’s the nature of the game. That’s the situation Kenny Simco and Sharron Trent find themselves in. The Riverhead Blue Waves have an old-fashioned quarterback controversy, featuring both of them. (more…)