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…)

08/21/14 4:00pm
08/21/2014 4:00 PM
Raheem Brown gives a teammate a lift during practice. Coach Leif Shay said the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Brown is, pound for pound, one of the strongest players he has ever coached.

Raheem Brown gives a teammate a lift during practice. Coach Leif Shay said the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Brown is, pound for pound, one of the strongest players he has ever coached.

When a high school football team loses a couple of dozen players, like Riverhead has, it’s comforting for a coach to know he has some returning players to count on. That’s what Leif Shay has in Raheem Brown and Ethan Greenidge.

“It’s great to have those building blocks,” Shay said. “You build foundations, and then those guys are solid, you know you can rely on them, and hopefully you put the pieces around them.” (more…)

08/18/14 3:53pm
08/18/2014 3:53 PM
Riverhead players take part in a get-up drill during the team's first preseason practice on Monday morning. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Riverhead players take part in a get-up drill during the team’s first preseason practice on Monday morning. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The Riverhead High School football team seems to have a newfound interest in jewelry, and that’s not just because Raheem Brown complimented a reporter on his gold necklace after the team’s first preseason practice on Monday morning.

No, it goes beyond that. What the Blue Waves are particularly interested in are rings — as in championship rings. (more…)

06/25/14 10:38pm
06/25/2014 10:38 PM
Riverhead's Jeremiah Cheatom on the sideline during the first half of the Empire Challenge Wednesday night. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Riverhead’s Jeremiah Cheatom on the sideline during the first half of the Empire Challenge Wednesday night. (Credit: Garret Meade)

EMPIRE CHALLENGE

All-star games can lead to some peculiar game situations. Especially in a football game like the Empire Challenge, the annual showcase event featuring the best of Long Island against New York City.

Early in the second quarter Wednesday night at Hofstra University, the Long Island squad had already exhausted its two allotted punts for the half when it found itself facing a fourth-and-10 from its own 5 yard line.  (more…)

12/03/13 7:00am
12/03/2013 7:00 AM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Ryun Moore, making his third start at running back, navigates around Carey's Joseph Lucito for a first down.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Ryun Moore, making his third start at running back, navigates around Carey’s Joseph Lucito for a first down.

Ryun Moore has been referred to by Riverhead High School football coach Leif Shay as the team’s future. On Friday, though, the future became the present when Moore, a sophomore, was handed the starting running back assignment in the Long Island Class II championship game.

That’s a big spot for a young player. Moore admitted he felt nervous as the team bus pulled into the Hofstra University parking lot, “but after the first play, all of that goes away, you know. Football is football.”

Indeed, with a Long Island championship on the line, a game was to be played, and Moore played well in Riverhead’s 20-6 loss to Carey at James M. Shuart Stadium.

Two first-string Riverhead players, running back Jeremiah Cheatom and outside linebacker Taiheem McKay, both seniors, had to sit out the Long Island final. That meant a heavy dose of double duty for Moore, who also started on defense at outside linebacker.

“We had a lot of confidence in him,” Shay said. “There’s a difference between being the number one back and then being the complimentary back.”

Moore said he was excited by the opportunity to be his team’s primary ball carrier, and he didn’t let the Blue Waves down. Facing a tough Carey defense anchored by the likes of Conor Colasurdo (8 1/2 tackles), Matt Robison (7 1/2 tackles) and Joseph Lucito (7 tackles, 1/2 sack), Moore had his work cut out for him. Running behind an offensive line of tackles Michael Drexel and Ethan Greenidge, guards Jonathan Lee and Ryan Harkin, and center Edward Wills, he got the job done. Moore averaged 6.3 yards per carry and totaled a game-high 126 rushing yards, his longest run going for 30 yards.

That wasn’t all, either. Moore excelled on both sides of the ball. He made a team-leading 7 tackles, including one for a loss and forced a fumble.

“Ryun stepped up big and played his heart out,” said Riverhead senior Jaron Greenidge. Greenidge added: “He’s going to be something special in two years. … He’s going to be here again.”

Shay knows what type of an athlete he has in Moore. “He’s a good football player,” the coach said. “He’s matured a lot, too. He’s understanding that, ‘Hey, I got to make those tough three- and four-yard runs.’ Not every play is going to be a touchdown like it was on JV.”

This wasn’t the first time that Moore started a game at running back for Riverhead; it was his third start at that position. With Cheatom ineligible to play in the season opener against North Babylon, Moore used his explosiveness to produce 112 yards and a touchdown from 18 carries in that game.

Jaron Greenidge gave kudos to Moore and two other sophomores. “Tyrese Kerr, Ryun Moore and Sharon Trent are going to be, I’d say, superstars in two years,” said Greenidge.

Following the loss to Carey, Moore reflected on a season that he couldn’t feel too bad about.

“This was a great season,” he said. “Back in August, before two-a-days started, I honestly didn’t think we were going to make it back this far. We made it to LIC — again — so it’s a good feeling. A great season.”

With Moore returning next year, the Blue Waves have more to look forward to. They already know that Moore can carry the load offensively.

“He’ll come in next year and be a good player for us,” Shay said. “He’s the future. You’re going to see a lot of that kid in the future.”

bliepa@timesreview.com