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…)

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…)

08/27/14 2:00pm
08/27/2014 2:00 PM
Bobby Puckey's off-season training and leadership led to his being named a team captain. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Bobby Puckey’s off-season training and leadership led to his being named a team captain. (Credit: Garret Meade)

One day last week, the Shoreham-Wading River High School football coach, Matt Millheiser, took the unusual step of naming one of his team captains much earlier than usual. The honor bestowed upon senior lineman Bobby Puckey was less a reflection of how he played last season so much as his reaction to how he played.

The 2013 season wasn’t one that Puckey remembers fondly, and for good reason. (more…)

08/18/14 10:01pm
08/18/2014 10:01 PM
Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser will likely feature passing in his game plan this season. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser will likely feature passing in his game plan this season. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The task that lies before the Shoreham-Wading River High School football team is a daunting one. Just how do the Wildcats follow up their act from last season?

Last season was possibly the best the Wildcats ever had. They defeated Mount Sinai for the first time in their history. They played their first home playoff game. They picked up their first playoff win. They advanced to the Suffolk County Division IV semifinals for the first time. And when it was over, they could hold their heads high as the proud holders of a 7-3 record.

Matching that record of achievement will not be easy, especially when the Wildcats no longer have their star running back, Tyler Anderson, who graduated. What the Wildcats do have, however, should not be overlooked. They have a strong arm and a fine pair of hands. (more…)

07/29/14 10:30am
07/29/2014 10:30 AM
The Shoreham-Wading River baseball team in 2012 after winning the county title. (Credit: Bill Landon, file)

The Shoreham-Wading River baseball team in 2012 after winning the county title. (Credit: Bill Landon, file)

The numbers of three Shoreham-Wading River baseball players will be retired during a ceremony Saturday prior to an alumni game at Kevin Williams Memorial Field.  (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

10/26/13 7:17pm
10/26/2013 7:17 PM
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.

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.”

09/11/13 8:00pm
09/11/2013 8:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Danny Hughes and lineman Brennan Gorman are two of the returning starters for the Wildcats.

The fourth quarter of a Shoreham-Wading River football game last year rarely featured much drama. That was mostly a good thing.

In seven wins, the Wildcats’ average margin of victory was 25.7 points.

In their three losses, the final coming in the Division IV semifinals against Mount Sinai, the Wildcats’ average margin of defeat was 34 points. Babylon and Mount Sinai, who battled for the county title, combined to beat Shoreham 104-0 in three games.

As the Wildcats begin the 2013 season, the hope is a talented group of returning players can finally close that gap. Over the last three years the Wildcats have climbed from a bottom feeder to a top-four team.

“We’d like to take that next step,” said Shoreham coach Matt Millheiser. “We’ve been the past two years, record-wise, with that top group, but we haven’t broken the barrier on the field against them.”

There’s reason for optimism.

The Wildcats return an experienced line with a talented, veteran rusher behind it in senior Tyler Anderson.

“Teams are going to focus on trying to stop him,” Millheiser said.

Anderson’s rushing ability, the Wildcats hope, can open up some of the passing game as well. Junior Danny Hughes returns at quarterback after a successful season starting as a 10th-grader.

He’ll have some speedy targets to throw to in junior Isreal Squires and Bryce Casey, both of whom run on the track teams. Squires had a big season last year on varsity with some highlight reel catches. Casey was a standout on the JV.

“[Casey is] a talented kid who I think can really keep defenses honest in the passing game,” Millheiser said.

Senior Mitch Identsohn is another big target in the passing game at tight end.

The Wildcats have a sophomore on offense who will see time in the backfield in Chris Rosati.

“He’s just an all-around great athlete,” Millheiser said.

Millheiser said he expects the offensive and defensive lines to be one of the team’s biggest strengths. On offense, the Wildcats will line up seniors Brendan Fisher, Max Goldfarb, Brennan Gorman, senior Jack Choinski and junior Bobby Puckey. Choinski is the lone newcomer to the group that has been playing together for the last several years.

“They’re hard workers and they demand a lot of each other,” Millheiser said.

Goldfarb, Puckey Gorman and Fisher will all start on the defensive line as well.

Anderson and Identsohn will anchor the defense at linebacker. Junior Aaron Harley-Rey will start as a newcomer on defense.

Squires, Rosati and Hughes can all see time in the secondary.

The Wildcats also return kicker Zach McAuley, who’s in his fourth year playing football in the fall in addition to soccer.

The Wildcats will be tested early in the season. They open the season at home Thursday against McGann-Mercy, a team that advanced to the final four last year.

And Week 2 provides the ultimate challenge — a trip to Babylon to face last year’s Long Island champion.

joew@timesreview.com