11/24/14 2:00pm
11/24/2014 2:00 PM
The late Tom Cutinella's retired No. 54 jersey held a prominent place as the Shoreham-Wading River players marched onto the field before the game. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

The late Tom Cutinella’s retired No. 54 jersey held a prominent place as the Shoreham-Wading River players marched onto the field before the game. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

The same season that brought the Shoreham-Wading River High School football team the worst day in its history, also produced its best day.

To those who remember before Shoreham had its own football team and the struggles it experienced along the way after it did, what happened on Saturday was the pinnacle of a long journey. What happened on this raw, cold day was enough to warm your heart. (more…)

11/22/14 7:28pm
11/22/2014 7:28 PM
The No. 54 flag representing Tom Cutinella waves amid the Shoreham-Wading River players after Saturday's county championship win. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

The No. 54 flag representing Tom Cutinella waves amid the Shoreham-Wading River players after Saturday’s county championship win. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

SUFFOLK COUNTY DIVISION IV FINAL | WILDCATS 47, KNIGHTS 10

The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats, dressed in their navy blue uniforms, looked all business as they marched solemnly across the field toward their sideline before the game. Leading the way were four Wildcats. Aaron Harley-Rey and Danny Hughes carried a blue banner with “54” printed on it in gold, and Jimmy Puckey and Kevin Cutinella held the late Tom Cutinella’s retired No. 54 jersey.

Not only have the Wildcats clung to the memory of their former teammate, but they honored it Saturday by securing a place in team history. (more…)

11/21/14 5:00pm
11/21/2014 5:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Danny Hughes carries the ball in Saturday's win over Babylon. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Danny Hughes carries the ball in last weekend’s win over Babylon. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Three portable lights shined down on the practice field at Shoreham-Wading River High School Thursday as daylight faded on the football team’s practice. All around them, the practice fields were empty, every other fall team’s season having come to an end.

“I guess it’s a little bit of an accomplishment being the last ones out here, kind of knowing this is our time,” said senior quarterback Danny Hughes.  (more…)

11/15/14 6:38pm
11/15/2014 6:38 PM
Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Danny Hughes carries the ball in Saturday's win over Babylon. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Danny Hughes carries the ball in Saturday’s win over Babylon. (Credit: Bill Landon)

DIVISION IV SEMIFINALS  |  WILDCATS 56, PANTHERS 0

Shoreham Wading River has emerged as a force to be reckoned with thanks to a crushing defense and ground and pound offensive attack.

The Wildcats made short work of two-time defending Class IV Long Island champion Babylon Saturday with a 56-0 shellacking to advance to their first county title game in program history.  (more…)

11/08/14 8:04pm
11/08/2014 8:04 PM
Shoreham-Wading River senior Nick Gray carries the ball against Port Jefferson Saturday. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Nick Gray carries the ball against Port Jefferson Saturday. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham Wading River did what its done since Week 5 of the season Saturday: blowing out another opponent, this time Port Jefferson, 42-0, in the Division IV quarterfinals.

Shoreham quarterback Danny Hughes scored on a keeper up the middle for the first of his two touchdowns as Shoreham Wading River jumped out to a 14-0 lead.  (more…)

10/31/14 6:40pm
10/31/2014 6:40 PM
Shoreham-Wading River seniors Christian Clarkin (10) and Daniel Hughes celebrate during their victory over Port Jefferson. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Shoreham-Wading River seniors Christian Clarkin (10) and Daniel Hughes celebrate during their victory over Port Jefferson. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

WILDCATS 35, ROYALS 0

For those keeping score at home, the number of ice baths Shoreham-Wading River football coach Matt Millheiser has been doused with after a game this season stands at two.

The first came after a road win in Babylon, only the second in program history for the Wildcats against the Panthers. The second came Friday afternoon, after the Wildcats rolled past Port Jefferson, 35-0, to put the finishing touches on the program’s first 8-0 season.  (more…)

10/11/14 5:29pm
10/11/2014 5:29 PM
Shoreham-Wading River players bowed their heads during a moment of silence in memory of their late teammate Tom Cutinella. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River players bowed their heads during a moment of silence in memory of their late teammate Tom Cutinella. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

WILDCATS 54, WARRIORS 0

Tom Cutinella wasn’t present, but his presence was felt, and his uniform number, 54, was everywhere.

“SWR 54” was painted onto a hillside by the Shoreham-Wading River High School football field in yellow characters outlined in blue. A replica of Cutinella’s No. 54 jersey hung from the front of the press box. Near the top of the press box dangled a banner that read, “#54 FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS.” The players and coach Matt Millheiser wore towels with “54” imprinted on them.

And had the scoreboard been functioning, it would have read 54-0 — poetic enough — by the time the Suffolk County Division IV game ended. (more…)

09/19/14 9:52pm
09/19/2014 9:52 PM
Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser receive a surprise ice shower after the Wildcats' upset victory over Babylon Friday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser receive a surprise ice shower after the Wildcats’ upset victory over Babylon Friday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

WILDCATS 9, PANTHERS 7

The memory is still fresh in the mind of Daniel Hughes. Two years ago. Under the lights in Babylon. The Wildcats were 5-1, and eager to prove they belonged in the upper echelon of Division IV.

On a night that ended like so many before in Babylon, the Wildcats limped away, their egos bruised, in a stinging 55-0 loss. A month later, the Panthers were Long Island champions, in the midst of a 25-game win streak they carried into Friday night.

“I’ve never had something as bad as that in my life,” Hughes said.

Losses against Babylon continued again last year, once in the regular season, again in the playoffs, 42-13.

The Wildcats returned to Babylon Friday, once again eager to prove a point.

And this time, they delivered.

In a defensive battle that came down to the very end, the Wildcats emerged 9-7 winners to hand the Panthers their first loss since the county championship game in 2011 against John Glenn. The Wildcats forced three turnovers, controlled field position throughout and relied on a physical, stout defense to hand the Panthers their first regular season loss since Oct. 1, 2011.

The Wildcats won for only the second time in program history against Babylon. Their only other win came in 2005. Overall, the Wildcats are now 2-15 against Babylon.

Seconds after Shoreham sophomore Ethan Wiederkehr sacked Babylon quarterback Ron Woodhull on fourth down to seal the victory, players grabbed the water cooler to douse coach Matt Millheiser. Only one kneel down remained for the win.

“I could hear the ice and all of a sudden, I was like whoa!” Millheiser said. “It’s all good. It’s worth it.”

Shoreham junior Chris Rosati scored on an 8-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and the score remained stuck at 6-0 for most of the game.

Neither team’s offense could generate drives.

The Wildcats gained a little breathing room with 5:35 left in the fourth when Daniel Mahoney kicked a 26-yard field to make it a two-possession game at 9-0.

But the Panthers came surging back with a five-play, 69-yard drive capped by a 34-yard touchdown pass from Woodhull to Stephen Schweitzer. The drive took only 56 seconds.

The Wildcats began their next drive with their worst field position of the game after a holding penalty on the kickoff negated a huge return by Isreal Squires. Backed up at their own 6-yard line, the Wildcats managed to pick up two first downs before eventually punting with under a minute to go. Babylon got the ball back on its own 38 and turned it over on four plays.

Rosati rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries. Hughes rushed for 60 on 13 carries. He also completed 7 of 17 passes for 71 yards.

The Wildcats improve to 2-0 heading into next week’s game against Hampton Bays. The Panthers are now 1-1.

Last year the Wildcats defeated Mount Sinai for the first time in program history.

joew@timesreview.com