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

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