12/12/14 6:00pm
12/12/2014 6:00 PM
McGann-Mercy senior Reggie Archer received the 2014 Boden Award Dec. 5. He's pictured with his mother (left), football coach Phil Lombardi and Denise Boden. (Courtesy photo)

McGann-Mercy senior Reggie Archer received the 2014 Boden Award Dec. 5. He’s pictured with his mother (left), football coach Phil Lombardi and Denise Boden. (Courtesy photo)

A four-year varsity football player, Reggie Archer was honored Dec. 5 with the 2014 Boden Award, which is given annually to a Mercy football player. An all-county running back/defensive back, Archer helped lead the Monarchs into the playoffs twice during his tenure.   (more…)

10/24/14 11:23pm
10/24/2014 11:23 PM
McGann-Mercy students celebrated with the players on the field following Friday night's playoff-clinching win. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

McGann-Mercy students celebrated with the players on the field following Friday night’s playoff-clinching win. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

MONARCHS 28, WARRIORS 6

The bleachers were empty and most the McGann-Mercy football players were on their way to the locker room. Near the north end zone, where moments earlier the players chanted “playoffs! playoffs!” with classmates who stormed the field, Reggie Archer and some his fellow seniors remained.

The joy of the moment gave way to a bittersweet reality: they had likely just played their final home game at McGann-Mercy High School.

(more…)

08/28/14 3:00pm
08/28/2014 3:00 PM
Reggie Archer, a fourth-year varsity player for McGann-Mercy who lives in Riverhead, will be the featured back for the Monarchs this season. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Reggie Archer, a fourth-year varsity player for McGann-Mercy who lives in Riverhead, will be the featured back for the Monarchs this season. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Reggie Archer grew up playing football in PAL with Ken Simco, Troy Trent and many of the other guys who will make up the core of Riverhead’s varsity football team this season as seniors. When they reached high school, and the point where football takes on a more serious tone, their paths split.  (more…)

08/20/13 12:15am
08/20/2013 12:15 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Pat Marelli recorded a team-=leading 76 tackles (eight for a loss) last season.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Pat Marelli recorded a team-leading 76 tackles (eight for a loss) last season for Bishop McGann-Mercy.

Bishop McGann-Mercy has been a perennial underdog. But can a football team remain an underdog after winning a playoff game, reaching the Suffolk County Division IV semifinals and turning in its best season in decades? Has that underdog tag been shed?

Those questions remain to be answered, but, if nothing else, coach Jeff Doroski has noticed an attitudinal change in his team.

“We have a great respect for the teams that we’re going to compete against, but we’re not going to back down from anybody,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and we’re going to compete, and we’re going to put our best foot forward every game.”

It sounds like something one would hear from a confident team, and if the Monarchs gained a measure of confidence from what they did last year, it would be understandable.

Seeded 12th in a preseason coaches poll before last season, McGann-Mercy bucked the odds, posted its first playoff win since 1991 (a last-second thriller over Hampton Bays), ending up with a 7-3 record. It was their highest single-season win total since 1978.

“I feel like when I’m older I’m going to exaggerate it to like we won the states or something,” said Pat Marelli, the senior center/middle linebacker who had a team-leading 76 tackles (eight for a loss) to go with a sack in 2012. “It was awesome to be a part of that.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Luis Cintron said a tougher schedule puts greater pressure on Bishop McGann-Mercy, but it's nothing the Monarchs can't handle.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Luis Cintron said a tougher schedule puts greater pressure on Bishop McGann-Mercy, but it’s nothing the Monarchs can’t handle.

Reggie Archer, an all-county junior who ran for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns, said, “In a way, I guess you could say we surprised ourselves a little bit, but we always believed in ourselves.”

McGann-Mercy’s reward for that is a No. 6 seed this year in the 14-team division. Along with that ranking comes a considerably tougher schedule that includes games against the top four seeds: defending Long Island champion Babylon, Mount Sinai, Shoreham-Wading River and Elwood/John Glenn. As if that isn’t enough, “the other four games that we have aren’t easy, gimme games,” said Doroski, referring to dates with Center Moriches, Wyandanch, East Hampton/Bridgehampton and Southampton.

“It’s a tough schedule,” Doroski said. “We know we have our work cut out for us, but we’re excited about that. We want to have the opportunity to prove last year wasn’t a fluke.”

Doroski said he told his players it’s as if they have been moved up from the kids’ table to the grown-ups’ dinner table. But, far from shying away, the Monarchs say they welcome the challenge and understand the task that lays before them.

“They know the level of difficulty that it’s going to be,” said Luis Cintron, a senior who plays outside linebacker and fullback. He said, “There’s a lot of pressure,” but quickly asserted that it’s nothing the team can’t handle.

Aside from the schedule, there are other issues to be faced, like dealing with the loss of 11 graduated players, six of whom were two-way starters. Furthermore, in McGann-Mercy’s first two preseason practices on Monday, senior quarterback Asaiah Wilson, who had joined the team as a transfer from Longwood last year, wasn’t present. Doroski said he still didn’t know if Wilson, a major contributor to the team’s fortunes, would be rejoining the team or not, leaving things in a strange limbo.

Meanwhile, the Monarchs have no choice but to operate as if Wilson will not be on the team. “If he’s not here, obviously we’ll miss the production, but we’re prepared to move forward,” said Doroski.

In the meantime, the ball is being placed in the hands of sophomore quarterback K. J. Santacroce.

Paul Annunziata, a cornerback/running back, and linemen Colin Ratsey and Andrew Glasgow are also being counted on for production.

The Monarchs have what Doroski said is a first, a girl trying out for the team. Jackie Spinella, a senior, plays the offensive line.

“It’s a bunch of hard workers, I can tell you right now,” Cintron said. “We’re on a mission this year.”

Doroski said he told his departing seniors after last season that what they achieved can never be taken away from them. “That’s something they’ll have with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Referring to his current players, the coach said: “My question to them, moving forward, is, what’s going to be your legacy? What memory are you going to make in Mercy football?”

More questions to be answered in the coming months.

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/06/12 7:10pm
10/06/2012 7:10 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Paul Annunziata makes an interception late in the game Saturday for Mercy to help clinch the victory against Port Jefferson.

MONARCHS 21, ROYALS 7

Early in the second quarter Saturday afternoon at Port Jefferson, the McGann-Mercy Monarchs found themselves in an unusual position: trailing by a touchdown.

Through the first half of the Division IV schedule, the Monarchs only trailed once, by one point in the second half against Greenport last week. The Monarchs came back to win that game, 12-7.

“It didn’t affect our kids, it didn’t affect the game plan,” said Mercy coach Jeff Doroski. “We got right back after it.”

The Monarchs answered Port Jefferson’s first quarter touchdown with 21 straight points to win the game 21-7. Mercy, a preseason No. 12 seed, improved to 5-0 and all but guaranteed itself a spot in the postseason.

Sophomore Reggie Archer scored on a pair of long touchdown runs. He broke an 88-yard run on a stretch play to the right side behind the blocks of Paolo Foscolo and Bryan Murray for his first score that tied the game.

“He has deceiving speed I call it,” Doroski said. “He doesn’t look very fast, but nobody catches him. When you’re running for 88 and 66 yards and guys have a chance to track you down and they don’t, that says something about what he’s doing for us.”

Archer capped the scoring for Mercy with a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and he finished the day with 178 yards on 18 carries.

“We put a lot on his plate as a sophomore and he’s only going to get better,” Doroski said.

The Royals (1-4) jumped ahead on Mercy with an 81-yard touchdown from Paul Cavanagh in the first quarter. Doroski took the blame, saying he had the defense in the wrong position.

“We buckled down after that,” he said. “Asides from giving up the big run, we really kind of contained them for the rest of the game.”

Mercy quarterback Asaiah Wilson scored on a two-yard run to give the Monarchs a 14-7 lead at halftime.

It wasn’t a perfect performance from the Monarchs. Doroski said they failed to convert inside the red zone four times.

“At some point we got to put a full game together,” he said. “We were pretty mistake free today, we didn’t have too many penalties, but we just didn’t execute in the red zone when we needed to.”

The Monarchs will have their hands full next week when they return home to face 4-1 Shoreham-Wading River. The only loss for the Wildcats this season came against Mount Sinai, one of the top teams in the division.

joew@timesreview.com

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mercy sophomore Reggie Archer broke off two long touchdown runs Saturday against Port Jefferson.

09/07/12 11:55pm
09/07/2012 11:55 PM

MICHAEL GASPARINO PHOTO | McGann-Mercy sophomore Reggie Archer rushed for 124 yards in a season-opening victory over Center Moriches Friday night.

Two long touchdown runs in the third quarter propelled the McGann-Mercy Monarchs to a 20-12 victory over Center Moriches in the Suffolk County Division IV football opener Friday night at Center Moriches High School.

Sophomore Reggie Archer’s 49-yard touchdown run early in the third broke a 6-6 tie, and five minutes later, Paul Annunziata scored on a 31-yard run on a fourth-and-one play to give the Monarchs a 20-6 lead. Paolo Foscolo followed his 30-yard interception return with a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which gave the Monarchs a 6-0 lead.

Archer finished with 124 yards on 20 carries, pacing the Monarchs’ 185-yard rushing attack. Annunziata had 55 yards rushing on eight carries.

Mercy’s defense allowed just 42 yards rushing in the second half. A late touchdown by Center Moriches off a deflected pass gave the Red Devils one last chance, but their onside kick was recovered by the Monarchs.

The preseason No. 12 seed, McGann-Mercy (1-0) continues the Division IV schedule Sept. 15 at Southampton.