10/20/13 12:00pm
10/20/2013 12:00 PM

Riverhead Blue Waves football

The Riverhead football team improved its record to 5-1 with a 28-0 victory over Walt Whitman Saturday.

You can read a full recap, including sound bites from interviews and game video by clicking here.

View more photos from the game in the gallery below:

Next Saturday at 2 p.m. is the Waves’ regular season home finale against 5-1 West Islip.

09/26/13 2:31pm
FILE PHOTO | A Riverhead High School student was allegedly in possession of a knife Thursday.

FILE PHOTO | A Riverhead High School student was allegedly in possession of a knife Thursday.

Police were called to Riverhead High School on Thursday after a student was found to be in possession of a knife, school officials confirmed Thursday afternoon.

The knife was found in the student’s backpack, said Superintendent Nancy Carney.

The student was a recent transfer to the district, she said.

Ms. Carney said the student in question will be receiving an automatic five-day suspension, pending any additional disciplinary action.

“Obviously, anything involving a weapon we take very seriously,” she said.

Riverhead police said the incident is under investigation.

09/22/13 10:17am
09/22/2013 10:17 AM


We’re used to seeing instant replays from a handful of angles following a disputed call in a televised football game. But in the world of high school football, it’s rare you ever see an instant replay.

News-Review contributing photographer Daniel De Mato has given us that rare opportunity this week.

You could hear grumbles from the East Islip crowd Saturday when Riverhead wide receiver Dan Czelatka made a spectacular diving catch along the sideline in the end zone during the fourth quarter. The officials ruled it a touchdown.

De Mato’s photo shows Czelatka did, in fact, get a foot down in the end zone. Or did he?

You be the judge.

09/12/13 7:24pm
09/12/2013 7:24 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Ryun Moore had an impressive varsity debut in the Blue Waves’ win over North Babylon Thursday.


Coming off a county championship and featuring a roster loaded with underclassmen, the players on the 2013 Riverhead football team know they have big shoes to fill this season.

If Thursday’s season-opening win over North Babylon is any indication, the Blue Waves will be up to the task.

Riverhead scored three first half touchdowns, cruising to a 35-6 home victory.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Riverhead head coach Leif Shay, who noted that several academically ineligible and injured players have forced others into a larger role to start the season. “The young kids stepped up.”

Most notably among them were sophomore Ryun Moore, who started at running back for injured returning starter Jeremiah Cheatom, and junior linebacker Raheem Brown.

Moore, who admitted after the game that he didn’t lose the jitters until halftime, carried the ball 18 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. His longest run was a 35-yard carry early in the fourth quarter.

Coach Shay said Moore will continue to develop over time.

“He’s powerful and compact and he doesn’t even really know what he’s doing yet,” Shay said. “That’s the scary part. He’s built like a man, but he’s still a young kid.”

The same can be said about Brown, who recorded a pair of sacks in the game, and even carried the ball three times for 44 yards in the fourth quarter, setting up the Waves’ final touchdown — a 9-yard yard run by senior Taiheem McKay.

Brown and the defense, led by senior defensive lineman Ryan Harkin and linebacker Mike Van Bommel, forced two early turnovers and kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard for the game’s first 43 minutes.

The teams actually traded early turnovers after the Waves fumbled the opening kickoff.

Perhaps the biggest question for Riverhead coming into the season was how well quarterback Cody Smith could fill in for three-year starter Ryan Bitzer, who graduated in June. He quickly responded by completing his first 10 pass attempts. He finished the game 13 of 17 for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also scored on a 1-yard run that put the Blue Waves ahead 20-0 with 7:59 to play in the second quarter.

“It was a little nerve wracking,” he said of his first varsity start. “But once you get on the field and you get that first play in, it just flies off you and you get in a zone.”

Smith’s first play Thursday was a 20-yard completion to the tight end Van Bommel, who would later add catches of 18 and 19 yards, the latter a fourth quarter touchdown.

Fellow tight end Jaron Greenidge caught Smith’s first touchdown pass, a 9-yard scoring strike to cap the Waves’ first offensive series. He finished with a team-high five catches.

Senior Daniel Czelatka led all receivers with 61 yards on four receptions.

The Blue Waves defeated North Babylon twice last season, including a 52-20 victory in the Division II championship game at Stony Brook University. Despite being the defending champion, Riverhead is ranked third this season and North Babylon slipped to No. 6.

Moore said the season-opening win is exactly what the Blue Waves needed.

“It’s real important,” the sophomore said. “It sets the tone for the season and let’s everyone know we’re playing no games this year.”

Coach Shay said next week’s road matchup against top-ranked East Islip made winning the opener, which he called a “confidence builder,” that much more important.

“We needed to get this one,” he said.

Cheatom said he expects to return next week, though Coach Shay said he must first show he’s physically able to play.


09/04/13 5:00pm
09/04/2013 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The outside of Riverhead High School Wednesday. The front of the school will receive a major face-lift starting next summer.

Riverhead High School is undergoing some major renovations, some of which students will enjoy when the school year starts Sept. 9. The new gymnasium floor and bleachers were completed over the summer. The school’s front entrance is under construction now as is the auditorium seating and library.

The new entrance is in the back of the building and the security office has been moved to the back next to the cafeteria, where head of security Donald Henderson has access to all the security cameras in the district.

The school district’s $78.3 million bond project approved by voters in 2011 remains on schedule with the exception of the high school, planning consultants said recently at a Board of Education meeting.

Larry Salvesen, an architect with BBS Architecture of Patchogue, updated the school board on the renovation work and said a delay in approvals from the state Department of Education has pushed back the high school’s completion date by a year. He estimates work will be completed by the summer of 2015.

Click here to read more about the renovations.

08/03/13 5:00pm
08/03/2013 5:00 PM
yearbooks in Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Tim Holls of Wapingers Falls, a Riverhead High School graduate class of 1963, has been working on digitizing all of Riverhead High School yearbooks from 1938 to 1972. 

Why would a man from Wappingers Falls, N.Y. , dedicate himself to creating a comprehensive digital version of Riverhead High School yearbooks?

Tim Holls, 68, took on the project partly because he’s an RHS alumnus, Class of 1963. But it really started when his mother misplaced her own high school yearbook, and he began to wonder, “What if you don’t have your book anymore? What if you don’t have a book or it’s been damaged?’” he said.  “At the time, I was thinking that was one of the motivations for why I would want this.”

Mr. Holls focused on math in high school, but took a typing class during his last semester. That came in handy when, after graduating from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, he found few career opportunities in math and decided to go into computers instead.

“I figured I’d be typing a few letters and papers in college,” he said. “I never, ever, thought that I was going to spend the rest of my life in front of a keyboard and love it.”

Mr. Holls worked at IBM in Poughkeepsie until retiring in 1994.

Wearing a 1963 RHS alumni T-shirt, Mr. Holls, in town two weeks ago for his 50th high school reunion, sat behind his laptop in the lobby of  Riverhead’s Hotel Indigo and explained how the yearbook-gathering process began.

In 2002, a year before his 40th class reunion, he scanned his own four yearbooks, plus two from his older sister. Then, after learning how to build a basic web page, he created a digital record covering the years from 1958 to 1963. He said his background in computers helped him develop a searchable system for the digital yearbook. The design came for the digitized yearbooks editions came easy: white background, blue for the clickable links of each person’s name — the colors of his alma mater.

After sharing the first version of his digital yearbook at his 40th reunion, an old acquaintance sent Mr. Holls four more yearbooks, which helped him complete the 1960s. Judge Thomas Stark also contributed to the project, he said, which helped him complete the 1940s.

There have been four high schools in the district’s history, Mr. Holls explained. When he graduated, the high school occupied what’s now Pulaski Street Elementary School. Before that, starting in 1900, it was in a wooden building on Roanoke Avenue. After that school burned down in 1923, it was rebuilt and the high school remained on Roanoke until 1937. The high school is currently located on Harrison Avenue.

His collection now covers the Pulaski Street years, from 1938 to 1972. The yearbooks range from 60 to 200 pages and it takes about 80 hours to digitize each one. Since the Class of 1938 didn’t have a yearbook, Mr. Holls used group shots and class photos instead.

Mr. Holls shares his digital yearbook, which he describes as a “labor of love,” for free via CDs. He doesn’t charge, he said, because the nostalgia brings joy into other people’s lives. He also understands that his creation could easily be duplicated. Now that the Pulaski Street years are complete, Mr. Holls said he’s plans to add the junior high school’s “memory books” from 1963 to 1969.

He also wants to add the Roanoke years to his collection. Mr. Holls said he’d rather research the earlier years because the hunt is more exciting when dealing with rarities.

“There are no yearbooks before 1939,” he said. “There’s a possibility they have group class photos. That’s the best they can hope for.”

For more information about the project, email Mr. Holls at timholls@aol.com.


06/22/13 5:41pm
06/22/2013 5:41 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead graduates at Saturday morning’s ceremony.

Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River both held their graduation ceremonies Saturday morning as hundreds of students saw their high school journey come to an end.

There was plenty to celebrate and many wished congratulations to their classmates and friends via social media.

Below is a sample of what some people were saying today:

06/22/13 1:51pm

BILL LANDON PHOTO | The Riverhead High School Class of 2013 celebrates graduation Saturday morning.

On a beautiful, sunny morning Saturday, the Riverhead High School Class of 2013 celebrated its graduation at a ceremony on the football field.

Riverhead’s valedictorian in 2013 is Daniel Raynor, who will attend Yale. Daniel Tysz was salutatorian and is attending SUNY Stony Brook.

For a complete list of graduates and bios on the valedictorian and salutatorian, pick up a copy of the June 27 News-Review for the special graduation section.