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

10/11/13 9:43pm
10/11/2013 9:43 PM

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham running back Tyler Anderson, shown against Mount Sinai last week, rushed for 354 yards against Hampton Bays Friday.

WILDCATS 45, BAYMEN 14

If there was any reason to believe the Shoreham-Wading River football team might suffer a letdown after last week’s historic win over Mount Sinai, Tyler Anderson and his offensive line put those worries to rest on the first play from scrimmage Friday night.

Anderson took a handoff from quarterback Daniel Hughes, cut right and turned it up field for a 75-yard touchdown against Hampton Bays.

No Baymen even got a hand on him.

Later in the first quarter, at that exact same spot on the field, the Wildcats went back to the same play. And they got the same result.

A 75-yard touchdown up the right sideline from Anderson — again untouched.

It all added up to a blowout win for the Wildcats, 45-14, as Anderson set a school record with 354 rushing yards, breaking the previous mark of 328 he set last year at East Hampton. He carried the ball 21 times.

Shoreham led 35-0 in the first half before Hampton Bays finally broke through when senior Taylor Catz busted a 62-yard run late in the second quarter.

The Wildcats improved to 4-1 in Division IV heading into homecoming week next Saturday when they’ll host Bayport-Blue Point. Next week will be the first Saturday afternoon game for the Wildcats, who opened the season with a Thursday game and then four straight Friday night games.

Shoreham junior Aaron Harley-Rey scored his first varsity touchdown on a 39-yard pass play that made it 28-0 early in the second quarter. Hughes faked a handoff to Anderson, drawing in the defense as he rolled to his left. Wide receiver Isreal Squires was rolling with him and would typically be the main target on the play. But Hughes saw his fullback streaking wide open over the middle and unleashed a perfect pass to Harley-Rey.

It was the first touchdown of the game from someone other than Anderson, who ran in the first three Wildcats’ scores.

Squires added two touchdowns in the second half, one a 7-yard pass play from Hughes and the other a 46-yard run that capped the scoring.

Senior Zach McAuley drilled a 37-yard field goal for Shoreham.

joew@timesreview.com

09/12/13 8:11pm
09/12/2013 8:11 PM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River senior Tyler Anderson scored two touchdowns Thursday against McGann-Mercy.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Tyler Anderson scored two touchdowns Thursday against McGann-Mercy.

WILDCATS 46, MONARCHS 0

As the two-a-day practices of late August give way to scrimmages and final game preparations in September, the anticipation toward Week 1 builds greater and greater. In many ways during the long grind, the first game of the season feels like the biggest.

“You’re working out over the summer, this is the game you’re waiting for to get the pads warmed up,” said Shoreham-Wading River senior Tyler Anderson.

Around Shoreham, there hasn’t been the kind of anticipation for a season since the days of star running back Brendan Kelly in 2006 and ’07. In their Division IV opener Thursday afternoon, the Wildcats played like a team caged up all summer that was finally let loose.

At the receiving end of it were the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs, a team thrust into the spotlight of the upper echelon of Division IV by reaching the semifinals of the playoffs last year — their best season in more than two decades.

As the Monarchs quickly found out Thursday, the honeymoon is over.

The Wildcats stampeded Mercy from the outset, cruising to a 46-0 victory at home.

Shoreham needed just over two minutes to score the first touchdown of the game, an 11-yard run by Anderson. On the first drive alone Anderson tallied 63 rushing yards as he dodged, side-stepped and ran past helpless tacklers.

“It’s just momentum for the game and helps carry guys through,” Anderson said of striking early.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Mercy sophomore KJ Santacroce made his first varsity start Thursday against Shoreham.

The game was never in doubt for the Wildcats. They scored a pair of touchdowns through the air, and two more through the air by picking off passes and returning them for touchdowns.

They even scored with the kicking game when senior Zach McAuley connected on a 19-yard field goal late in the game for the Wildcats’ final three points. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, McAuley bolted for the exits.

A soccer game at Mount Sinai was about to kick off. And McAuley was pulling double duty.

The Wildcats jumped ahead to such a big lead, Anderson only carried the ball five more times after the opening drive. He finished with 96 yards on nine carries.

“Every play you want to be out there,” Anderson said of the unfortunate side-effect of a lopsided win.

Junior quarterback Danny Hughes threw only three passes all game and the first two went for touchdowns. He connected on a 34-yard pass to the right side of the end zone with junior Isreal Squires. On a third-and-16, Squires raced past his defender to create separation and haul in a perfectly thrown ball from Hughes. The touchdown and two-point conversion made it 15-0 Shoreham.

Squires said he could see the improved arm strength of Hughes right from the start of practices this year.

“He got a better arm over the summer from working out and everything,” Squires said.

Hughes later threw a 36-yard touchdown to tight end Mitch Identsohn. As Hughes rolled to his left, he thought about tucking the ball and running with it. Then he saw the arm of Identsohn go up as he raced across the field. Hughes let the ball loose and hit his big tight end in stride. Identsohn did the rest to land in the end zone.

Squires added a second touchdown when he picked of Mercy sophomore KJ Santacroce on the first drive of the second half and returned it for a touchdown to put the Wildcats ahead 36-0.

Mercy couldn’t get any momentum on offense. And they lost starting running back Reggie Archer to cramps late in the second quarter. Senior Paul Annunziata carried most of the load on the ground with Archer sidelined.

“We knew coming in we were going to play a tough schedule this year,” said Mercy coach Jeff Doroski. “We started with one of the big boys in the division and they are rightfully a three seed. We got to get better.”

Santacroce completed 7 of 15 passes and showed some glimpses of good things to come.

“KJ’s only going to get better for us,” Doroski said.

With the season opener behind them, the Wildcats will now turn their attention to next week’s showdown at Babylon against the defending Long Island champion.

The Wildcats got crushed by the Panthers last year, 55-0, and are eager for another opportunity.

“That’s going to be the test,” Squires said.

“They always say look to the next game, now we’re looking at Babylon,” Anderson added. “That’s the game we’ve really been looking forward to.”

When the Wildcats kick off against Babylon, they’ll have a supporter in Doroski.

“When are one of us going to step up and take down a Babylon or Mount Sinai?” he said. “Are these guys going to be the team that goes in there and we see a little bit different [result]? I hope so. We’d like to see somebody new in there.”

joew@timesreview.com

11/17/12 1:20am
11/17/2012 1:20 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Tyler Anderson of Shoreham-Wading River scampers for yardage despite an effort by Mount Sinai’s Mike Donadio to bring him down.

SUFFOLK COUNTY DIVISION IV SEMIFINAL | MUSTANGS 21, WILDCATS 0

This has been an historic football season for Shoreham-Wading River. The team earned its first home playoff game, posted its first playoff win, and set a team record for the most wins in a season.

What the Wildcats weren’t able to do, however, was defeat perennial power Mount Sinai.

Shoreham-Wading River has never beaten Mount Sinai, which won both games between the teams this year. The most recent came Friday night when Mark Donadio scored all three touchdowns in a Suffolk County Division IV semifinal that ended with the score 21-0.

“They should be proud of what they achieved,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser said of his players. “The seniors going out took us from an 0-8 group a couple of years ago to a group playing in the semifinals that won seven games. It hurts now, but I think in a couple of weeks a little perspective sets in and they see what they accomplished over their time here. They have a lot to hold their heads high about.”

As does No. 2 seed Mount Sinai (9-1). The Mustangs ousted defending Long Island champion Elwood/John Glenn from the playoffs a week earlier, and they looked sharp in their final home game of the season on Friday night. Donadio’s play and Mount Sinai’s defense proved to be a winning recipe, earning the Mustangs a place in the county final. They will play the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between Bishop McGann-Mercy (7-2) and Babylon (9-0). The title game will be played on Nov. 24 or 25 at Stony Brook University.

Mount Sinai has a potent one-two punch in its backfield in the form of identical twins, seniors Mark and Mike Donadio. Mark plays fullback and free safety; Mike plays halfback and outside linebacker.

The brothers bear such a strong resemblance to each other that Mount Sinai coach Vinnie Ammirato needs a second or two to tell which one is which. Their appearance isn’t the only thing they have in common, either.

“Their running styles are identical,” Ammirato said. “The good thing about both of them is they are always moving forward, even when they make cuts.”

Mark Donadio had a lot of forward motion on Friday night — 188 yards worth, to be exact. He did most of his damage in the first half when he picked up 130 of his 141 rushing yards.

“I felt great,” Mark Donadio said. “There were a lot of holes to run through, and it just opened up nice for me.”

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River’s Danny Hughes passing.

As if to show that he can do more than just run with the ball, Mark Donadio had a touchdown reception with 5 minutes 7 seconds left in the third quarter. He received a swing pass from Billy Tartaglia before weaving his way 47 yards to the end zone. Chris Prestia’s extra point made it 21-0. It was one of only two passes Mount Sinai threw in the game. When a team runs like Mount Sinai does, it doesn’t have to pass much.

The game had been scoreless until the first play of the second quarter. On a third-down play from the Shoreham-Wading River 10-yard line,
Mark Donadio took a handoff and cut to the left side, going untouched for the score.

Then Mark Donadio capped Mount Sinai’s next offensive series by showing good body control and zigzagging 15 yards for another touchdown.

No. 3 Shoreham-Wading River (7-3) didn’t reach Mount Sinai’s red zone until the fourth quarter. The Wildcats advanced to the Mount Sinai 16-yard line on one series, but back-to-back sacks by Ryan Clark and Sal Maresca put an end to that threat. Then, a fumble recovery by Scott Lavey gave Shoreham-Wading River another chance to score. The Wildcats reached the Mount Sinai 5 before Bryan Reed recorded a game-ending sack. Mount Sinai finished with five sacks, including two and a half by Clark.

“They’re sure tacklers and they make you make plays,” said Millheiser, whose team was held scoreless in the eight quarters it played against Mount Sinai this year. “They’re not going to give away anything soft.”

Isreal Squires was involved in 11 tackles and Anthony Lima had a hand in 10 for Shoreham-Wading River.

Shoreham-Wading River’s feature back, Tyler Anderson, had a productive game. The junior picked up 159 yards from 22 carries. He also caught three passes for 20 yards.

“He’s a tremendous back with a ton of upside,” Millheiser said. “He’s a great back, and I think the sky’s the limit. I don’t know if  we’ve seen the best from him yet.”

Mount Sinai usually plays its home games at night, but because of budgetary considerations, Friday’s game was the only home game this year that the Mustangs played under the lights.

“I think Friday night football at Mount Sinai is something pretty special,” Ammirato said, “and I’m glad they got to play their last home game” at night.

Some tears on the Shoreham-Wading River sideline after the game were evidence that the result wasn’t what the Wildcats wanted, but they clearly can’t complain about the strides they made this season.

“We played tough to the end,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep going. Sometimes you just fall short.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/06/12 9:09pm
10/06/2012 9:09 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Tyler Anderson rushed for 224 yards Saturday against John Glenn. He now 552 rushing yards in the last two games.

WILDCATS 31, KNIGHTS 14

Running back Tyler Anderson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats to a 31-14 victory over Elwood-John Glenn Saturday afternoon in a Suffolk County Division IV football game at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

Anderson had two long touchdown runs of 32 and 35 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Wildcats, who improved to 4-1. Anderson, a junior, also had a three-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that gave the Wildcats a 10-7 lead, one they would not relinquish.

The Shoreham defense limited Glenn’s spread offense to less than 200 total yards, and just 50 yards rushing, and intercepted quarterback Matt Shaneman twice.

A key turnover came with 1:24 left in the first half after the Wildcats had punted to midfield. Middle linebacker Anthony Lima intercepted a pass on Glenn’s first play from scrimmage, and one play later, Shoreham quarterback Danny Hughes hit Scott Lavey down the left sideline for a 37-yard reception. On third-and-three from the six yard-line, Hughes found Isreal Squires over the middle for a touchdown with only nine seconds left, and the Wildcats had a 17-7 halftime lead.

Glenn, the two-time defending Long Island champions, fell to 2-3. The Wildcats continue their season Oct. 12 at 5-0 Bishop McGann-Mercy. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

09/29/12 7:55pm
09/29/2012 7:55 PM

If anyone in Shoreham-Wading River history rushed for more than 328 yards, coach Matt Millheiser had a strong hunch who it might have been.

So after Saturday afternoon’s 42-14 Division IV victory at East Hampton (1-3), Millheiser called former Wildcat Brendan Kelly. A senior on the football team at the University of Central Florida, Kelly (’08) finished his high school career with Shoreham as one of the most accomplished backs in county history.

“I said the only kid I could think in the past who would have had a big game was Brendan Kelly,” Millheiser said. “And he said he only had a 301 and 310, so I guess it’s a team record.”

That honor would now go to Tyler Anderson after a five-touchdown, 328-yard rushing day that will be one to remember.

Perhaps most amazing, he only needed 11 carries to amass that many yards. He finished the day with an absurd 29.8 yards per carry.

Anderson scored on runs of 48, 65, 21, 80 and 65 yards.

The final run almost didn’t happen.

With the game well in hand, Millheiser had Anderson on the sideline as backups Avery Friedman and Jordan Wright took over the rushing duties. But at one point Friedman and Wright both got banged up and the Wildcats needed a back to go in for a play. So Millheiser called in Anderson.

“I put him back in and boom, another touchdown,” Millheiser said. “I ran out of backs so I threw him back in there.”

The Wildcats finished with 521 rushing yards. Friedman had a huge day himself, rushing for 128 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown. Quarterback Danny Hughes threw only one pass all game, a 15-yard completion to Isreal Squires.

Shoreham got off to a tremendous start by taking a 21-0 lead after one quarter.

The Wildcats led 35-7 at halftime and never looked back.

Shoreham improved to 3-1 at the midway point of the regular season. It puts the Wildcats in position to secure a top-four seed and  home game in the playoffs if they can duplicate that effort over the second half.

Millheiser said they’re not thinking that far ahead just yet, and are more concerned with entering the playoffs healthy and playing well, regardless of what the seed might be.

“Closing on all cylinders going into the playoffs is really the most important thing,” he said.

The second half of the regular season won’t be easy. The Wildcats return home next weekend to face defending Long Island champion John Glenn. The Knights have won two straight after opening the season with two surprising losses.

The Wildcats also have McGann-Mercy and Babylon. Both teams are 4-0. Babylon is in the driver’s seat for the division title after knocking off Mount Sinai Saturday afternoon in come-from-behind fashion.

joew@timesreview.com