PANTHERS 41, MONARCHS 6
The word on the street is that Babylon High School’s football team is even better than it was last year when the Panthers won the Long Island Class IV championship and the Rutgers Trophy, which is given to the most outstanding team in Suffolk County. A reporter who covers the team said the current squad is the strongest he has seen in 20 years.
Now that has to send a chill through teams throughout Suffolk Division IV and beyond.
Is Babylon that good?
It just may be. The Panthers have been beating opponent after opponent in dominant fashion. In other words, it has been business as usual in Babylon this season.
On Friday night it was Bishop McGann-Mercy’s turn to take its medicine. Babylon, playing its final regular-season at home, assured itself of a playoff game in the familiar surroundings of Coach Walt Williams Field with a 41-6 defeat of the Monarchs. Babylon (7-0), which started the day as one of only three unbeaten teams in Suffolk, extended its winning streak to 19 games.
Impressive as ever, Babylon was once again a model of offensive efficiency and defensive toughness. Babylon surged to a 28-0 lead by halftime, by which time the Monarchs (0-7) had minus-7 yards of offense. McGann-Mercy finished the game with only one first down and 63 yards in offense.
Meanwhile, Babylon scored touchdowns on five of its first six possessions. The Panthers have produced 29 touchdowns in 34 first-half possessions this season.
That doesn’t include a strange play that brought the second score of Friday’s game. A line-drive punt by McGann-Mercy’s Andrew Glasgow was caught near the line of scrimmage by Babylon’s Luke Zappia, and he ran the ball back 30 yards for his fourth touchdown of the season late in the first quarter.
Babylon put the ball in the air only five times, but three of them went for touchdowns. Nick Santorelli, one of the 16 Babylon seniors who were recognized and presented with a rose during a pregame ceremony, hit Stony Brook University-bound Jake Carlock for a pair of touchdowns. The two slants, of 25 and 32 yards, were Carlock’s only catches of the night before Babylon coach Rick Punzone started making multiple substitutions in the second quarter. But the second catch gave Carlock, a senior, his 15th touchdown of the season, a school record.
Santorelli was replaced at quarterback by Henry Brunjes about midway through the second quarter, and Brunjes immediately led a drive that ended with him finding an open Eddie Vega in the end zone for an 11-yard reception. It was the first touchdown of the year for both of them.
Making it look easy, Babylon continued putting points on the scoreboard in the second half. Stephen Schweitzer scored on a 7-yard run and Brunjes ran one in from 5 yards out himself.
The Monarchs averted a shutout when their quarterback, Mike Frosina, turned what coach Jeff Doroski said was a busted play into a touchdown. It looked like a naked bootleg, with Frosina faking a handoff before darting around the left side and racing 30 yards to the end zone. It was McGann-Mercy’s only third-down conversion of the game.
Eleven Babylon ball carriers contributed to the team’s 207 rushing yards.
Pat Marelli made a game-high 7 tackles for the Monarchs; all of them were solo except for one, and two were for losses.