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?
“We had a lot of seniors leave, so there were a lot of question marks,” said Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser. “Do we have players in the right spot? Are we getting the most out of what we can? You never know how people are going to respond.”
The questions for Shoreham were answered in a resounding matter in Week 1 Friday night. The Wildcats raced out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and never looked back in a 35-7 win at Center Moriches. The Wildcats picked apart the preseason No. 5 seed through the air and pounded them on the ground. The Wildcats led 28-0 in the first half.
“We played well,” Millheiser said. “We executed our game plan.”
Senior quarterback Danny Hughes connected with receiver Isreal Squires for a pair of touchdowns through the air, both of which came in the first quarter. Squires hauled in touchdowns of 22 and 40 yards.
After that, the Wildcats didn’t have much need to go to the air. A revamped running attack, after the graduation of Tyler Anderson, carried the offense the rest of the way.
Junior Chris Rosati rushed for 135 yards on 15 carries and scored 7-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Millheiser said the running attack won’t be so relient on one player this year as it had been last season with Anderson.
“We’re still going to run the ball, but now those carries are going to be divvied up,” he said. “I think Rosati did a good job last night. Danny had a good night running the ball.”
The Wildcats like to mix in running plays for Hughes at quarterback, something they’ve done in the past, but will turn to even more this season.
Hughes carried 12 times for 105 yards Friday, most of which came on a 61-yard run in the second quarter.
“He’s a big kid and a fast kid,” Millheiser said. “A good athlete. You get nervous when your quarterback is running around like that. You never want to get him hurt. But if it’s going to make you a better team, we want to get him in the running game.”
Aaron Harley-Rey had a big day as well with a pair of rushing touchdowns. His 7-yard score in the third quarter was the only points either team scored in the second half.
The win gave the Wildcats a chance to exhale before a Week 2 showdown in Babylon, a field that’s been a house of horrors for visiting teams in Division IV. The Panthers cruised past Greenport 35-0 Friday night in their opener.
Expect the Panthers to play with an extra chip on their shoulders this season, too. After winning two consecutive Class IV Long Island Championships, the Panthers began this season seeded second in the division behind John Glenn.
Babylon ended Shoreham’s season last year in the playoff semifinals, 42-13.