BLUE WAVES 35, BULLS 7
The Riverhead Blue Waves blew out the Smithtown West Bulls, 35-7, Saturday in a Suffolk County Division II football game played in 80-degree heat in Smithtown.
The Blue Waves, who were the preseason No. 1 seed in the division, brought their record to 3-0, although their first two wins were much closer contests.
“This was a game we had to win,” said head coach Leif Shay. “It was one of those games on the schedule that’s a potential trap game and we wanted to play well in it, which we did.”
In consideration of the heat, the referees allowed for occasional water breaks for both teams that were not counted as timeouts.
Shay said his team was prepared.
“We’ve played in heat before and we’ve done it in training camp and our guys have acclimated to it,” he said. “You just have to have lots of water and you have to be careful and sub guys out to give them a break.”
With the score 35-7 in the third quarter, Shay gave most of his starters a break for the rest of the game.
The coach praised the efforts of wide receiver/defensive backs R. J. Foster and Steven Reid. “I thought R. J. had a great game defensively and he made a long touchdown run on offense, and Steven Reid made some critical catches for us,” he said.
Foster’s touchdown was a 58-yard end-around play in the first quarter in which halfback Ryun Moore took the handoff and headed around right end, only to hand off to Foster, who then went around left end and took it all the way for the score. Foster also had a key interception and a number of big plays on defense.
Shay said both the offensive and defensive lines controlled the game.
“I think we did really well,” said the 6-foot-5, 320-pound senior Ethan Greenidge, who starts at tackle on offense and defense. “It finally felt like we established ourselves. We started off a little slow early in the season but we’ve definitely progressed a little every game.”
Quarterback Kenny Simco, who threw for three touchdowns, said the heat on the field was tough and noted that Riverhead isn’t used to playing on field turf, as they have in Smithtown.
“We can’t let that get to us,” Simco said. “The whole team played great and the guys that came in as substitutes really held it together.”
Smithtown West moved down the field pretty well on its first drive of the game, gaining 41 yards on its first play, a pass from quarterback Dan Caroussos to Joe Garibaldi, to move the ball into Riverhead territory. A penalty on Riverhead’s defense gave Smithtown West a first down on Riverhead’s 15-yard line. But Riverhead’s defense, led by linemen Troy Trent and Christian Williams, stuffed two running plays for no gain, and Smithtown West threw incomplete passes on third and fourth downs to come away empty-handed.
Riverhead’s running backs, Moore and Willie Mitchell, moved the ball from the 14 to the 38 on three consecutive plays before Foster scored on the end-around play to give Riverhead the early lead.
Smithtown West went nowhere on its next drive, and Riverhead took over the ball on Smithtown West’s 40, where Simco hit Reid with a 39-yard bomb to the 1-yard line. Simco then ran a quarterback sneak for the score.
After stuffing Smithtown West’s next drive, the Blue Waves started their third drive at Smithtown West’s 39, where the Riverhead offense got a first down on some running plays before Simco hit Mark Andrejack on a short pass on the right side of the field and watched him take it 24 yards into the end zone.
Smithtown West then scored on its next drive, moving from its own 27 to the end zone in 12 plays, with running back Garrett Brunsvold scoring from the 1.
With 6 minutes 46 seconds left in the first half, Riverhead launched another scoring drive that culminated in Simco, under pressure, throwing up a flair that tight end Connor Clinco caught near the line of scrimmage and ran in for a 10-yard touchdown reception.
The Blue Waves then got an interception from Andrejack and almost turned that into more points before the half, but a field-goal attempt was blocked on the last play of the half.
Riverhead recovered an onside kick at midfield to start the second half and scored once more on a drive that culminated with Simco, again under pressure, hitting Moore with a short pass on the left sideline, only to watch him reverse direction and go completely across the field to the right sideline, taking it into the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown reception.
Unofficially, Simco had 8 completions on 12 attempts and 2 touchdown passes, with no interceptions.
Moore, who was a workhorse in the first two games of the season, got some help this week, unofficially carrying seven times for 55 yards.