Football: No letdown for 3-0 Wildcats after big win

Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)
Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

So, how does a high school football team follow up one of the biggest wins in program history?

Well, if it’s Shoreham-Wading River, it wallops visiting Hampton Bays, 48-0.

A lot of things could have gone wrong in Saturday’s Suffolk County Division IV game for the Wildcats (3-0), who were coming off a stunning 9-7 upset of defending Long Island Class IV champion Babylon a week earlier. In addition to having to deal with Saturday’s hot weather, the Wildcats could have faced a natural letdown after their big triumph over Babylon.

It didn’t happen.

“There was a lot of reasons why we shouldn’t have played well … and we wound up playing well,” said Wildcats coach Matt Millheiser.

Hampton Bays (2-2) hung with Shoreham for the first quarter before the Wildcats pulled away in the second.

Dan Hughes put the ball in the air only five times, but three of them were completions totaling 136 yards and two went for touchdowns. That includes the game-opening score, a 60-yard delivery to Kevin Stanford in the first quarter.

The Wildcats made it 28-0 by halftime, with three second-quarter touchdowns: a 28-yard fumble recovery return by Isreal Squires, a 2-yard run by Hughes and 70-yard touchdown catch by Bryce Casey.

Any question of the result was erased on the second-half kickoff, which Squires took back 85 yards for a touchdown.

Later in the third quarter, Aaron Harley-Rey ran the ball into the end zone from 28 yards on a trap play.

Squires had a big day, including a forced fumble and 8 tackles.

“It’s tough to come from the high they had at Babylon, the intensity they had at practice, the intensity of the game,” Millheiser said. “There definitely is a little bit of a letdown, but our kids played well.”

Talking about the start to the season, Millheiser said of his players: “I think they’ve looked great. I think they’ve played great. When you break down the film, as with any coach, there’s always room for improvement.”

BABYLON 48, BISHOP MCGANN-MERCY 7 Bishop McGann-Mercy had its work cut out for it Saturday, going up against a Babylon team that had just seen its 25-game win streak snapped. Babylon (2-1 in Division IV) went about working on a new streak, hammering the Monarchs, 48-7, in Riverhead.

McGann-Mercy (1-2) fell behind by 12-0 before two juniors joined forces to put the Monarchs on the scoreboard in the second quarter, with Jack Pavelchak catching a 25-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Santacroce.

“They really made it hard for us to run,” Monarchs coach Mike Buck said. “They were begging us to throw so I did.”

But Babylon wore down the Monarchs in the second half, said Buck.

Asked if his team can take something positive out of the game, Buck said: “As a coach, you’re hoping that they learn something from wins and losses. We know we can play, we just have to do it for four quarters. They have to learn that. They have to learn how to finish things.”

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