It was back in Week 2, on a Friday night in mid-September, that the Shoreham-Wading River football team picked up one of its biggest wins in years.
The Wildcats, behind a stout defense, won for the first time ever that night in Babylon and for only the second time ever in program history against the Panthers. Shoreham snapped a 25-game winning streak for Babylon, the two-time defending Class IV Long Island champions.
It seems like an eternity ago now.
The Wildcats have endured so much since that night with the tragedy that unfolded Oct. 1. Through it all, the Wildcats have kept on winning, to the tune of an 8-0 regular season, the first in program history.
On Saturday afternoon, playing in their first semifinal playoff game at home, the Wildcats will face Babylon once again looking to punch a ticket into the Division IV county championship game.
The 9-0 Wildcats will host the Panthers (6-3) at 1 p.m. in Shoreham.
Babylon has clearly not been the juggernaut of a team that it was the past two seasons. The Panthers lost twice more this season after the defeat to Shoreham in Week 2. Three regular season losses are a rarity around Babylon. The Panthers lost to Bayport-Blue Point and John Glenn, two of the teams that finished ahead of them in the standings.
The Panthers have averaged 26 points per game this year, well off last year’s pace of 42.5. In fact, the Panthers never scored fewer than 36 points in a game last year until the Long Island championship against Roosevelt.
This year’s Shoreham defense has given up the fewest points of any team on Long Island. Through nine games, the Wildcats have allowed just 36 points. Shoreham’s given up just one touchdown in the past five games, three of which were shutouts. Babylon had the second stingiest defense in Division IV this year, allowing a total of 99 points.
The Panthers come into Saturday’s game off a 27-6 win over No. 5 Center Moriches, the 20th straight year Babylon advanced into the Big 4, according to Newsday.
The winner of Saturday’s game faces either John Glenn or Bayport-Blue Point at Stony Brook University.