No. 1 Sports Story of the Year: An unbeaten to run to the title

01/01/2015 12:00 PM |
The Shoreham-Wading River football team celebrates its 2014 Long Island Championship win over Roosevelt. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

The Shoreham-Wading River football team celebrates its 2014 Long Island Championship win over Roosevelt. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

The season began with the Shoreham-Wading River football team as the No. 3 seed in Division IV. It was familiar territory. Never before had Shoreham gotten beyond the semifinals of the playoffs to play in a county championship game.

So it came as no surprise to see John Glenn and Babylon as the top two seeds.

But by Week 2, the Wildcats announced they were a team to be reckoned with. Facing a Babylon team that had won 25 straight games, the Wildcats snapped the Panthers’ streak, winning 9-7 and picking up the program’s first-ever win in Babylon.

After that moment, the Wildcats embarked on an emotional roller coaster, rallying together after the tragic death of Tom Cutinella Oct. 1 to finish an undefeated season and win the program’s first Long Island Championship. It was a story that grabbed national headlines and was highlighted by an ESPN feature when the team traveled to Baltimore for the Army-Navy game, thanks to tickets donated by a West Point alum. Cutinella had dreamed of attending West Point and the academy offered him a posthumous scholarship.

In the Wildcats’ playoff run, they dominated every opponent; one highlight was a win over Roosevelt in the Class IV championship. The Wildcats were the only Suffolk team to win the Long Island Championship and they were awarded with the Rutgers Trophy as the top team in Suffolk County.

Senior Aaron Harley-Rey received the inaugural Tom Cutinella Memorial Leadership Award and quarterback Daniel Hughes was a finalist for the Hansen Award as the top player in the county. Shoreham coach Matt Millheiser was honored as the county Coach of the Year.

Top 10 Sports Stories

No. 10: A rejuvenated girls basketball program at Mercy

No. 9: Stars on the track

No. 8: A cross country state champion

No. 7: Title run comes to an end

No. 6: Chaos in Mercy athletic department

No. 5: Villa soars to record heights

No. 4: SWR soccer wins county title

No. 3: SWR freshman tosses two no-hitters

No. 2: SWR coach retires after 38 years