Dan Mahoney had a harried look on his face as he hustled down a walkway toward the field entrance at Islip High School.
His teammates on the Shoreham-Wading River High School football team were already on the field, warming up for Saturday’s game against Babylon.
“The kicker is always late,” someone announced as Mahoney made his way to the field.
Of course, Mahoney had a good reason for being late. He had played a soccer game for Shoreham earlier in the day, scoring a goal in a 3-2 loss to Elwood/John Glenn.
Then Mahoney used his right leg in the Shoreham football team’s 37-14 victory. The senior booted a career-long 42-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. A 44-yard attempt was blocked on the final play of the first half.
“It’s a great weapon,” Shoreham’s coach, Matt Millheiser, said of Mahoney’s kicking ability. The coach said: “For someone to kick it through the uprights and get some points, it can really shift that momentum and really kind of hurt their defense psychologically. They thought they got a stop, but nope, we had some points. A lot of teams don’t have that weapon.”
One of Shoreham’s linemen, Dalten Stalzer, said, “It’s good because we know if we get far enough down the field that it’s almost an automatic at least three points.”
Perhaps of even greater value to the Wildcats were Mahoney’s booming kickoffs. Two of his six deep kickoffs went for touchbacks.
“Having a kicker that can kick all the way down to the end zone is amazing,” said Chris Rosati, who ran for a career-high four touchdowns and 283 yards for the Wildcats.
Mahoney also punts, something he had to do only twice on Saturday. He punted a 27-yarder that bounced out of bounds and thumped a 45-yarder.
Mahoney, who is 2 for 3 on field-goal attempts this season, said he hit a 54-yarder in practice once. He said he has been kicking since he was in sixth grade. At first, he said, he didn’t care for it much, “but I feel at home now.”
Kickers are often teased for not being “real” football players, and Mahoney may have received his fair share of ribbing.
“We bust his chops because, you know, he’s a soccer player, but, you know, he always shows up and is ready to play,” Millheiser said. “He’s a good kid.”
Is he a “real” football player?
“He’s the first kicker I ever had that tries to run down on the kickoff and try to tackle people,” answered the coach.
Indeed, the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Mahoney made a tackle after one of his kickoffs on Saturday.
“I’ll consider him a football player,” Rosati said. “On the kickoff he’ll run down and make a couple of tackles. … He just kicks it and then he turns right into one of the gunners running down. He’s fast. He gets down there in a hurry.”
After putting in a full day for two teams in two sports on Saturday, Mahoney concluded a postgame interview and headed off toward the team bus. The last Shoreham player to arrive on the field was one of the last to leave.