In the years leading up to Shoreham-Wading River’s 2014 Long Island Championship, coach Matt Millheiser often mentioned all the “firsts” the team had barreled through, from a win at Mount Sinai, to a road victory at Babylon. Now, on the heels of two straight Class IV Long Island titles, a 24-game win streak and a Rutgers Trophy a year ago, the list of firsts has shrunk down to nearly nothing.
Still, there was more reason to celebrate this week.
For the first time in program history, a Shoreham player received first team all-state honors by the New York State Sportswriters Association. That distinction went to defensive lineman Ethan Wiederkehr, the Wildcats’ towering 6-foot-5 run-stopper and pass rusher. A two-way player, Wiederkehr was a central part on both ends of the field for the Wildcats in their most recent 12-0 run to a title that ended with a blowout win over Locust Valley in late November.
Wiederkehr was one of 11 players from across the state to be honored as first team on defense for Class A. Two Sayville players also received the nod to account for the only other Suffolk County players in the top 11 for defense.
“It’s a blessing to be the first person, but I’m going to have to thank my teammates around me because it’s not just me out there and they support me too,” Wiederkehr said.
Wiederkehr, a junior, was joined by his teammates Chris Rosati and Dalton Stalzer. Rosati, a senior who led the Wildcats offensively this year with 1,470 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns, was actually honored on the defensive side. He was a third-team all-state selection as a defensive back.
Stalzer, who’s also a senior, was a fourth-team all-state selection as an offensive lineman.
Wiederkehr recorded 67 tackles for the Wildcats this past season, including 17 tackles for a loss.
Coming into the season Wiederkehr said he didn’t set any individual goals for himself. His focus was squarely on repeating as Long Island champions, he said.
“If we won that, then some more individual awards would come,” said Wiederkehr, who was a first-team All-Long Island selection by Newsday.
Wiederkehr was a third-team all-state selection as a sophomore last year. The Wildcats had four all-state players last year plus Rosati as an honorable mention.
As the season progressed this year, Wiederkehr said teams tried to avoid him by running the ball to his opposite side. At times, teams had to try to abandon the run and throw the ball, which rarely worked out.
“I think our run defense was just magnificent,” Wiederkehr said.
Having competed on two undefeated teams already, Wiederkehr will be back next fall again to create havoc for opponents. For now, his offseason consists of lifting and speed training before the spring arrives with the start of lacrosse season.
Many of Shoreham’s football players carry over to lacrosse.
“We’re all always together,” Wiederkher said. “We’re just a tight family.”
Photo Caption: Ethan Wiederkehr (No. 40) chases down John Glenn quarterback Wayne White in the Division IV county championship game in November. (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)