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Football: SWR’s final drive against Mount Sinai ends just shy of the end zone

Xavier Arline dropped back and scanned the field for his receivers. Eight yards separated the Shoreham-Wading River quarterback from a first down. And one more yard after that was the end zone.

Seeing his receivers covered, the quick and athletic QB did what he’s done so many times before: tucked the ball and ran.

Arline darted toward the right pylon. He collided with a Mount Sinai defender Friday night at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field in Shoreham. He tried to reach out with the ball as he was pushed out of bounds on the fourth down play.

But the scramble came up one yard short. The officials spotted the ball at the 2-yard line.

Mount Sinai’s defense held just tight enough in the final seconds to preserve a 14-7 lead as the Mustangs pulled out their first victory against Shoreham since the playoffs in 2012.

Mount Sinai running back Mike Sabella rushed for 158 yards on 22 carries and scored both touchdowns for the Mustangs. His 80-yard run early in the second quarter was ultimately the difference in a defensive battle where both teams primarily stuck to the ground game.

The Mustangs dominated early in the game until the Wildcats started to get their legs under them offensively. But sustained drives were hard to come by and Mount Sinai’s defense limited Arline from breaking any big runs. Arline finished with 83 rushing yards on 18 carries. He was 8 of 12 passing, but for only 42 yards.

The 14-7 score looms in the background late in the third quarter. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Arline scored the only Wildcats touchdown on the night when he ran on third-and-1 from the Mustangs’ 7 and dove across the goal line for a score with 8:05 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats had plenty of chances to drive for an equalizer. A miscue by Mount Sinai allowed the Wildcats to drive a short field in the final three minutes with a chance to tie.

Mount Sinai punted with a chance to pin the Wildcats deep in their own territory. But on a low snap, the punter fielded the football with a knee on the ground, and the refs blew the play dead. That gave the Wildcats the ball on the Mustangs’ 45 with 3:33 to play.

The Wildcats quickly marched down field and set up 1st-and-10 at the 11-yard line. But after two run plays went nowhere followed by an incomplete pass, the Wildcats were left with one last chance to score.

After the turnover on downs, the Mustangs took a knee to end the game.

The loss drops Shoreham to 1-1 and Mount Sinai improves to 2-0.

Top photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River junior Mike Casazza attempts to bring down Mount Sinai running back Mike Sabella. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)