When a football team has a running game like Shoreham-Wading River does, there are going to be runaways.
The Wildcats capped off their successful regular season Friday night by running away to a 51-21 rout of rival Bayport-Blue Point at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field in Shoreham. Quarterback Xavier Arline ran for four touchdowns (giving him 22 for the season) and 272 yards on 13 carries. Running back Dominic Visintin had two TDs and 153 yards on eight carries in SWR’s sixth straight win. It was the most points the Wildcats have scored in a game this season.
SWR (7-1 Suffolk County Division IV) totaled 523 yards on 30 rushing attempts, an average of 17.4 yards per carry.
Balloons, some shaped like footballs and some like cats — Wildcats, and other decorations were part of a festive atmosphere as part of Senior Night. SWR’s 11 seniors were recognized, along with their parents, in a pregame ceremony.
The Wildcats had good cause to be festive once the game began, too, no small thanks to the extraordinary athletic ability of Arline, who gave the Bayport defense fits throughout the evening.
Taking a shotgun snap, Arline raced up the middle, made a couple of quick moves and then bounced outside for a 64-yard TD run in the first quarter.
An interception by Arline on Bayport’s next possession set up Visintin’s first TD.
A 65-yard TD dash by Visintin on the final play of the first quarter, followed by Jake Ekert’s extra point, spotted SWR a 21-0 lead.
The rout was on.
On SWR’s first offensive play of the second quarter, Arline was at his remarkable best. The junior’s spin moves made multiple defenders miss him, and then he reversed field for the score, going 41 yards.
SWR’s next series lasted only two plays, with Arline faking a handoff on the option and darting around the right side for a 78-yard trek to the end zone.
Arline made his fourth TD of the night, a 21-yarder in the third quarter, look easy.
Arline also saved a possible TD in the third quarter, making a textbook open-field tackle on Ethan Trotta.
Johnny Schwarz replaced Arline at quarterback early in the fourth quarter. On Schwarz’ first play, he showed his speed with a 60-yard run for a score.
SWR lost its kicker, Ekert, on the final play of the first half after he went down in a hard collision. SWR trainer Jason Lee said Ekert hurt his left shoulder. Ekert’s neck was stabilized as a precautionary measure and he was taken off the field on a stretcher as fans applauded.
Bayport (3-5) scored two of its TDs on passes from Luke Schartner (8-for-21, 153 yards) to Logan Jones (five catches, 102 yards). Francesco Geraci (15 carries, 117 yards) ran in the other.
This game could be a playoff preview. The teams could wind up facing each other next Friday on the same field when the postseason begins. Shoreham began the day in second place and Bayport was seventh.
Photo caption: Jeffrey Lachenmeyer leads Shoreham-Wading River onto the field for Friday night’s game. (Credit: Bob Liepa)