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Football: SWR reaches its fourth county final in five years

Nothing was going to rain on Shoreham-Wading River’s parade to the Suffolk County Division IV football championship game — not even, well, the rain.

First the Wildcats played in the rain, and then they were singing in the rain.

Second-seeded SWR had cause to be of good cheer. With its 44-7 dismantling of No. 3 Elwood/John Glenn in a semifinal Friday night at soaking wet Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field, SWR (9-1) advances to its fourth county final in five years. The last time the Wildcats reached the county final, in 2016, they triumphed and went on to become the fourth team to win three straight Long Island championships.

With its one-sided victory in the rain and wind Friday, SWR earned a shot at redemption. The Wildcats will play No. 1 Mount Sinai (10-0) for the title Thursday night at Stony Brook University. Mount Sinai was a 28-0 winner over Babylon in their semifinal Friday night. Mount Sinai is responsible for the only loss on SWR’s a record, a 14-7 defeat on Sept. 14. SWR has won eight straight games since then.

Similarly to its previous playoff game — a 60-14 blowout of Port Jefferson a week earlier on the same field — SWR was in full control. Its junior quarterback, Xavier Arline, was his usual spectacular self, running for 278 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 29 for the year. Dominic Visintin ran for two more TDs, caught a TD pass and ran in four two-point conversions. He was also responsible for one of SWR’s two interceptions (Max Barone had the other). SWR’s defense was solid, holding Glenn (7-3) to 149 yards of offense.

SWR did have a couple of negatives on the night, the first being the loss of senior cornerback Anthony Cimino, who was said to have separated a shoulder after doing well to deflect a pass in the end zone with 6 minutes and 24 seconds left in the third quarter. The other issue for the Wildcats were penalties. They were whistled for 12 penalties, costing them 125 yards.

It was a sign of things to come when Arline scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage, finding his way around the left side for a 33-yard TD, set up by Johnny Schwarz’s fine kickoff return.

Not long after that, a voice from a SWR fan in the stands was heard to yell, “It’s going to be a long night, Glenn.”

And it was a long night for the Knights, who relied heavily on senior running back Justin Tiernan (29 carries, 102 rushing yards).

Glenn did raise hope of hanging with SWR when Justin Vega caught an 11-yard TD pass from Kyle Szokoli to help trim SWR’s lead to 14-7 with 7:29 left in the second quarter. Before the half ended, though, Arline took the ball 20 yards around the left side for a TD and dumped a nine-yard TD pass to Visintin for a 30-7 bulge by halftime.

Third-quarter TD runs by Arline (a 67-yard race through the middle) and Visintin put the result beyond doubt. Arline was replaced at quarterback by Chris Visintin early in the fourth quarter.

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Photo caption: Xavier Arline (left) and Dominic Visintin celebrate Shoreham-Wading River’s final touchdown of the night, a five-yard run by Visintin with 1:29 left in the third quarter. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)