Shoreham-Wading River hit the high school football playoffs running. Literally.
As the second seed in the Division IV playoffs, the Wildcats opened the postseason by tallying 481 yards in a rout of No. 7 Port Jefferson, 60-14. It was an emphatic start to the playoffs for a program that has become accustomed to success over the past five years.
The Wildcats, after winning three straight Long Island titles from 2014-16, were aiming for a return to the county and Long Island finals after falling short in 2017.
Behind a strong offensive line and a dynamic quarterback in Xavier Arline, the Wildcats had all the tools to make a deep run. And they did just that.
On a rainy night at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field, the Wildcats cruised past John Glenn, 44-7, in the semifinals to advance back to the county finals. Arline rushed for 278 yards in the win and scored three touchdowns.
It all set the stage for a rematch against Mount Sinai — the only team that had beaten Shoreham up to that point.
This time, it was sophomore Johnny Schwarz who emerged as the star. He turned in a career game in the biggest game of his short high school career to help lift the Wildcats to a 28-21 win at Stony Brook University. Schwarz scored on a 71-yard touchdown, added two interceptions and a fumble recovery. And a critical fourth-down pickup on a botched punt late in the game helped seal the win.
As usual, Arline had his stamp on the game with a contribution on four touchdowns.
The Wildcats celebrated their fourth county title in the past five years. But it was the end of the celebration as Cold Spring Harbor proved too tough in the Class IV Long Island final. On a frigid night, the Wildcats’ hopes slipped away in the second half as CSH controlled play in a 42-20 win.
Photo caption: The Shoreham-Wading River football team celebrates its county title. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)