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Football: SWR wins fourth L.I. title as Arline totals six TDs

Shoreham-Wading River is the class of Long Island, and Xavier Arline is in a class by himself.

The Wildcats and their senior quarterback left no question about that as they blasted their way to their second Long Island Class IV football championship in four years and fourth overall Saturday.

Arline, his offensive line and the SWR defense all had standout performances as the Wildcats romped, 49-7, over Seaford at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium.

Arline, playing in his final game for the Wildcats (11-1), accounted for 357 all-purpose yards, running for four touchdowns and passing for two more. He also had an interception.

How did the Wildcats make it look easy?

“Preparation,” Arline said. “We were prepared. We didn’t take them lightly. Last year the Suffolk County championship almost felt like defeat. Coming in, we knew that we had to finish it out. This was the only way to go out.”

SWR adds this Long Island title to ones it won in 2014, 2015 and 2016, when it defeated Seaford, 20-10. Seaford (10-2) is 3-6 in Long Island finals.

“It’s been a tradition at Shoreham,” said Dylan Kiely, who was in on nine tackles. “We go to the LIC and we win it. Ever since July, since we started, we’ve been keeping the train going.”

Shoreham-Wading River players celebrate their victory over Seaford in the Long Island Class C Football Championship game at Hofstra University. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

That train encountered some bumps along the way of a news-making season: coach Aden Smith’s removal from the team early in the season, Robert McGee’s transfer from St. Anthony’s to SWR, the potential for a quarterback controversy. Throughout it all, SWR remained consistent.

“I just think we had a special, resilient bunch, from the community to the kids,” Smith said. “Everybody just remained even-keeled and poised despite whatever side turns or alternate routes we had to take to get to this destination.”

SWR lineman Matt Zahn said: “I think that was just all fuel for us. All of those things and people doubting us just made us want to succeed more and more.”

The Wildcats stamped their imprint on the game from the start. SWR scored touchdowns on its first five possessions. Arline tossed TD passes to Jake Wilson and Mike Casazza before running for three himself. After the Casazza score, Seaford fumbled the kickoff. Anthony Giordano came up with the ball, giving SWR possession at the Seaford 7-yard line. Two plays later, Arline was in the end zone.

Not long after, Arline turned in some long scoring runs. He zig-zagged and followed blockers on a 51-yard excursion to the end zone, but his most impressive dash of his 177-yard first half was a 67-yarder down the left side with 5 minutes, 35 seconds left in the second quarter that, following Jake Ekert’s extra point, made it 35-0.

Arline, who ran for 265 yards (the sixth-most ever in a Long Island championship game since the series started in 1992) on 25 carries, broke free for a 54-yard TD run in the third quarter before David Tedesco (12 carries, 86 yards) added a 29-yard scoring run in the fourth.

Asked about his video-game moves, Arline said, “As soon as I break through the first level, I just let my instincts do the rest.”

Arline finished the year with 41 rushing TDs, 2,332 rushing yards, 11 passing TDs and 1,237 yards through the air.

“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen,” Tedesco said. “He makes everyone around him better.”

SWR was 29 seconds away from a shutout when Logan Masters, on a play-action pass, found Craig Ackerman for an 8-yard TD pass.

SWR dominated against a Seaford team that had outscored opponents, 357-89, with five shutouts. Seaford’s sole loss — 44-6 to Cold Spring Harbor on Oct. 5 — was the only time the Vikings had allowed more than 14 points in a game. Until Saturday, that is.

The Wildcats racked up 406 yards to Seaford’s 192.

Shoreham-Wading River’s Xavier Arline, left, and Robert McGee celebrate their victory over Seaford. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Seaford showed its respect for Arline’s running ability on the opening kickoff. Rather than kick to Arline, Joe Cain struck an onside kick that SWR’s Chris Visintin fell on. The Wildcats were off and running.

“We tried to come out the first play and just stop it there,” Kiely said. “It was all us the rest of the game.”

SWR might have had cause for concern when Arline came up limping after he was sacked late in the second quarter, but he remained in the game.

SWR’s defense was led by Casazza (12 tackles).

“This was our final goal and now we can finally relax,” Tedesco said. “We met the goal.”

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