Strong wind gusts caused American flags at Miller Place High School to snap wickedly Friday night. It was another force, though, that had an even greater impact.
The Shoreham-Wading River football team whipped up another winner, blowing past Miller Place, 41-0, all the scoring coming in the first half. That result followed a season-opening 61-7 demolition of Amityville and a 28-0 defeat of Mount Sinai.
Another test taken. Another test passed — with flying colors.
What does this do to SWR’s league title chances?
“It shows us that we can play and we’re going to work our [butts] off to get there,” tight end/outside linebacker Dylan Kiely said. “This is a solid team and we showed what we could do against a good team.”
SWR’s 10th straight win (dating back to its 2019 Long Island Class IV championship season), could be viewed as its last serious test to the Suffolk County League VII championship. The Wildcats do, however, have remaining games at Islip April 3 and at home versus Bayport-Blue Point on April 9 to close out their five-game regular season.
“I’d say this gives us a good boost because everyone had a lot of energy tonight and it just gives us momentum going forward,” said Max Barone, a junior who ran for two touchdowns, caught a pass for another TD and made two interceptions.
Miller Place (1-1, 1-1) was its own worst enemy at times. Teams cannot afford to make many mistakes against the Wildcats. A good team will capitalize on that, and SWR is certainly a good team.
SWR scored its first 21 points off three turnovers. Miller Place committed four turnovers altogether, and other miscues cost the Panthers as well. The Wildcats scored TDs on six straight first-half possessions.
A Jake Wilson interception set up the first of Chris Visintin’s three TD passes, a 32-yard connection he zipped to Johnny Schwarz to open the scoring.
The second quarter brought the rest of the TDs. Barone ran in two TDs, sandwiched around one by David Tedesco. A Jeffrey Lachenmeyer fumble recovery and Barone’s first pick of the season set up the first two of those.
Miller Place quarterback Justin Klein executed a quick kick on fourth down that struck the back of one of his linemen. The ball ricocheted behind Klein before Lachenmeyer fell on it. Four plays later, Visintin (7-for-10, 96 yards) found Jake Wilson for a 13-yard TD.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Panthers watched Jake Ekert’s kickoff land on the turf, but none of them touched the ball before SWR’s Daniel Mercado covered it up. That led to Visintin’s 16-yard flip to Barone for a score with 36.8 seconds left in the first half.
Dylan Zahn relieved Visintin midway through the third quarter.
The SWR defense held Miller Place to 147 yards of offense and the SWR offense didn’t turn the ball over once while compiling 319 yards and 17 first downs.
“We had almost eleven hats on the ball every single tackle,” said Lachenmeyer.
SWR coach Aden Smith said: “I think for the most part we kept our heads. We maintained a clear, level-headed focus and we just executed. Everybody did their job.”
That included Barone, who has three TD runs and three TD catches to his credit this season.
“I feel like I was able to have a strong performance because my teammates all did their parts,” he said. “Everyone works hard.”
What Smith likes about Barone is that he “comes with a work hat on. He doesn’t have a real big ego. He’s a worker, and he always looks to improve.”
Meanwhile, one doesn’t need an anemometer to determine the direction the wind is blowing these days. It’s blowing in SWR’s favor.