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10/22/16 5:16pm
10/22/2016 5:16 PM


It had become tradition for the Shoreham-Wading River football team to enter the field in two single-file lines, a quiet march toward the sideline with two captains leading the group by carrying the No. 54 flag in honor of Thomas Cutinella.

The solemn procession continued into this year before each game until the team decided to shake things up last week. Rather than the subdued walk, the team decided for a more customary charge onto the field with one player running with the flag as if leading an army into battle.

“Everybody was fired up,” said senior Ethan Wiederkehr. “It’s just a new tradition we’re starting. It gives us some fire.”

Shoreham coach Matt Millheiser said after the team’s loss to John Glenn in Week 5, the coaches talked to the players about changing some things.

“The kid got together and that’s what they came up with,” Millheiser said. “They seemed to be fired up.”

The Wildcats made it 2-0 since starting the new tradition with a 47-0 homecoming victory Saturday over Bayport-Blue Point at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field. The Wildcats picked up right where they left off after last week’s pivotal win over Miller Place that propelled the team back into the No. 2 spot in the Division IV power rankings.

The unseasonably warm weather of the past week gave way to a more October-like temperature and a steady rain fell throughout the first half, but it hardly tempered the Wildcats’ spirits.

“It’s a special experience — homecoming,” Wiederkehr said. “Especially with the beautiful field and everything the community’s done here. It’s really special.”

The wet conditions wreaked havoc on the Phantoms, who have had a down year after reaching the semifinals of the playoffs last year before losing to Shoreham. The Wildcats scored two touchdowns off Bayport miscues by recovering a ball in the end zone, one on a bad snap, the other on a blocked punt. The Wildcats also scored a safety and nearly had another one late in the game, but the officials conferred and decided the Bayport player was down at the 2 before being driven into the end zone.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, kept to the same formula that has worked all year: get the ball into the hands of Chris Gray. The senior running back scored four touchdowns, bringing his season total to 19. He scored so quickly that his fourth score came just over a minute into the second quarter.

The game became lopsided so early, the Wildcats didn’t need Gray after that.

Gray scored on runs of 35, 63, 45 and 62, pushing him to over 200 rushing yards for the game in just over one quarter.

It seems every time Gray touches the ball, there’s a chance he can break a touchdown run.

“Running behind the line I have, I have full confidence every time I get the ball,” Gray said. “I’m running behind guys like Ethan, Dan Curtin, Dean Stalzer. It’s likely.”

The Wildcats came into the game with their roster at its healthiest point since the season opener against Center Moriches. With one game left in the regular season, at Hampton Bays Friday, it couldn’t come at a better time as Shoreham tries to defend its Long Island title.

Stalzer, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound tackle who missed about a month of the season, provides some crucial experience and muscle on both ends of the ball.

“He’s been through the battles, and he knows what it takes to get it done,” Millheiser said. “Some of the guys that filled in did a great job and they’re going to be great players for us. But he’s been through the fire before. There’s no substitute for that.”

Nick Serdock, a senior left tackle, who was injured in Week 2, is back to full strength. Quarterback Kevin Cutinella, who was playing through an ankle injury, is feeling better as well, Millheiser said.

“The healthier we get and the harder we work, we got a shot,” Millheiser said. “We’re still in this.”

Babylon’s 14-0 win over Glenn last night should solidify the undefeated Panthers as the No. 1 seed in Division IV. The Wildcats (5-2) will likely end up as either the No. 2 or No. 3 and will host at least one playoff game.

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Photo caption: The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats charge onto the field for their final regular season home game Saturday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

11/01/13 1:00pm
11/01/2013 1:00 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy running back Reggie Archer carries the ball against Babylon Oct. 25, which turned out to be the final game of the season for the Monarchs.

The McGann-Mercy football team’s final game of the regular season tonight at Southampton was abruptly canceled this morning, according to Mercy athletic director John Lonardo and head coach Jeff Doroski.

It was Southampton’s decision to forfeit the game, which will go down as Mercy’s first win of the season.

Lonardo said he received a call last night from Southampton’s athletic director about the possibility of a forfeit. This morning, Mr. Lonardo said he received a call confirming that the game will not be played.

“As far as I know there are no plans to play game at a future date,” he said.

Southampton High School Principal Brian Zahn told The Southampton Press that “there was an incident reported to us that we are investigating and following up on. Because of the nature of our investigation we felt it best that we just forfeit that game.”

The news came as a shock to the Monarchs, who prepared all week to face the 1-6 Mariners and were excited over the prospects of ending the season with a win.

“I feel bad for all the kids involved,” Doroski said. “The seniors miss out on an opportunity to play their last high school football game.”

Word began to spread among the players this morning via text messages and phone calls, Doroski said. The team plans to meet at 3 p.m. today for a final meeting and to collect equipment. Doroski said they might take the players out for a night of bowling and pizza.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on over there.”

After a thrilling run to the Division IV semifinals last year in the playoffs, the Monarchs couldn’t catch a break this year as a difficult schedule and injuries paved the way to an 0-7 start. As practice began this week, Doroski told the players that nothing else matters from this point as they prepared to try to win their final game.

“For the seniors that would be something they remember,” Doroski said.

Instead, they’ll be packing their bags.

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09/20/13 9:53pm
09/20/2013 9:53 PM

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Daniel Hughes scrambles for a first down in the fourth quarter Friday night against Babylon.


If the question for Shoreham-Wading River was whether the Wildcats had bridged the gap between themselves and the upper echelon of Division IV, the Babylon Panthers delivered a swift and emphatic answer Friday night: not yet.

The defending Long Island champions, who haven’t lost a regular season game since Oct. 1, 2011, quickly put an end to the Wildcats’ night by taking a 29-0 lead in the second quarter. The Panthers (2-0) scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions and cruised to a 36-14 victory.

The silver lining for the Wildcats: they reached the end zone twice, something they hadn’t done at all in their previous two trips to Babylon.

The Shoreham touchdowns came on consecutive plays from scrimmage, both 80-yard runs. Senior Tyler Anderson scored the first, busting a run to the outside and up the sideline on the final play of the third quarter. After Babylon went three-and-out, the Wildcats struck again when junior Aaron Harley-Rey broke through the middle for an 80-yard score.

The two plays injected life back into the Wildcats’ sideline, but the score never got any closer.

At the very least, the Wildcats can leave Babylon knowing they played a tougher game than a year ago, when the Panthers dismantled Shoreham late in the season, 55-0.

Babylon’s offense Friday did most of its damage early on through the air behind quarterback Nick Santorelli. He threw 11-of-13 for 150 yards and three touchdowns. The Panthers played a lot of spread formations with four wide receivers, which also opened up some running lanes for Santorelli and halfback Eric Schweitzer.

On two passing touchdowns, the Wildcats had a defensive back in position. But both times the receiver simply went up and snatched the ball out of the air.

Ray Wardell, a 6-foot-5 receiver, easily came down with the first passing touchdown while matched up against the 5-foot-10 cornerback Mike Ingermi for Shorheam. The touchdown gave Babylon a 14-0 lead. Jake Carlock, who’s 6-2, scored the first of his two touchdowns by snagging a ball amid double coverage at the left corner of the end zone.

Wardell caught six passes to lead the receiving corps. In the second half, the Panthers abandoned the spread formations and stuck to a basic running attack.

Schweitzer scored two touchdowns on the ground to lead the rushing attack. Anderson still had a big day on the ground for Shoreham as he tallied 150 yards.

The loss dropped Shoreham to 1-14 all-time against Babylon. The Wildcats host The Stony Brook School next week.

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08/21/13 5:00pm
08/21/2013 5:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River football team will begin the season as the No. 3 seed in Division IV.

There’s definite reason for enthusiasm at training camp this year for Shoreham-Wading River. After a 6-2 regular season last year, the Wildcats advanced into the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs.

They enter this year with the core of their skill position players back on offense, including quarterback, wide receiver and running back.

But Shoreham coach Matt Millheiser knows there’s another word that can replace enthusiasm: expectations.

“It’s a double-sided coin,” Millheiser said. “It’s nice to have expectations where people believe in you enough to say, ‘Hey, they’re capable of this and that.’ But it’s also a little more pressure.”

Under Millheiser’s tutelage, the Wildcats have gotten better and better each season since 2010. Two years ago they shocked everyone by making the playoffs. Last year, it wasn’t so much a surprise when the Wildcats finished as the No. 3 seed in the division and won a first-round playoff game against The Stony Brook School.

So what’s the next step this year?

“There’s excitement in terms of getting better and making strides against the better teams in the league,” Millheiser said.

The Wildcats will begin this season where they left off last year: third in Division IV. The preseason rankings list Shoreham behind Babylon and Mount Sinai, the two mainstays of D-IV. Babylon won the Class IV Long Island championship last year.

As the Wildcats begin their first official practices this week, one of the early question marks centers around the offensive line.

“It’s trying to find the right fit, making sure that we all find the best place to put them to help the team,” Millheiser said. “Obviously, there’s always competition and battles on the field but the main thing is settling that offensive line.”

However the line shapes up, it will undoubtedly have one of the top runners in the division behind it in senior Tyler Anderson. A four-year varsity player, Anderson put up huge numbers last year. He finished the season with 18 touchdowns.

Millheiser fully expects another huge season from Anderson, who also plays linebacker. Now he’s looking to see him as a bigger leader on the team.

“When times get tough and things get a little shaky on the field, I’m going to expect a little more leadership,” Millheiser said. “Not just from what he says, but how he acts in a role that people will get behind him and follow him.”

The Wildcats return junior quarterback Danny Hughes and wide receiver Isreal Squires, who teamed up for some highlight reel plays last year. While the Wildcats will still be a run-first team, Hughes should get plenty of chances to find the speedster Squires on passing routes.

“I would say you’re going to see us utilize Izzy and Danny’s skills a little bit more this year,” Millheiser said. “We have some known quantities in terms of weapons this year that we definitely weren’t aware we had at the start of last year.”

With a 29-man roster on the varsity to start the season, the Wildcats will face a challenging preseason schedule to prepare for the season. Their first scrimmage features Sachem East, Miller Place, Smithtown West and West Babylon. They’ll play a game scrimmage against Half Hollow Hills East.

Millheiser said one notable change to the coaching staff this year is the addition of Tom Fabian, who was the JV head coach last year. He’ll coach on the varsity this year as the defensive coordinator, while also coaching the receivers and defensive backs.

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