Midget Gray defeated Brentwood in the opening game of the season, Sunday, 18-13.
Gray showed they were ready to play, scoring early in the first quarter. Behind great blocking by the offense, including Chris Celentani, Brett Tom, Michael Inglese, Paul Altaro, Chris Bauer, Joe Labruyere, Brandon Lorensop, and Michael Drossos, Quarterback Tom Celentani threw a 27 yard pass to Ronnie Modik, who ran it for Gray's first touchdown, making the score 6-0. Gray missed the extra point. Two possessions later, Gray continued to drive the ball down the field. A 40 yard run by Chris Brumber set up a touchdown by Jack Lang, bringing the score to 12-0.
In the second quarter, Gray's defense, led by Chris Staub, Chris Brumber, Tom Celentani, Ronnie Cardno, Kyle Kriner, Joe Fiore, Joe Cuccaro, Nick Barber, and Chris Celentani, continued to dominate the game. Gray's offense was able to score again when Modik caught another pass for his second touchdown of the game. With only a few minutes remaining in the first half, Matt Burmeister, Ronnie Modik, Chris Brumber, and Jack Lang were pulled from the game due to the 18 point rule. Brentwood was able to score on its next possession, making the score 18-7 at the end of the first half.
The second half was a defensive battle with Brentwood scoring in the fourth quarter, making the final score 18-13.
Special mention goes to Joe Fiore and Paul Altaro for fumble recoveries and to Craig Staub and Joe Cuccaro for great tackling.
Unable to play in the game were Michael Cheshire, Danny Dowd, Dennis Lawrence, and C.J. Reilly. The team hopes to have these boys back when they face North Babylon on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Levittown Pony White began their season with a rousing 28-0 win over the West Babylon Eagles, and showed their opponents that they are definitely a team to be reckoned with.
Sunday night's home opener had the hometown crowd on its feet from the kickoff. Although the Eagles won the toss to start on offense, it took the Devils only four tackles from the defensive line to gain possession of the ball.
Determination by the Eagles' defense stopped the Devils from scoring on their first possession but the Devils' hard hitting game was not easily discouraged. Back on the defense, the "Big D," consisting of Frank Draghi, Anthony Hyde, James Pagliocca, Robbie Moran, Bobby Forgione, Chris Rogienski, Alex Torrella, Alex Zic, Brian Meredith, Scott Neal, Joe Martino, Don-Mario St. Paul, and Gabe Macias, was able to push the opponents back into the end zone, with a key sack by Joe Ciaravino, where a snap out of the end zone put the Devils on the board 2-0 with the safety.
The second quarter brought little relief for the Eagles. Marching down the field with exceptional quarterbacking by Scott Collier and outstanding blocking by Rob Vitale, Brian Gilmartin, Tyler Lauer and Mike Nuzzi, a beautifully executed pass by Collier into the hands of speedy receiver Mark Sniffen put the Devils within scoring distance. With one big push by the offensive line the Devils scored the first touchdown of the season, courtesy of Ciaravino. Running in the extra point, Vinny Panarelli brought the score to 9-0.
Closing in on halftime, the Devils never let up. Key tackles by Panarelli and Nuzzi stopped the Eagles from any major gain. The Devils ended their first half with a crushing tackle by Ciaravino for a two yard loss followed by another hammer hit by Forgione for an additional yard loss, leaving their opponents scoreless at the half.
The second half "fireworks" began with a crowd-pleasing 30 yard run by Panarelli for touchdown number two. Taking in the extra point, Pagliocca made it 16-0 by the end of the third quarter.
Despite the big lead, there was no slowing down the Devils. With great tackles by Chris Callahan and Chris Rogienski, the Devils were back on offense. A well-timeed pass from Collier to the agile Sniffen gave the Devils another first down, setting up a whopping 48 yard run by James Pagliocca for touchdown number three and a 22-0 lead.
After an amazing 50 yard kick by Rob Vitale, the defense took over once again. Effective tackling by linemen Diaz, Moran, Macias, Torrellas, Martino, St. Paul, Neal, Meredith, and Callahan, compounded by two final crushing tackles by Ciaravino and Forgione forced the Eagles to punt.
Regaining the possession at their own 30 yard line, the Devils' Frank Draghi found the hole for an awesome 30 yard run into the end zone, scoring touchdown number four and making the final score 28-0.
In spite of extended injury delays and a big lead, Pony White never lost their drive and determination. Effective coaching by Mark Sniffen, Ken Moran, Phil Ciaravino, Joe Panarelli, Kim Torrellas, and Larry Collier helped put this season opener in the winners column.
On Sunday, Sept. 10, Pee Wee Gray traveled to Syosset to open their 2000 season. From the first player arrival, through the weigh-ins and the warm ups, everyone could tell that this team was pumped and ready to play.
The only thing Gray lost in this game was the coin flip. Gray, starting on defense, used a defensive line consisting of Anthony Ciaramitaro at left end, Bryan Verbitsky at right end, and a constant rotation of Chris Nickel, Nicky Bristoll, Bryan Peterson, Damian Calderon, Mike James, and Zack Trimboli at the guard and tackle positions. The linebackers were George Athan, Joey Leonard, and Mike Rakitzis. The safeties were Timmy Michels and David Grecsek. From the first defensive stand it was evident that Gray's defense was going to be a stubborn, unbreakable unit. The only way to describe how this game went for Gray's defense was something called three and out. Football fans know what this means.
Gray only gave up two first downs in the game. They surrendered their only touchdown late in the third quarter when the game was out of reach. Whenever Syosset attempted to run up the middle they were stopped by the defensive line and the aggressive play by middle linebacker Joey Leonard. When they attempted to run outside they were pursued by the fleet-footed ends of Ciaramitaro and Verbitsky and the endless pursuit of linebackers Athan and Rakitzis and safeties Michels and Grecsek. The defense was led by right end Verbitsky, with three tackles, left end Ciaramitaro, with three tackles, and middle linebacker Leonard, with three tackles. Chris Nickel, who moved from his right guard position to left end in the fourth quarter, also pitched in with a great tackle on a reverse run by Syosset.
The offense ran like a finely tuned machine. The offensive line consisted of the same players as the defensive line except that Dakota Bransfield was inserted at the center position. Bransfield is a first year player whose hustle and hard work in practice earned him the all-important starting center position. Gray's starting backfield consisted of Quarterback Verbitsky and running backs Ciaramitaro, Leonard, and Michels. On Gray's first possession on the offense they tested the waters by running Leonard up the middle for three yards. Gray then used Ciaramitaro to break off a 13 yard gain around the left end. Gray then went back to Leonard who was stopped for no gain. Quarterback Verbitsky tossed a pitch to running back Ciaramitaro who again went around end and broke off a 52 yard run for a touchdown and a lead that Gray would never surrender.
It was an outstanding effort by all. The offense was led by Ciaramitaro, with four rushes for 148 yards and two touchdowns; Verbitsky, with seven rushes for 156 yards and three touchdowns; and Leonard with nine rushes for 74 yards and one touchdown. This offense could not have been accomplished without the effective blocking by Peterson, Nickel, Trimboli, Bristoll, Athan, Rakitzis, Grecsek, Calderon, and James, who were mainstays on the offensive line. A great job was also done by the first-year center, Bransfield. It was a great team effort.
The team's parents, fans, and sponsor, the Ultimate Gym in Hicksville, would like to congratulate the boys on a great game and the first victory of the season.
The next game is this Sunday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m., at home against Copiague. Come out and cheer the team on. Let's go Gray!