Written by Nick Palma Friday, 08 October 2010 00:00
Eyes were struck wide open in shock on Friday night, Sept. 24, when the Mineola Mustangs defeated the North Shore Vikings 29-26 in an upset for the ages. Going into the game, North Shore was ranked 4th in the Conference as Mineola was an extreme underdog standing at 12th.
There’s something different about this team than last years and it mainly comes from the high confidence level this team has brought in with its first year varsity players. A majority of the team is still developing, consisting of all juniors.
A bulk of the load has been put on the backs of quarterback Rob Clarkin, running back Steve Napolitano, and wide receiver/tight end Nico Pantelides. Even though a great amount of pressure has been put on these three juniors, they have taken it in as a confidence booster as they have shined on the field so far in this young season.
Early in the first quarter, Steve Napolitano threw a 20-yard pass touchdown to Tom Breslin to put the Mustangs up 7-0. North Shore would tie the game on a 70-yard interception touchdown and the game would stay that way until the second quarter.
As Mineola was sustaining a drive in the second quarter, Rob Clarkin found Nico Pantelides deep down the field as he threw a perfect pass where Pantelides made an outstanding one-handed catch for a 25-yard touchdown. The Vikings’ Nick Caperelli found daylight on a 25-yard rushing touchdown, but the team failed to convert the point-after-attempt (PAT), where the score was 14-13 Mustangs by halftime.
After a 1-yard rushing touchdown by North Shore in the fourth quarter, Mustang everyman Napolitano would answer right back as he found a hole on the kickoff return for 75-yards to bring Mineola ahead once again at 20-19. After a successful 2-point conversion (Pantelides pass from Clarkin), the game was now 22-19 as the fourth quarter was about halfway done.
With about four minutes remaining in the game, Mineola found themselves down 26-22, so they had to put up one of its most important drives of the season. Clarkin wound up hitting Nico Pantelides on a 60-yard pass touchdown to put Mineola up 29-26 after a successful PAT.
Rob Clarkin finished the game with 140 passing yards and 2 TD’s as his favorite target, Nico Pantelides, had 113 receiving yards and 2 TD’s. Running Back Steve Napolitano had a career day racking up a combined total of over 300 yards (250 rushing) including a passing touchdown and return touchdown. To get footage of the game, simply go on msgvarsity.com to catch interviews of Mineola’s top performers and highlights.