Friday, 26 October 2012 00:00
The Mineola Mustang football program is off to an excellent start this season. The varsity and JV records both stand at 4-2 and the middle school team is 1-0 after dominating their first two scrimmage games as of Oct. 18.
The varsity team has won three of its last four games after an opening day loss to Valley Stream North. The Mustangs came into the season as the 11th seed in a 12-team conference.
With the majority of the team as underclassmen the expectations in the league were not that high. In week one, due to all their inexperience, the Mustangs did not perform that well. After the first loss, they really turned things around.
They came out in week two and defeated a very tough East Rockaway team 14-8, holding the lead the whole way. At homecoming, the boys had an exciting 19-12 upset victory over sixth seeded Locust Valley. They came back to win after being down 12-6 going in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs then lost a close game to Clarke High School. After the Mustangs scored twice to make it 14-13 in the fourth quarter, the Clarke punt returner made a spectacular 60 yd punt return for a TD to give Clarke the victory. The Mustangs didn’t let that get them down as they came back the next week and defeated Cold Spring Harbor 21-14 in the night game at Hampton Stadium, highlighted by a game-winning goal line stand with time running out and Cold Spring on the Mustang three-yard line.
After Brian Gaffney made two big tackles on second and third down, defensive end Anthony Caruso stuffed the Cold Spring Harbor running back behind the line as the rest of the defense joined in to seal the victory. The following week the Mustangs defeated The Mules of Malverne by a score of 28-6 to bring their record to 4-2.
The Mineola team has had many excellent performances this year. The offensive line of Caruso, Tom Behan, Juan Gulinao, Christian Martin, Matt Barroca and Edien Hincapie has been terrific all year as the Mustang ground game has led the way for the offense gaining over 1,000 yards in the first six games.
Senior co-captain Gaffney is having a tremendous year on offense and defense. He has rushed for over 700 yards, which includes his 248 yards and 2 TDs against Malverne. He has also completed passes for touchdowns and extra points, intercepted two passes and is one of the teams leading tacklers.
Junior qauarterback and co-captain Vinny Bienick is also having an excellent year as he steps in to replace last years All-County signal-caller Rob Clarkin. He has completed 40 passes for 545 yards and 8 TDs and rushed for 160 yards and 2 TDs. Vinny has really stepped up in a leadership role, which has had a very positive effect on this team. Running back/receivers (and blockers for Gaffney) Matt Long has six catches for 100 yards and 2 TDs, Ryan Eccher 4 catches for 55 yards and 1 TD, Lorenzo Gulinao and Mike Sullivan also have been doing a great job. Sullivan has been kicking off and kicking extra points along with returning kickoffs to really help the team.
Wide receivers Bob Rogers has 18 catches for 201 yards and 5 TDs, Tevin Carlo two catches for 30 yards and Justin Oommen three catches for 85 yards and 1 TD have also done well catching passing and blocking down field on sweeps and options. Senior Rohit Singla also contributes on offense and defense along with special teams.
Defensively, the team is led by sophomore middle linebacker Ryan Eccher’s 72 tackles. The other linebackers Matt Long has 47 tackles, Gulinao with 25 tackles, and Oommen 27 tackles and 3 sacks have also played very tough on defense.
The defensive line has really held up the defense this year. Defensive ends Tom Behan, Leo Gorry and Edien Hincapie have played very well, while defensive tackles Tim Natale, Matt Diaz, Caruso, and Danny Mendes have been tremendous in the middle controlling the line of scrimmage. Defensive backs Rogers, Gabe Echeverry, Gaffney, Tevin Carlo and Rohit Singla have also done well. Patrick Lynch, Jacob Escobar, Zach Vega, Mike Giaimo, Bruno Benitez, Keanu Hines, Milandip Toor, and Gabe Anjo have played key roles on offenses and defense and have been very important to this team’s success.
The next Mustang match is Friday, Oct. 26 at Island Trees to finish the regular season.