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Port's playoff hopes were dealt a severe blow last Saturday by a determined Calhoun team that was looking for respectability after losing their first five games of the season. Turnovers and missed opportunities plagued the Vikings throughout the game. Calhoun outplayed Port in an old-fashioned hard-hitting ball control type of game. Vikings running backs Jason Havy and Frank Zaccherio were held to 114 yards rushing, with only 14 of those yards in the second half. Port (4-2) must now win their next two games against Elmont (4-2) and N.H. Park (4-2) to quality for one of the four play-off slots. (See Conference Standings below)

The Vikings are still poised and able to make Port football history. All they have to do is win another game. Port has not had a winning season since 1983 (5-2-1). The last time the Vikings were close was in 1995. They were (4-1) going into the last three games of the season and finished at 4-4. Port has finished 4-4 in three of the last four years.

This week Port travels to Elmont for another crucial game. The Vikings can be considered a slight favorite even though Elmont will have the home field advantage. In pre-season selections, Port was seeded eighth and Elmont, tenth. Both teams common opponents, South Side, Westbury and V.S. Central against Carey, Port won while Elmont lost.

Winning one of the next two games means more for the Vikings than just having a winning record. Also at stake is Port's football program which is bleeding for lack of participants. A winning program is a great motivator to some youngsters in deciding whether or not to play football and it encourages others to continue with the game. This team has the wherewithal to make it happen. Now it's up to each Viking to decide if they are going to make it happen.

Last Saturday's game pitted two ball control type of teams in a defensive battle. Port scored first on their second possession of the game. Starting at their own 30, Port mounted a 13 play drive that featured two successful Shkuda to Perry passes on third and fourth down situations that kept the drive alive. Frank Zaccherio capped off the drive with a 7 yard touchdown run. The PAT kick failed. Calhoun took the ensuing kickoff and eight plays later evened the score with Chicco's 24 yard touchdown run. Calhoun's two point conversion attempt failed. The first half ended in a 6-6 tie.

Calhoun received the second half kickoff and got good field position on their own 49. Nine plays later, they moved the ball to Port's 15. Here the Vikings defense stiffened and Calhoun settled for a 29 yard field goal and a 9-6 lead. A great run back on the ensuing kickoff by Jason Ham was nullified by a clipping penalty and after three plays Port was forced to punt. Calhoun moved the ball from their own 46 into Port territory. After two movement penalties Calhoun pulled off the key play of the afternoon, a screen pass that went for 50 yards and a first down on Port's 6 yard line. On the next play Calhoun's Chicco scored his second TD on a 6 yard run. The PAT was good and Calhoun led 16-6. Port's next possession was the last time they were able to move the ball beyond mid-field. Port started at their own 20, after a short gain by Zaccherio, QB Shkuda connected with Charlie Perry on a 30 yard pass that moved the ball into Calhoun territory. On the next play a charging Calhoun defense caused a Port fumble on a hand-off and a turnover. The last quarter resulted in several exchange of punts with neither team mounting a drive of any consequence. Unofficial statistics: Ham (61 yards on 18 carries), Zaccherio (54 yards on 10 carries), Shkuda (3 for 10, 74 yards, 2 interceptions), Perry (3 completions, 74 yards).

Conference Standings
As of Oct. 24
Won Lost Pwr
Garden City 6 0 141.7
Carey 4 2 128.4
N.H. Park 4 2 120.1
Hewlett 4 2 116.7
Port Wash. 4 2 115.0
Division 4 2 113.5
Elmont 4 2 110.2
Mepham 3 3 101.9
* Note: Top 8 Teams Only.
Plans are under way for a "Meet The Vikings Nite" on Friday Dec. 4. The 1998-99 Boys Varsity Basketball team will be host to youngsters including PYA, PAL, and CYO participants and give an exhibition. There will be contests and prizes included. In addition, as part of the festivities, arrangements are being worked on for an Alumni Basketball Game. All Port basketball alumni are invited. Those interested in participating are requested to contact Boys Varsity Basketball coach Jim Gilmartin (767-6795) or the writer (944-6926) for further information.

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