Sports

The 2007 Vikings football season started out cautiously optimistic as the Vikings faithful hoped for a second consecutive year in the Conference 1 playoffs. After a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the opener against Hicksville, the boys in blue lost in overtime the following week against Plainview JFK. Things became a little bleaker as the Vikings lost perennial all-sport, all-county player, Jeff "The Hammer" Froccaro and Freeport loomed on the horizon. Port had a solid effort at Freeport's homecoming game remaining close until the fourth quarter. As the grim reaper loomed over the boys' season, the following week against Syosset the team pulled together under a wide open offense instituted by Coach Case. Gunslinger QB Mike McCabe connected with receivers Chris Ryder, James Lopilato, and Zach Ross, picking apart Syosset's secondary for another dramatic last minute win. The following weeks proved easy for the Vikings as the trounced Valley Stream Central and Oceanside.

Headed by Line Coach Joe Simeone, the offensive and defensive line of Joe Bick, Nick Omeltchenko, Tyler Fernandez, Jeremy Gurewitz, Ryan Castro, and Jason Arias, having been playing smash mouth football controlling the lines of scrimmage and opening up holes for Steven "Bonecrusher" Kaufman who seems to just run opponents over. Backs and D-backs Coach Kris Oker can only smile as wingbacks Danny Sirotkin, Zach Ross, and James Lopilato came out of the backfield at crucial times to pile up yards.

On Oct. 26, Port had its Friday Night Lights game, but unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. Sporadic rain showers made for tough playing conditions. Tyler Fernandez and Danny Schacter came up big with key turnovers for the Vikings' defense. Once again Steven Kaufman plowed into the end zone to tie the game at 7 after Larry "Bagman" Baglio recovered a fumble in Long Beach's half of the field. The game moved on, tied at 7, as neither team could get much offense due to a slick field and a slick ball.

During the final quarter, the Port faithful held its breath as Port fumbled, but Kyle Lewis stripped the ball back from Long Beach and recovered the ball for Port. With Coach Bill Getchell making the calls, the Vikings defense shut down the Marines, giving up no offensive points for four quarters. As time wound down and the score tied, Ryan Castro came up with a huge interception setting up Zach Ross, who came in to kick a 30-yard field goal as time was running out and Port's playoff chances hung in the balance. Kicker Ross turned in a clutch performance, splitting the uprights for a 10-7 victory leaving the Big Blue with a 5-2 record and heading for the playoffs.

A big special thanks to Lisa Calenda and Annmarie Kaufman for their hard work with the Port Booster Club which made the season fun as well as successful. Photos provided by Brian Calenda.


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