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Oct. 3 Marked Halfway Point of Regular Season for Syosset Braves Football

As hard as it is to believe, the regular season is already halfway done. The mighty Braves had a great day on Sunday, Oct. 3 and due to the weather cooperating, the team finally had football weather as they took to the field. The 6-year-old team was lucky enough to have the week off, but here is what happened with the rest of the teams.

Seven-Year-Olds

The 7-year-olds played their fourth game of the season up against a very big and strong Bellmore team. On a cold autumn morning, team captains Daniel Greenfield and Ryan Liechtenstein, as well as the rest of the team were ready for the challenge. The team started out on offense and put a good drive together, led by quarterback #17 Joseph Doria. The Braves scored their first possession with a great run by #12 Ari Chananya. The extra point was made by the team’s toughest runner, #3 Chris Harris. The score was 7-0, Syosset.

Bellmore came right back and scored on their next possession, but they missed the extra point. 7-6 Syosset. On the next drive, the Braves scored on another long run by #21 “Speedy” Matt McPhee. They went into the half 13-6. In the second half, the defense gave it their all, led by #28 “Do Everything” Jayson Singer, but it seemed that the Bellmore team was a little too big for the boys to handle. Bellmore scored three touchdowns on broken tackles. The final score was Bellmore 25, Syosset 13.

Eight-Year-Olds

The 8-year-olds had a serious opponent in the Uniondale team, as they faced off at the home field. The team never quite got into their groove, and Uniondale managed to score just a few times too many. At the end of the day, it was Uniondale victorious with a score of 20 to 7.

Nine-Year-Olds

The 9-year-old football team traveled to Bellmore for a Friday night match-up with the Bellmore Braves. The Bellmore Braves came into the game with an undefeated record and in first place in the standings. However, the Syosset Braves were the Braves that came out on top on this night. Syosset got on the board first on a touchdown run by Jack Rooney. The Bellmore Braves answered right back to tie the game at 6. Syosset again marched the ball down the field on big runs from Ryan Lebson, Michael Mesbah and Richie Whigham. This time, Rooney broke loose for a 40-yard touchdown run, and with the extra point, Syosset went up 13-6. Bellmore got the ball back just before the half and promptly started to march down the field. But with time running down, Steven Fanelli came from his defensive line position to make a huge tackle to preserve the 13-6 Syosset halftime lead.

Bellmore struck first in the second half with an impressive touchdown drive to tie the score at 13. But behind the offensive line of Jacob Katz, Albert Shabaev, Andrew Giovinco, Matt Majoy and center Joe Cawley, Syosset again drove the ball down the field. This time, with some great blocks from receivers Anthony Celauro, Michael Koestner and Alex DeRiggi, Mesbah, Whigham, Lebson and Rooney ran the ball down the field for another touchdown. Bellmore tried to answer back but the defense of Nicky Carchietta, Anthony Nacarrato, Cawley, Daniel Shapiro, Ryan Ditkoff, Ethan Hammer, Jason Yacavone, Andrew Bonapace, Hamza Malik, Luke Sacco, Dylan Hein, Patrick Schnell, Max Inoff, Moiz Zaidi, Anthony Iraggi and Ian Samide, helped the Syosset Braves get the stop they needed. Rooney then ran in another touchdown, his 4th touchdown of the game, and with Mesbah adding the extra point on a nifty run, the Syosset Braves had knocked off the first place team in the Nassau County “A” division 27-13. The team wants to thank their cheerleaders who came out and supported them with great cheers and spirit.

Ten-Year-Olds

After scoring four touchdowns last week, the 10-year-old Braves were held to a single score against the East Rockaway Raiders, but they made it hold up in a tough and exciting 6-0 road win. After winning the coin toss, the Braves took the ball and drove it down the field, culminating with Dominick Speranza punching the ball into the end-zone on a tough ten yard run into the teeth of the Raider defense. Quarterback Tyler Parlo led the attack seamlessly, getting the ball to Syosset’s running backs time after time. Chris Belmonte, along with Speranza, led the ground game by picking up several big first downs both on the opening drive and throughout the day. Standout linemen Andrew Harris and Daniel Morales were the “go-to guys” on the ground as they led the way to the end zone by owning the line of scrimmage. Whenever Syosset needed a tough yard, they were up to the challenge. Centers Zach Trakas and Ethan Greenfield were at the top of their game, as they never had a problem with any exchange and allowed the coaching staff the ability to change the snap count, thereby keeping the Raider defense off balance.

The shutout proved that the defense clearly ruled the day. Pulling double duty, Harris and Morales, along with nose tackle Matthew Conforti, stonewalled the Raider rushing attack time after time. Linebacker Belmonte blew up several East Rockaway running plays in the backfield, not allowing the Raider running backs any space to move and, for the second week in a row, recovered a fumble. Speranza was at the top his game, making a touchdown saving deflection in the end-zone, sending a message that Syosset would not be scored upon. Niklas Brancato has given the Braves a force on the defensive line and once again did not disappoint with strong play. Ricky Danyko’s play on the defensive line has given the Braves much needed depth and end Brendon Moran has clearly developed into a tough, dependable player who has a knack for making the big play.

Corner-backs Michael Andre, Bobby Kidd and Dean Marx continued to step up and prevented the passing game from becoming a factor. Andre showed his speed and tenacity by making a touchdown-saving tackle on a misdirection play that had the Syosset fans rising from their seats. Bobby Kidd played his most complete game of the year. Kidd prevented several plays from getting to outside and blanketed any receiver attempting to get down the field. Dean Marx is becoming a vocal leader in the defensive backfield, and his physical play continues to develop. Whenever a pile was untangled, Marx seemed to be in the middle of it. Nicholas Portugal, Zach Elichs and Patrick Conklin were put into the fire and showed that they were ready when called upon.

The Braves also were fortunate to get back Max Izakson who got his first taste of action in the tightest game of the year and let the coaching staff know he is ready to play. Tristen Singer needs to be singled out for his play. Singer played several positions throughout the day, being moved around and thrown into various situations that he handled masterfully. His determination and intelligence allowed the coaching staff to make changes when necessary with the confidence that Singer could handle it.

Tommy Rooney gave a stellar effort on both offense and defense. Trapped deep in their own end, Rooney once again ripped off a 40-plus yard run and had the presence of mind to get out of bounds to stop the clock in the first half. He saved his best work for the defensive side of the ball. In the second half, the Raiders changed things up with different formations and plays in an effort to confuse the Syosset defenders, Rooney would have none of it. He stuffed multiple passing attempts and was able to force a fumble. That leads to the play of Stephen Conte, who made the two biggest plays of the young season, and if the Braves make the post-season, they can look at that sequence as the launching pad.

The Raiders got down to the Braves 7-yard line and were knocking on the door to tie the game up. On third down, the Raiders swept to Conte’s side, while fighting off a block Conte took on both the lineman and the running back, stuffed the runner and caused a fumble that “Big Play” Moran recovered. Now with the ball late in the game and near their own goal line on third down, the Braves needed a big play. Running to the left, with the crowd cheering, Conte sprinted down the sideline, making tacklers miss, for a 50-plus yard gain that took the Braves into Raider territory and effectively sealed the victory.

That big play would not have been made but for the great blocking of the left side of the line and for that, both Shawn Connell and James Nelson need to be commended. Playing in their first year and in the toughest game of the year on the road, Connell and Nelson came up huge. Left guard Connell and left tackle Nelson were responsible for not only Conte’s run, but Rooney’s also. They have gelled quickly and give the Braves a dimension they did not have last year.

The Braves missed both Anthony Mastino and Walter Henry, and look forward to getting them back next week for the game against Franklin Square.