Friday, 15 October 2010 00:00
The battle of the 5- and 6-year-old Braves came down to the final drive of the game. When the dust settled after the final play, linebacker Jason Pacelli had stopped Bellmore’s rusher at the two-yard line, giving the Syosset Braves a hard-fought, three touchdown to two touchdown victory over the Bellmore Braves.
Possibly rusty after a bye week, or maybe missing key player Luke Citron, the Syosset side found itself in an early two-touchdown hole. However, as the first half wound down, Syosset stormed back on long, cutting touchdown runs by Robert Trapeo and Ari Regev to tie the game. Syosset maintained the momentum in the second half, taking the lead as Nicholas Macchia found the end zone on a nifty run. Then, with the game on the line, the Syosset defense locked down and held Bellmore scoreless for the balance of the game, including an impressive game-ending four play goal line stand. Trapeo anchored the final stand, with Pacelli making the game-saving tackle. Tyler Joe, Syosset’s quarterback, led an efficient offense.
However, this game was determined at the line, and, for another game, Syosset’s line controlled both sides of the ball with contributions from all of Ryan DeRiggi, Ethan Hart, Kyle Joe, Avery Kurtzer, Jack LaBianca, Bryce Newman, Ron Regev, Brad Shepard, Ryan Voight, David Wang and Blake Weingarten. The team thanks cheerleaders Hannah Bass, Emily Chite, Laura Castrogiovanni, Jamie Kurtz, Mandi Kurtz, Emily Goldman, Sydney Grishman, Lara Kitogrod, Sydney Lesnick, Anna Macchia, Anita Macchia, Devyn Newman, Grace Romano and Hannah Romano for traveling to Bellmore to support the team, with their cheers negating Bellmore’s home field advantage. Syosset returns to Bellmore this Friday, for a game under the lights against Bellmore’s second five-and-six-year olds’ team.
The ten-year Syosset Braves continue to play strong football, as they’ve run their winning streak up to three wins in a row with a well deserved 30-19 victory over the Franklin Square Warriors at Syosset-Woodbury Park.
Syosset took the opening kick-off down the field with a solid running game that would ultimately set the tone for the day. As they were moving towards end zone, running back Dominick Speranza uncharacteristically fumbled the ball which led to a Franklin Square score that put the Braves in a 6-0 hole. Looking back, the Warriors probably shouldn’t have done that, as it only made the Syosset running back mad. Speranza took over the rushing attack after that, scoring three times in the first half including a 60+ yard sprint on the last play of the first half that demoralized the visitors and put the Braves up 18-6.
Like any good football team, the Braves drew strength from the boys in the trenches, the offensive line. Led once again by Andrew Harris, Daniel Morales, Shawn Connell, James Nelson, Zach Trakas and Ethan Greenfield the Braves completely owned the line of scrimmage and ran the ball at will. Their hard work allowed quarterback Tyler Parlo to successfully lead the Braves down the field drive after drive.
Running back Christopher Belmonte led the way on virtually every carry. His crushing block on the last touchdown of the first half set off a chain reaction, leaving multiple defenders on the ground looking like they’d been hit by a truck and ensuring that no one touched the Syosset running backs.
The starting defense was at their best, and have proven that they are up to any challenge. The defensive line swarmed to ball at the snap. Matthew Conforti and Niklas Brancato, both first-year players, have matured before the coaching staff’s eyes and did not give an inch fighting the Franklin Square offensive line. When they needed a breather, Ricky Danyko stepped in and played up to the level the Braves needed. Brendon Moran, another first-year player, has been a mainstay as defensive end and did not allow the Warriors to get the edge and kept everything inside, thereby preventing any big plays.
Morales had his most complete game of the year. He made several tackles behind the line of scrimmage for big losses and pumped the home crowd up when he blocked a Franklin Square extra point, sending a thud through the air and deflating the Franklin Square fans.
Syosset linebackers, including Speranza and Belmonte, dominated the action. Tommy Rooney has developed into the Braves secret weapon. Having a 65-plus touchdown called back earlier in the game only seemed to motivate him to greater heights. Knowing the only hope for the Warriors was to throw the ball, Rooney covered the Warriors slot receiver step for step down the field making a highlight reel interception that had the opposition shaking their heads.
After a Syosset turnover gave the Warriors the ball inside the Braves five yard-line, linebacker Stephen Conte stepped up and made the play of the game on defense. As the Warriors running back headed towards the goal line, cornerback Michael Andre seemingly came out of nowhere to turn the play inside, which allowed Belmonte to blast the runner separating the ball from the ball carrier. As the ball squirted around, Conte scooped it up and motored down the field for a 90-yard touchdown that ignited the Syosset faithful. Conte later followed that play up with another long touchdown run that had him weaving through the defense as they grasped at air.
As always, there is a play that sets up the big play and prior to Conte’s fumble recovery, Zach Elicks made a great open field tackle that not only stopped a sure touchdown ,but probably had the Franklin Square coaching staff run the next play towards Andre, Belmonte and Conte. Elicks is making the most of his playing time and is an asset to the defensive backfield. Anthony Mastino, Walter Henry, Patrick Conklin and Tristan Singer played with tenacity and made sure the Warriors never threatened.
Max Izakson, playing in his first full game of the year, allowed the Syosset coaching to feel comfortable with its kicking game as he booted kick after kick deep into Franklin Square territory, not allowing a single drive to begin in Syosset territory. He also played a stout defensive tackle.
Dean Marx and Bobby Kidd were clearly ready for the passing game of Franklin Square as they stuck to any receiver they saw and refused to allow anyone to beat them down the field. Kidd turned numerous plays inside and showed his speed at running back with a nifty move to the outside that turned the corner and picked up positive yards. Marx threw his body all over the field and made one of the days finest runs on a critical third down, picking up the game-sealing first down and was an ankle tackle away from breaking it for a touchdown.