Friday, 18 November 2011 00:00
On Sunday, Nov. 6 the 5- and 6-year-old Syosset Braves completed their successful regular season with an offensive explosion. Playing on a frost-covered field in the early morning, the Braves routed their cross-town rivals the Hicksville Crusaders five touchdowns to one touchdown.
As with most of the season, the reliable backfield tandem of Braden Sosnik and Jack LaBianca found the end zone early in the game for the Braves. Nicholas Polizotto and Matthew Donaldson added long touchdown runs of their own. But it was the Braves’ last score that would be talked about long after the game ended - Kyle Joe connected on a pass to Ethan Hart for a 60-yard touchdown reception.
Hicksville mustered a few scoring chances, only to be stymied by the Braves defense and the dominant secondary of Donaldson, Hart, LaBianca, Polizotto and Sosnik. Labianca showed the Crusaders what it means to be a Brave. On the sidelines with one play remaining in the first half, LaBianca pressed the coaches to put him back into the game. The coaches were rewarded when LaBianca chased down a Crusaders rusher after a 58-yard gain, two yards short of the end zone.
Quarterbacks Avery Kurtzer and Kyle Joe and centers Blake Weingarten and Bryce Newman ran an efficient offense and contributed up field blocks. In addition to the rushers who scored, Joe, Kurtzer, Bryce Newman, Robby Sokolski and Weingarten wore down the Crusaders’ defense with punishing runs. All game, the following Braves linemen opened holes for the rushers, and did not let the Crusaders’ rushers get into open space: Jake Cohen, Rocco Davis, Gavin Halligan, Joe, Kurtzer, Newman, Liam Pheffer, Sokolski, GianPaul, Trapeo and Weingarten.
The team thanked their cheerleaders for season-long support at both home and away games. Taylor Buongiovanni, Emily Chen, Avery Frank, Chase Frank, Sabrina Graceffa, Emmeline Kim, Elina Kim, Tiffany Mizrahi, Chloe Mizrahi, Tara Sheth, Aika Suizu, Chloe Zelenitz, and Amanda Zhang cheered clearly and loudly, and their timely and inspired cheers gave the team an edge in every game.
The team also thanked football coaches Jared Kurtzer, Brett Cohen, Anthony Joe, Scott Newman and Brett Cohen; team mom Danielle Kurtzer; and cheer coaches Akemi Suizu, Sonya Malkani and Danielle Haft, for their time and guidance.
The coaches and players also gave a special thank you to the parents and siblings who endured a long season of two-hour two-a-week practices, early morning games and away games. Good luck to the first-graders who move up a level next season, and to the kindergartners who return to the team next year with the hope of building on this year’s success.
The seven-year-olds finished off their season strong with two wins and a tie. Syosset traveled to Bellmore for a Saturday night shootout, the “Battle of the Braves.” Luke “Skywalker” Citron and Andrew “the Bus” Lenneberg provided the touchdowns by breaking tackles en route to scoring two long touchdowns each behind the strong blocking of Robert Trapeo, Nicholas Macchia, Marco Babino, Jimmy Modena, Christian Gagliano, Steven Lohan, Jason Pacelli, Ari Regev and Ryan Voight to pace the team to a 26-20 win over a talented Bellmore team.
The flawless exchanges between center Lohan and signal caller Tyler Joe kept the Syosset offense moving up and down the field. The Syosset defense played well when they had to behind the strong play of Marco Clara, Nicholas Chazotte, Citron, Jett D’Agostino, Gagliano, Lenneberg, Judson Levi, Macchia, Joe Mehran, Modena, Pacelli, Ron Regev, Trapeo, Voight and Jack Wayrich.
The Braves stayed on the road to play on the “frozen tundra” in Mineola. This was old time football as scoring came at a premium. The “Red Curtain” defense played well in the first half, holding Mineola without a score. Although the Braves moved the ball in the first half behind some nice runs by Macchia, Lenneberg and Citron, penalties proved costly as the Braves had a touchdown called back with only a few seconds left. In the second half, Citron was able to take a handoff around the right end breaking through several would be tacklers en route to a breathtaking 50-yard touchdown run. The Braves were able to hold on for a 6-6 tie against a tough Chief squad.
The Braves returned to a warm home crowd to take on the team from Inwood. They came out swinging by forcing Inwood to a three-and-out on the first drive lead. The Braves then marched down the field behind long runs by Citron and tough running by Lenneberg and Macchia. The impressive drive was capped off by a touchdown run Trapeo to the right corner of the endzone. Joe played as cool as Joe Montana at the QB position and the offensive line of Trapeo, Lenneberg, Citron, Macchia, Marco Babino, Modena, Gagliano, Lohan, and Voight had a solid game.
Citron, playing like a man possessed, made several long runs, including one for a touchdown, forced a fumble and made several strong tackles in the backfield. Macchia made a nice strip to give the Braves great field position, Trapeo had several nice tackles and a fumble recovery and the Regev twins played well on defense by making several tackles including a few for losses. All in all it was a great team effort as the Braves only gave up a few first downs and went on to shut out Inwood 14-0. The cheerleaders and great fans supported the Braves at all of their games.