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Homecoming Weekend for the Syosset Youth Football and Cheerleading League

The weekend started out early Saturday morning with practice walkthroughs for several of our teams at the high school, so we would be ready to meet our competitors at our First Annual Homecoming Celebration the next day. Meanwhile, our upper level cheerleaders attended a cheerleading clinic Saturday morning at Kellenberg Memorial High School. The girls learned some new stunts which they were able to put to good use that evening as they attended the Town of Oyster Bay Cheer-Jam. Members of the Senior cheer team and the 11-year-old cheer team joined forces to perform in the exhibition portion of the jamboree. Our cheerleaders, Sabrina Bergsten, Laura Guerriero, Courtney Handel, Erin Handel, Jessica Herschman, Megan Leahy, Laurel Mallardi, Francesca Marchese, Nicole Marchese, Cristina Roselli and Kelly Terjesen put on a great show.

Sunday morning brought the nor-easter which the weather reports said was coming, but that didn’t deter the Braves. Thanks to our Commissioner Tommy Nocella and the Town of Oyster Bay Parks Department, the town band shell was maneuvered onto the field. The field was decorated by our team moms under the direction of Tina Mourelatis and Nina Terjesen; the DJ, courtesy of Upbeat Entertainment, came ready to party and so did the Braves. Running commentary for each game was provided by our own Coach Jay Morales, as well as members of the Syosset Varsity Football Team including Thomas Nocella, Doug Tesoriero and Guy Micchia. Thanks guys – you did an outstanding job!

We had the pleasure of hearing the National Anthem being sung at each game by students from the I School of Music: Courtney Scanapico sang for us at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. games; Claire Sweeney sang for us at the 12:30 p.m. game; Julia Nadjian sang for us at the 2 p.m. game and Michael Kinzelberg sang for us at the 3:30 p.m. game. All of the singers did an outstanding job. Thank you, I School of Music and your talented students. We also had the pleasure of having our very own Braves mascot Michael Castrogiovanni on the sidelines to cheer our teams on, dance with the cheerleaders and entertain the crowd. Great job, Michael!

Our concession stand was open and in full swing thanks to Chris Hein, Anthony Nocella and Doreen Nocella, selling hot chocolate and hot coffee by the bucket as well as our newly designed team sweatshirts. The concession stand helped to keep lots of our fans warm on such a cold and rainy day.

Now, here’s what happened at the games:

The 6-Year-Olds

The Syosset Braves peanut team braved the weather and played a tough game against Hempstead this past Sunday. The boys braved the elements playing in 40 degree temperatures accompanied by heavy rain. All the boys showed grit and determination coming up just short on the scoreboard 14-7. The team’s lone TD was scored by Tyson Brown. Tough yardage was gained on the ground by Owen Bunshaft, Ryan Lichtenstein, Nicholas Macchia, Robert Trapeo, Tyler Joe and Jesse Levitan. The team’s always consistent quarterback Patrick Callahan fought off numbness in his hands and distributed balls to his teammates. The defense was strong, only allowing two mistakes resulting in long touchdown runs for Hempstead. The defense was led by Brandon Gilbert and Ryan Voight making huge tackles when the team needed them most. The team’s overall effort having played a difficult team under extremely poor conditions brought out the best in the boys. They came together as a unit and exemplified teamwork. Way to go boys, you made Syosset proud!

The 7-Year-Olds

It was a freezing cold, windy, wet morning, but that did not stop the 7-year-old Braves from heating up the field and lighting up the faces of the fans on the sidelines. They played the first game of the day in the least opportune of weather conditions...their opponent, Garden City. The game started out strong with a great run by #13 John Harris, which resulted in the first touchdown. Shortly after that there was another great run and a second touchdown was scored by that same magic number 13, John Harris. The rain picked up and the wind blew stronger but that didn’t stop #29 Kent Sato. With a great run he was able to score the Braves their third touchdown of the game. Jonathon “soda machine” Morales, #59, supplied outstanding plays on defense while the offensive line composed of # 37 Matthew Vogel, #36 Manuuv Allu, #41 Sam Jaffe, #52, Michael Ackerman, #6 Dylan Trapani, #57 Derek Hammer and #3 Chris Harris provided the superior blocking which allowed the team to dominate the game. The young players were frozen and soaked to the bone, but there was fire in their hearts and they left it all out on the field that day. They won their battle against Garden City - final score 18-6.

The 8-Year-Olds

The 8-year-old Braves won a hard fought battle against Bellmore 20 - 7. Playing in really tough cold and wet conditions, the young Braves stayed strong all day. Michael Mesbah got the Braves going scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run, following a crushing block by Ryan Lebson. The defense of the Braves then held Bellmore to a 3 and out and the Braves got their offense going again. Richie Whigham had a number of nice runs, before Jack Rooney turned a Quarterback sneak into a 30-yard touchdown run. Rooney then ran in the extra point to give the Braves a 13-0 lead. The offensive line of Joe Cawley, Andrew Giovinco, Matt Majoy, Jacob Katz, Ryan Ditkoff, Aiden Adomiates, Nicky Carchietta, Daniel Shapiro, Harrison Okun, Alex DeRiggi and Nico DiGuardia did an awesome job opening up holes all day. After halftime the defense kept up its dominance. The defensive line of Stephen Fanelli, Ethan Hammer, Anthony Naccarato, Jaden Newman, Max Inoff, Jason Yacavone, and Max Matchon did a great job of not giving any ground to Bellmore. The linebackers, Richie Whigham, Ryan Lebson, Kevin Paek, Patrick Schnell made numerous tackles. The defensive secondary of Dylan Hein, Skylar Chananya, Kian Ghazvini, and Michael Mesbah all did a great job of coming up and making tackles. The Braves finished out their scoring on a long touchdown run by Jack Rooney following beautiful blocks by Ryan Lebson, Richie Whigham, and Michael Mesbah to go up 20-0. Special thanks to our cheer team for coming out in the cold: Coach Laurie Bocca, Coach Angela Bocca, Nikki Fanelli, Brooke Krugman and Cassidy Ditkoff. You girls were wonderful! The 8-year-old Braves are home, at Syosset-Woodbury Park, next week (10/25) at 12:30 p.m. come out and cheer on the Braves!

The 9-Year-Olds

Before the start of the 9-year-old game, we had the pleasure of welcoming Supervisor John Venditto, and council members Chris Coschignano, Rose Walker and Joe Pinto as well as Rebecca Alescia, Legislator candidate. Commissioner Nocella presented Supervisor Venditto and Councilman Coschignano with appreciation plaques for their hard work and commitment to youth sports.

Playing in the toughest conditions of the year on Sunday afternoon the 9-year-old Braves lost a hard fought back and forth game 20-6 to the Cardinals of Elmont. Dominick Speranza scored the Braves first touchdown of the year with some of the most punishing runs to date. He seemed to get stronger as the game wore on and helped the Braves control the ball for most of the second half. Christopher Belmonte was given the task of picking up the hard yards between the tackles and did so consistently. The offensive line clearly played their best game of the year. Led by center Ethan Greenfield, guards Andrew Harris, Daniel Ochs, and tackles Kalman Stieglitz and Daniel Morales controlled the line of scrimmage against the defensive front of Elmont. Quarterback Tyler Parlo had without a doubt the biggest play of the year with a fourth down 15-yard jaunt to keep what turned out to be the Braves scoring drive alive.

The Braves defense played extremely well but unfortunately fell prey to the big play. Middle linebacker Andrew Harris made several touchdown saving plays throughout the afternoon. Cornerbacks Dean Marx and Bobby Kidd were tested on the outside and did not disappoint with Kidd making a touchdown saving tackle. Linebackers Speranza and Belmonte were constantly creating havoc in the Cardinal backfield. The defensive line worked the hardest they have all year with Daniel Morales and Stephen Conte leading the way. Defensive tackles Zach Trakas, Jared Gootnick, Steven Zlotolow and Max Verch made life difficult for the Elmont running game. Defensive ends Daniel Ochs and Griffin Berke should be singled out for some of the best open field tackles the Braves made all year, with Berke making back to back stops to end the first half and keep his team within striking distance of the Cardinals. Our 9 year old cheer team also dazzled on the field, with their sideline cheers and incredible halftime show. Our cheerleaders were led by Coaches Judi Cyran and Kim Twohig. The cheerleaders dancing and cheering at this game were Emily Cyran, Nicole Milana, Betsey Stephenson and Samantha Twohig.

The 10-Year-Olds

The Syosset 10-year-old Braves had a great game this weekend. They came out on the losing end of the game. Great running plays were turned in by Will Reed, Brian Weigold and Dominic Doria. The defense held tough and was anchored by Lucas Gondolfo, Brendan Condon, Ross Platz and Jason Yablons. They were able to move the ball all day with blocking up front by Brian Doria, Michael Levy and Ross Platz. The game was played in some very cold temperatures. The Braves gave it their best effort of the year. The small but fierce team played through adversity and came oh so close to a win. The cheerleaders of course were on hand to show their support and perform a half time dance to entertain the fans. The cheerleaders dancing to Hannah Montana included Mackenzie Wagner, Kristen LaBianca, Jessica Competrello, Hannah Goldberg, Natalie Fernandez, Marissa Voight and Victoria Graceffa under the direction of their coaches Christine Wagner and Susan LaBianca.

The 11-Year-Olds

Another notch in the belt for the 11-year-old Syosset Brave team as they defended the home turf (28-0) against a hungry and aggressive Baldwin team.

Quarterback Ryan Kelly continued his leadership ways guiding the team to a four touchdown day, 35-yard run by Ben Wachtel, 6-yard goal line smash by Ryan Huie, 22-yard pass to Ben Wachtel and 25-yard pass to Cameron Biegel… Debuting as fullback, rookie Matt “Tokyo” Benus pounded the ball forward as half back Alex Giovinco danced and carved his way through the front line. Golden foot Lucas Cotler was solid kicking two extra points and also had adding an interception to his accomplishments.

The Syosset defense interior line brought their A+ plus game. Def ends/Cornerbacks: EJ Aronson, Donovan Condon, Greg Balos and Michael Elardo shut down the outside game, interior line man Max Falk, Evan Belmonte, Devin Burdo, Colin Burdo, Colin Moran, Nick Roselli, Jesse Gropper, Jaime Kessler, Tyler Futterman, Christian Leicht were crushing in the blocking zone.

The 11-year-olds truly had a remarkable game and certainly made their town proud. Next week, the 11-year-olds are off to Hempstead where they try to improve their record to 5-1 or “One for the Thumb”…

The Seniors

On a cold, windy and wet Sunday afternoon, the Syosset Senior team played another nail-biter of a football game. Taking on the West Babylon Eagles in West Babylon, the Braves struck first on a touchdown pass from quarterback Sean Cerrone to tight end Ian Greene. However, the Braves’ lead was short-lived as the Eagles stormed back with two consecutive touchdowns.

The Braves offensive machine added three more touchdowns on the day with Sean Cerrone running in two touchdowns. The Braves fourth touchdown came in dramatic fashion: Trailing 27 to 20 with 56 seconds left in the game, the Braves took over at their own 40-yard-line. Cerrone lead the Braves down the field, finally hitting Connor Byrne for a touchdown reception with a few seconds left in the game to cut the Eagles’ lead to 27 to 26. After a hard-fought game in bone-chilling cold, the Braves’ coaches decided to go for the win. In the NSFL (the league in which the Seniors play), a point-after-touchdown kick is worth two points, so the Braves decided to attempt a kick. Unfortunately, the kick was blocked by West Babylon and the Eagles held on for the 27 to 26 win.

Many of the Braves contributed in this exciting football game. As usual, the Braves offensive line of Alec Yacavone, Matt Kahl, Michael Verdello, Nick Balos, Jack Randazzo, Nick Nicolia and Justin Weigold played a terrific game. On defense, Michael Panvini, Jonah Dimaggio, AnthonyMarchese, Kevin Carbone, Jack Gilbert and Patrick O’Neill all chipped in with important tackles.

The Senior team would like to thank their cheerleaders, Francesca Marchese, Kelly Terjesen, Sabrina Bergsten, Nicole Marchese, Megan Leahy, Brielle Napoli and Laura Guerriero for braving the cold and enthusiastically cheering throughout the game (and providing a great halftime performance!).

Back at the turf field, after their own game was over, the Senior cheerleaders showed up to cheer at the 11-year-old game, as these cheerleaders just can’t get enough. Way to go girls – we love your spirit!

Finally, we’d like to offer a big thank you to Ray McCauley from for taking photos throughout the day. Photos from the day can be purchased at – it’s definitely worth a look. Last but definitely not least - a huge thank you to Bob McGeever (assistant to the Deputy Commissioner of Parks) and his staff for all of their help and support in getting the park open and assisting in so many ways ( the plywood saved the day) to help make this event a big success for our kids. It was a great day for all, and next year promises to be bigger and better than ever. Go Braves!