10/19/12 11:34pm

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Eugene Allen of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island using his legs to pick up yards with Center Moriches’ Timothy Anthony in pursuit.

RED DEVILS 21, PORTERS 14

When the game started, Center Moriches was the only football team that was lower than Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island in the Suffolk County Division IV standings. But after the two winless teams played on Friday night, it was hard to imagine anyone feeling lower than the Porters.

In the matchup between two 0-6 teams, one team had to win, and that team was Center Moriches. Tyrell Thomas threw two touchdown passes in addition to running for another touchdown and a two-point conversion as Center Moriches secured a 21-14 victory at Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field. It was the 12th straight loss for the Porters, and possibly the toughest of them all.

“It’s an awful feeling,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s doleful coach, Jack Martilotta, said. “I’m sure the kids feel awful. It’s hard. Losing is hard.”

Nobody has to tell Center Moriches that. The Red Devils can relate to Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s woes. They also had their hearts set on putting a marker in the “W” column.

Center Moriches, which was a playoff team the last three years, underwent a major overhaul, returning only two players from last year’s squad. The Red Devils have more juniors and sophomores (16) than seniors (six), but that didn’t keep them from rising to the occasion on Friday night.

“Emotionally, it’s been really tough going week after week and losing close games because we never really got blown out, and to finally taste a victory, it’s just unreal,” Center Moriches inside linebacker Ryan Lewis said. “First one of the year. It feels great. We didn’t even know what to do because we just won. We never celebrated before so we were like in shock.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Sal Loverde leaping up to make a 26-yard reception while being watched by Center Moriches’ Mekhai Godley, left, and Bryan Foster.

Thomas (15 of 23, 227 yards), a sophomore quarterback/safety, knew what to do during the game. He scored on a six-yard run in between scoring tosses of 64 yards to Zachary Brady and 25 yards to Michael Speed. The pass to Speed on the first play of the fourth quarter gave Center Moriches a 21-7 lead.

The Porters pulled themselves back in the game when Eugene Allen found John Drinkwater in the corner of the end zone with a five-yard pass on fourth down, capping a 13-play, 70-yard scoring drive with 6 minutes 52 seconds to go in the contest. It was Allen’s second touchdown pass of the game.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island had an opportunity to score again when a bad snap on a fourth-down punt play gave the Porters the ball at the Center Moriches 34-yard line with 3:40 remaining. The Porters moved the ball to the 15 before losing possession on downs.

The final dagger came when an offsides penalty by the Porters on a fourth-down play gave Center Moriches a first down with 1:16 to go. That allowed the Red Devils to run out the clock.

“I wanted this for them so bad because they didn’t deserve to go 0 and 7,” Center Moriches coach Steve Failla said of his players. “To be honest with you, they all inspire me.”

Things had started off promisingly for the Porters when they scored first for the first time in a game this season thanks to Allen’s 37-yard pass to a wide open Christian Angelson, who waited for the ball to arrive before turning and charging into the end zone with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.

But an ill-timed timeout and three personal fouls that amounted to 45 yards hurt the Porters.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned,” Martilotta said of the personal fouls. “Everything’s a habit. Losing’s a habit and winning’s a habit. I felt like we kind of defeated ourselves today.”

A timeout by the Porters led to Center Moriches’ first touchdown late in the second quarter. The timeout was called on a fourth-and-two situation on the Porters’ 36 with 32 seconds to go in the half. Martilotta said the timeout was called because his punt team was not ready and he didn’t want to give up a blocked punt or a delay-of-game penalty.

“It was a little confusion,” Martilotta said. “That was not at the best time, either.”

On the next play after Matt Drinkwater’s punt, Center Moriches scored on Thomas’ 64-yard pass to Brady. Thomas ran in the ensuing two-point conversion for an 8-7 lead for the Red Devils.

Most of the damage Center Moriches inflicted came through the air. John Cerverizzo caught seven of the 10 passes in which he was targeted for 96 yards.

Lewis played an inspired game. He was in on 16 tackles, including a sack, and recovered a fumble.

Allen had a productive game for the Porters, throwing for 110 yards on 8-of-12 passing and running the ball 19 times for 104 yards.

Connor Anderson had a hand in 10 tackles for the Porters, and Angelson made an acrobatic interception, tipping the ball up in the air to himself.

“We’re not an 0 and 7 team,” Allen said. “That’s what it is on paper, I know. All our guys work hard, practice hard. It’s just a bunch of mental stuff.”

With its win, Center Moriches received a boost to its mental well-being.

“I wanted to win this game bad,” Lewis said. “I just want to go home and celebrate right now and have a great time.”

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09/29/12 6:25pm

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Asaiah Wilson gave the Monarchs a 12-0 lead by scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run.

MONARCHS 12, PORTERS 7

These Monarchs have pride, and for good reason.

Bishop McGann-Mercy is off to one of the greatest starts in the football team’s history. Indeed, these are heady times for the Riverhead Catholic school. The Monarchs, who were seeded 12th in Suffolk County Division IV in a preseason coaches poll, brought their record to 4-0 on Saturday with a 12-7 homecoming win over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island at Harold T. Murray Memorial Field.

“Mercy football, 4 and 0!” said Asaiah Wilson, who played quarterback and safety for McGann-Mercy. Wilson went so far as to proclaim this the “best team in Mercy history.”

McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski said he did not know if the Monarchs had ever won their first four games in a season before. “We’re playing much more physical than we’ve ever played before,” he said. “We’re excited about what’s happening here.”

If the Monarchs were looking for an easy time against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island (0-4), it wasn’t happening. For one thing, it’s a rivalry game, and the Porters played what was easily their best game of the season.

McGann-Mercy can credit its defense for holding on during crunch time. After forcing McGann-Mercy to punt — and benefitting from a couple of penalties in the process — the Porters took possession at the Monarchs’ 40-yard line with 3 minutes 11 seconds to go in the game and the score 12-7. They reached the 16 before being stopped on a fourth-down play in which Eugene Allen absorbed a powerful initial hit by Wilson before being brought down by Ray Ellis for no gain. By holding the Porters several inches short of a first down, McGann-Mercy was able to run off four plays and the remaining time in the game.

“We lost basically by four inches,” said Allen, a junior who made his first start at quarterback. “We gave it all we can, just four inches. It was our game if we just made that one play.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island defensive back Jack Volinski breaking up a pass.

A controversial pass interference call against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island also had a big impact. The call came in the third quarter, negating an interception by Jack Volinski and allowing McGann-Mercy to retain possession. Two plays later, Wilson took the ball 10 yards on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown that made the score 12-0 with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

“That might have been the game,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “I talked to the official about it. I have no clue why he called that.”

Wilson (7 of 16, 139 yards), a junior transfer from Longwood, was also involved in McGann-Mercy’s first touchdown. He flipped a screen pass to Reggie Archer for a 37-yard touchdown completion in the second quarter.

Archer had a productive running game as well. Traversing a muddy, slick field that made it hard to get traction, the sophomore accumulated 122 yards from 29 carries.

A promising 11-play, 65-yard drive by McGann-Mercy reached the Porters’ 7-yard line. But the Monarchs came away empty-handed on the final play of the first half when Ed Kneski’s 35-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Timmy Stevens.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island got on the scoreboard with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Porters capped a 16-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run by Allen, making it a one-score game.

Allen is a playmaker, and that was the Porters’ thinking in going with him at quarterback instead of Matt Drinkwater, who had started the first three games at that position.

“We’re trying to get the ball in his hands as much as we can,” Martilotta said. “Drinkwater was doing well, but we feel [Allen] gives us a better chance to win. He’s quite an athlete. He made a couple of things happen today.”

Allen completed his last eight passes, going 10 of 11 for 104 yards. He said he took his first snaps as a quarterback since he was a freshman, and had not worked on his passing since mini camp over the summer. But he said he was confident. “I think if I had to, I can play any position on the field,” he said.

Allen took his share of hits from a McGann-Mercy defense that was a tough nut to crack. Pat Marelli made a game-high eight tackles, including one of the Monarchs’ six sacks.

Instead of their first win, the Porters dropped their ninth straight loss dating back to last year.

“It hurts,” Martilotta said. He added, “If we got that first down right there [near the end of the game], we’d be having a different interview right now.”

Meanwhile, these are happy times at McGann-Mercy, where the school is abuzz about what its football team has been doing. The Monarchs started the day in third place. Who knows where they will end up by the time the regular season ends? At this point, it looks like a safe bet that the Monarchs will be making their first playoff appearance since 2007. Their remaining games are against Port Jefferson, Shoreham-Wading River, The Stony Brook School and East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but something like this, I’m just shocked,” Wilson said. “I’m overwhelmed.”

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