The defending Section 1 Class A football champ isn’t really the defending champ. Well, Somers High certainly has the crown, and will defend the title starting in next week’s playoffs, but this team is much different than that one.
The 6-1 Tuskers go into next week’s playoffs seeded fourth, to play either Tappan Zee or Panas, after Connor Vlasaty’s three touchdowns led to Friday night’s 38-19 win over Brewster (3-4) at Somers High.
Somers’ only loss was by a touchdown to undefeated Rye. Brewster, which reached the sectional semifinal in coach Ed Mulvihill’s first season in 2012, started this season 0-3, then won three in a row before Friday night.
“We started off (the season) with a brand-new team,” Tuskers coach Tony DeMatteo said. “We lost everybody (to graduation) and we are progressively getting better. The kids learned from last year’s team what you had to do to try to win football games. And they kind of took it to another level. So although they don’t have the same talent as last year, their practice habits are better only because of what last year’s team showed them. So we’re not the team we were the first game of the season.”
As often is the case with DeMatteo, there was another fairly major milestone approaching. DeMatteo won his 100th game at Somers (100-32) to become the first Section 1 football coach to win 100 games with two different schools, and probably the first in the state.
DeMatteo, fourth all-time among state coaches with 308 wins, was 208-65-4 at Roosevelt of Yonkers before moving north.
Somers fell behind quickly after a fumbled punt, as Kyle Catalano scored on a 22-yard run, but Brewster’s two-point conversion pass failed and the Bears led 6-0.
Then it was all Somers. Vlasaty finished off a drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, and Josh Riger’s PAT kick gave the Tuskers a 7-6 lead. Riger added a 23-yard field goal to make it 10-6 after a Tyler DeVito interception, and Tim Fazzinga added an 11-yard touchdown run for a 17-6 lead.
Vlasaty returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-6, and tacked on a 29-yard run for his third TD of the game and a 31-6 lead.
Quarterback Liam DaRos (over 100 yards rushing) ran for touchdowns of 31 and 13 yards for Brewster, but Somers quarterback Tim Cousin threw a 19-yard scoring pass to twin brother Conor in between.
The downer of the evening was Somers’ Casey Lux leaving the field on a stretcher after a big third-quarter collision.
“To be honest, I never thought about (winning another 100 games after leaving Roosevelt),” DeMatteo said. “I just knew I was making the move with my kids and my wife wanted to live in Somers. I didn’t think about it. But now, it’s pretty neat.
“I’m still excited to go to practice. If you can’t get excited to coach a game, you better check your heart; you’re probably dead. But I enjoy being with these kids. When we have a great practice, I get excited. When that goes away from me, then I’ll know it’s time to step away. I have no plan in my mind to retire now.”