LINCOLNDALE It’s happened so many times over the years.
Somers coach Tony DeMatteo calmly delivered another us-against-the-world halftime speech Friday, then watched his team celebrate homecoming with a head-spinning 38-21 win over Yorktown.
“Coach told us he believed in us, that he’s been down a lot more and won,” Tuskers split end Jason Holland said. “That’s all we needed. Our whole mentality changed right there.”
The favored Huskers were sitting on a 21-7 lead when the intermission began.
Somers opened a wild third quarter by recovering an onside kick. An offense set back in recent weeks by a string of injuries came to life. A defense led by the likes of Aldo Kaczmarkiewicz, Nick Gargiulo and Erik Hagenah threw a shutout after the break.
Grant Tragni connected on a 24-yard fade to Holland in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to give Somers a 28-21 lead.
“Yorktown is a great team and they always fight no matter what the score is, so we had to keep it going,” the senior quarterback said. “Me and Jason practice that route a lot. We all worked hard this week. “
Player of the game: Messiah Horne. The junior was a force running the ball for the Tuskers. He finished with 120 yards on 25 carries. Horne came up with one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown.
Turning point: Sophomore quarterback Kevin Olifiers dropped back for a pass, but was quickly overwhelmed in the pocket. He managed to spin away from the rush and slip into the end zone. Eric Silvester followed up the nine-yard run with a successful PAT, getting Somers even with Yorktown, 21-21, with 1:06 to play in the third quarter.
“At first I thought I was done,” Olifiers said. “I saw a little hole open up and my fullback threw a great backside block for me. The receivers caught on to everything that was happening and blocked downfield, and we got into the end zone.”
Stat line: Yorktown was shut out in the second half. … Nick Santavicca had 104 yards on 27 carries for the Huskers, but was stopped behind the line of scrimmage nine times. …Holland made three catches for 82 yards and one touchdown for Somers. The senior SE/DB also returned an interception for a touchdown.
Quoteable: “Everybody could see there was a definite change from the first half to the second half,” Holland said. “I’m so proud of these guys.”