Sunday, September 7, 2014

Defensive Grit Lifts Huskers in Thrashing

Yorktown's Andrew Wasila located an open slab of pigskin and seized full advantage.

He emerged with a vital strip of Eastchester's quarterback.

Wasila and Dan Delbene then applied a massive double block.

Logan Peters picked up the loose ball, darting 40 yards back to the house as Yorktown gained a full jolt of momentum and a 13-0 second quarter lead.

On the ensuing possession,  senior Timmy Forbes converted the second consecutive rip-and-run into a wild 61-yard touchdown scamper.

In that quick fashion, Yorktown's stout defense sparked a wire-to-wire 33-6 drubbing of the undermanned Eagles at Eastchester Friday night.

"Wasila beat me on a race to the quarterback and got a good clean strip," Peters said.

"Then he made a huge block on that same play. I kept running. Everything clicked. We got a good push off the line. Justin Vega, he's there on every tackle. Our fullbacks, they love to go in and crush people. It never works if we're not working together."

Prior to the season, Yorktown head coach Mike Rescigno emphasized inflicting early damage.

Yorktown's mindset is to club the opponent in the mouth from the jump, keeping the lead intact.

On Friday night, Rescigno's words proved prophetic.

"That was a huge statement play, it gave us an edge and we just didn't look back," said tight end/defensive end Delbene, referring to Wasila's strip and Peters' touchdown jaunt.

"I'd say that our focus during the week really helped us react to (Eastchester's) style of offense and adapt to it quickly.

Eastchester, which suspended multiple starters for an undisclosed violation of team rules. It occurred at the 11th hour, forcing the Eagles to adjust on the fly.

Junior quarterback Jacob Risi inherited the starting job. He immediately developed a rapport with wide receiver Andrew Schultz and junior Wayne Hoffman.

 And while the neophyte lefty displayed flashes, connecting on well-aired balls and featuring the 6-foot-5 Schultz, Eastchester struggled mightily to finish.

The Huskers' veteran-laden line, featuring a troika of Richie Campanaro, Justin Vega, and Peters, helped enable Yorktown's trademark running game. Nick Santavicca, back from an injury-depleted 2013, scampered for 73 yards on nine touches.

Forbes, who played second fiddle to between-the-tackles fullback Connor Vercruysse last season, was exceptional.

He rolled up 83 yards, inflicting turbulence on both sides of the ball. Forbes converted the takeaway into a touchdown, Yorktown's second straight defensive score in a six-minute span.

Those back-to-back game-altering sequences allowed the Huskers to seize a commanding 20-0 lead before halftime.

"(Coach Mike Rescigno) always says, 'scoop it and run, that's what linebackers are for,'" Forbes said.

Eastchester finally quelled the drought when Peter Dellilis got loose for a touchdown scamper with 3:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Santavicca pumped Yorktown's lead to 33-0 when he broke off a 10-yard run up the middle, jolting into the end zone untouched.

While the Huskers took an off-season hit with the graduation of All-Section halfback Eric Meyreles (now at Wesleyan) and a blurring backfield featuring Nicky Bonitatibus and Kris Alvarado, the Huskers' stout defense and smooth running game was promising.

What does Yorktown attribute the season-opening bang to?

"Family over everything," said Peters, replenishing the mindset that Rescigno has ingrained in them without the over-killed cliches.

"We stay together. We prepared for Eastchester all summer. We wanted to come out and make a statement to the Section and show them we're for real."

Peters will be receiving his Yorktown lacrosse state championship ring in October.

Before he can savor the glistening hardware, his Huskers are slated for a barometer against reigning Section 1 champion and staunch border town rival Somers.

The 1-0 Tuskers sledgehammered Tappan Zee in a 34-7 mauling Friday night.

How much extra juice does Yorktown have for this familiar and formidable foe?

"It would be a statement win," said Yorktown's shifty and evasive quarterback Ryan Baker, who hit the ground for 62 yards Friday.

"We get no recognition and if we come to play on Friday, then maybe people will realize that Yorktown's legit and no doubt a contender for the title. Friday's a major opportunity that we won't let slip away."

Extra Yardage:

-Eastchester has a promising young gun in gargantuan sophomore Antonio Rogliano. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound sophomore defensive end showed flashes with an early sack. Keep tabs on the big fella throughout the season.

-Enforcing a mash-happy brand, Yorktown has a deceptive hard-hitter in 5-foot-10, 160-pound Shivam Gupta. Gupta looked as if he was channeling unbridled inner rage, laying down ferocious hits. Yorktown's defense was catalyzed by Wasila (four tackles, three sacks), Dom Cioffi and Peters.

-Eastchester's line is beefed up with Sergie Aponte (6-1, 250), Paul Michels (6-1, 225), Rogliano (6-2, 235), Chris Gorman (6-2, 275), Andrew Carpriglione (5-10, 270), and Delillis (5-9, 225). Fred DiCarlo's squad was short a few soldiers in Friday's home-opener, but the Eagles are certainly not deficient with size and depth.