MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – After a gut-wrenching loss at Roy C, Ketcham, and after taking a pounding at the hands of John Jay (East Fishkill) a week later, the Mahopac High School football team was due for a feel-good win.
The Indians got one last Saturday, dropping a 41-0 beat-down on Mount Vernon.
The opponent certainly played a factor, but the Indians were firing on all cylinders against the 0-4 Knights.
Mahopac scored twice in the first—converting on a Jack Carey to Zach Esteves 22-yard strike, and then a Larry Nardecchia pick-six from the 12—all good for a 13-0 lead. The Indians were up 27-0 at halftime, after adding a Vin Bastone 8-yard run and a 43-yard touchdown strike from Anthony DeMatteo to Esteves in the second.
Carey found Esteves again in the third with a 55-yard touchdown, and Matt Piekutowski put the finishing touch on with a touchdown in the fourth.
“We got the ship right,” said Indians coach Dom DeMatteo after the win. “Yes, Mount Vernon is struggling, but we had a very good week of practice, and played mistake-free in all three phases. So, I was pleased.”
Esteves, a wideout/DB and senior captain, finished with three receptions for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Bastone led the team on the ground with 44 yards and a touchdown on five carries, Matt Courtney had 41 yards on six trips, and Mike Harney added 31 yards on five tries. Carey finished 4-for-4 for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and DeMatteo was 2-3 for 55 yards and a TD.
“Zach really had a standout game,” DeMatteo said. “That’s the first time I’ve had a player with three receiving touchdowns. He also played safety/corner, punted, and has been a tremendous team leader.”
DeMatteo’s wallet was also a little lighter after the win, after losing a bet with his defense that they couldn’t get two turnovers. Losing the bet meant DeMatteo had to buy dinner at McDonald’s for the team.
Not only did the Indians get two turnovers, but they went a step further. Senior linebacker Nardecchia returned an interception 12 yards for a touchdown—the first of his career—in the first quarter, and John Bosio had an interception in the fourth that also led to a touchdown.
“Yeah, so that cost me a little bit of cash,” DeMatteo said laughing. “My guys like to eat. But they played well, and turnovers are always big.”
The coach pointed to some solid performances against the Knights.
“Dom Perricone has taken on an increased role at offensive tackle, and he’s really been consistent there for us,” DeMatteo said. “At times he was unblockable, and finished with four solo tackles and three assists, that was a nice job. Tyler Roa also did a really nice job for us, I was really pleased with (Elmir) Nikocevic’s kicking game, and we got solid play from both of our quarterbacks.”
Mahopac (2-2) is set to host Suffern (2-2) Friday night at 7 p.m. The Mounties are coming off a loss to North Rockland, and the Indians will have to play well to have a chance to win.
“They’re a solid team,” DeMatteo said of Suffern. “We need to continue to get better, limit mistakes. They have a very good quarterback and running back—the key will be stopping their running game. And they have a very active defense, so we really have to execute well.”
Prior to the game (at 6:30) Mahopac’s athletic department will honor the memory of Mike Kozloski, a 2001 grad, by retiring his No. 62. Kozloski, a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, was fatally injured on Thursday, Jan. 31, in a crane accident while on duty in the town of Homer, Alaska, where he was stationed. He was 35. Mahopac will also honor service men and women, and first responders.