Aerial Attack: Somers Torches Sleepy Hollow

Somers’ Matt Pires returns a punt for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Pires also caught three touchdown passes. Credits: Rob DiAntonio

SOMERS, N.Y.— Anyone who has followed the Somers varsity football team over the years knows that the Tuskers are primarily a ground and pound type of team in coach Tony DeMatteo’s Wing-T offense.

The times may be changing, however.

Junior quarterback Kevin Olifiers connected with senior Matt Pires for three touchdown passes in the Tuskers’ 28-6 win over visiting Sleepy Hollow on Sept. 9 in their home opener.

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Pires had a huge game and was a part of all four touchdowns. He returned a line-drive punt 45 yards to the house to extend Somers’ lead to 28-0 with 3:51 left in the fourth quarter.

“Coach Ant (assistant coach Anthony DeMatteo) always says the best punts to return are the line-drive punts right to you,” said Pires, who caught three passes for 88 yards and picked up 150 all-purpose yards.  “I just caught it and read my blocks. Nick Vece and Nick Carvalho had huge down field blocks for me to be able to cut it back and finish it in the end zone.”

Olifiers, who was 6 for 11 for 101 yards passing and rushed for 43 yards on seven carries, started the scoring when he found Pires on an 8-yard slant for a touchdown to put the Tuskers up 7-0 with 3:38 left in the first quarter.

Late in the second quarter, Pires took an end-around to Sleepy Hollow’s 34-yard line. On the very next play, Olifiers hit Pires on a fade route for a touchdown to make it 14-0 with 1:42 left in the first half.

The Olifiers-Pires show continued when the junior quarterback hit a wide open Pires on a 46-yard touchdown pass with 9:49 left in the third quarter.

“We got out there fast and got the defense all mixed up which made my route wide open,” Pires said. “It was a perfect play call by the coaches and even a better ball by Kevin. He’s a stud.”

Sleepy Hollow was inside the Somers 10-yard line twice in the game, but failed to score both times. On the first opportunity, junior Antonio Vieira forced a fumble, which was recovered by junior Nick Gargiulo. On the second attempt, the Horsemen turned the ball over on downs.

“The key was staying focused throughout the whole game,” Gargiulo said of how they picked up the win. “Some things weren’t going the way we wanted them to but everyone on the team stayed locked in and played hard.”

Star senior halfback Messiah Horne missed the entire second half due to heat exhaustion and gained 44 yards on 10 carries for the game. Juniors Vinny DiFilippo (five carries, 34 yards) and Vieira (seven carries, 33 yards) also contributed on the ground.

DiFilippo had eight tackles including four solo tackles. Junior Jack Gilroy had seven tackles, while senior Dan Venditto had six. Junior Tyler Carr added a sack.

Cameron Pepe went 4 for 4 on extra points for Somers.

In a battle of 2-0 teams, Somers travels to Yorktown for a pivotal Week 3 matchup at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.

“Yorktown is a great team and we’re just excited for this opportunity to play them,” Pires said. “We have to have a huge practice week in order to win this game and I’m confident in this team that we can come out of Yorktown with the win.”

The Tuskers staged a huge comeback to defeat the Huskers last season, overcoming a 21-7 halftime deficit to pull out a 38-21 win.

“The entire team is excited for the game on Friday,” Gargiulo said. “Yorktown is a very good team and we know we are going to have our hands full playing them. To win the game we need a great week of practice and make sure we pay attention to detail. The small things win games of this caliber.”

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