SOMERS, N.Y.— Messiah Horne was relatively quiet during Weeks 2 and 3 for the Somers Tuskers. The senior halfback missed a half against Sleepy Hollow due to heat exhaustion and was stifled in a loss to Yorktown two weeks ago.
Needless to say, Horne was ready to break out in a big way.
The senior rushed for a career-high five touchdowns and 206 yards in a 49-17 romp of visiting John Jay-Cross River at the Tuskers’ homecoming on Sept. 23.
“The biggest thing about Messiah that I like is that he fumbled early in the game and then he had this kind of a game,” Somers coach Tony DeMatteo said. “It shows me he’s a man.”
Right from the opening kickoff, Horne made a statement. He returned the kick 86 yards all the way to John Jay’s 4-yard line and punched it in from there to give Somers a 7-0 lead just 12 seconds into the game.
“Basically we formed a wedge and everything went as we planned in practice,” Horne said. “I just hit the hole and went through.”
DeMatteo said the kickoff return set the tone.
“That was probably the biggest play of the game,” DeMatteo said.
Horne, who accumulated 312 all-purpose yards, sure wasn’t done there.
Perry Shelbred booted a field goal for John Jay, but Horne found the end zone again from five yards out. Cameron Pepe, who went 7 for 7 on PATs, booted it through the uprights to give Somers the 14-3 lead with 1:41 left in the first quarter.
“The linemen did everything, they did a great job,” a humble Horne said of his performance. “We thought it was going to be a tough win, but the linemen brought it through and we got it done.”
Eleven seconds into the second quarter, the Horne highlight-reel continued when he raced 57 yards up the right sideline to the house to extend the lead to 21-3.
Tyler Carr then got in on the action, jetting 49 yards to the end zone and it was 28-3 Somers with 7:38 left in the first half.
Horne’s fourth touchdown of the night came with 2:05 left in the second quarter as the Tuskers took a 35-10 lead into halftime.
Junior quarterback Kevin Olifiers (6 for 12, 162 yards passing) hit his favorite target Matt Pires in stride on a 68-yard strike to give Somers a 42-10 lead with 3:17 left in the third quarter.
Junior Vinny DiFilippo forced a John Jay fumble on its ensuing possession and senior Jake Graham made the recovery to set up Horne’s final score. The senior’s 1-yard touchdown run put the Tuskers up 49-10 late in the third quarter.
Carr had five carries for 72 yards and two catches for 48 yards. Junior Antonio Vieira carried the ball five times for 38 yards.
DiFilippo made two catches for 42 yards.
Senior Erik Hagenah and junior Ryan Elliott made four solo tackles. Hagenah had 11 total tackles. Junior Andrew Cassin made four tackles with three being solo. DiFilippo and junior Nick Gargiulo had eight total tackles, while junior Vincent Cartelli, junior Antonio Vieira and senior Dan Venditto had seven.
The game was dedicated to team manager John Esposito.
“The big thing was that at the pep rally I introduced Johnny Esposito, who is part of our team,” DeMatteo said. “He’s legally blind. The school went crazy and we dedicated the game to him. I said, ‘I want him to go home and not sleep tonight because he’s going to be so excited.’ I think we really responded to that.”
DeMatteo was proud of the way the team responded from a Week 3 loss to Yorktown.
“We dismantled a pretty good football team,” DeMatteo said.
Somers (3-1) travels to Nyack for a 7:30 p.m. game on Friday, Sept. 30. Nyack is coached by Dominick DeMatteo, who is Tony DeMatteo’s son.
“We’re in a good position,” DeMatteo said. “We have to win the next two, but the goal tonight was whoever wins this game, is going to get two playoff games at home. If we can win the next two, then we can get our seventh and eighth games here.”