SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – Lakeland did all they could to end their season on a winning note but ran into a visiting Hendrick Hudson team that was equally determined to finish their own campaign with a victory.
The Hornets’ season came to an end in the “Bowl Series,” with Lakeland being blanked by Hen Hud, 14-0, on Friday, Nov. 1.
Lakeland’s defense played well but the Sailors were able to maintain possession of the ball long enough to hit pay dirt twice
“We were able to limit the big plays,” Lakeland coach Mike Meadows said. “However, we couldn’t get them off the field. They had some long drives.”
Leading Lakeland’s defensive performance was Danny Libretti (8 tackles), Jason Green (7 tackles), and Jorge Duque (5 tackles).
“Danny will be a captain for us next year and has a great understanding of our defense,” Meadows said. “He is a natural-born football player. Jorge and Jason have been our senior leaders all season long. Those guys played hurt and worked hard to be ready for the game. They left their hearts out on the field.”
Offensively, the Hornets (4-5) had trouble moving the ball against the stingy Sailors’ defense. Doing what they could to help the Hornets’ cause offensively was Tyler Santucci (8 for 10, 53 yards), Landon Ruggieri (3 catches, 39 yards) and Nick Badillo (13 rushes, 45 yards).
“We played poorly offensively because we had difficulty establishing the run,” Meadows said.
While the season didn’t end the way they wanted, the Hornets have plenty to build on going into next season, which included a winning record of 4-2 in the regular season, beating sister school Walter Panas for the first time since 2015, and hosting a home playoff game for the first time in recent memory.
Meadows, who just completed his third year as Lakeland’s head coach, is looking forward to seeing his team work hard in the offseason and build off of this campaign.
“We have to attack the offseason like never before,” Meadows said. “Every year we are improving and we would like that trend going. But guys have to step up, buy in, and be 100 percent committed to getting better and doing whatever it takes to be a winning program.”