MAHOPAC, N.Y. – The Somers High School football team lost to Section 9 champion Cornwall in the state quarterfinals, 34-13, on Monday at Mahopac High School.
Cornwall quarterback Mike White threw for 430 yards, 285 of them to offensive MVP wide receiver Alex Cruz, to lead the Dragons to the semifinals. Cruz had two receiving touchdowns in the win.
“Over and over Coach (Tony DeMatteo) talked about how good this quarterback is,” said senior running back Joe Lombardo. “We kept saying if we got to him maybe we can disrupt them up a little bit, but he played good, and congrats to him.”
Cornwall had plenty of rest and time to prepare for the game, as the team had not played since a 53-0 rout of Wallkill in the Section 9 championship game on Nov. 4. Somers, because of various weather delays in recent weeks, did not play its section title game until Thursday.
DeMatteo did not mince words after the game about that fact.
“The bottom line is they had eight days to practice and we had two. That’s the bottom line. Case closed,” DeMatteo said. “It’s impossible. How do you practice against a team that’s 10-0, the best team up in Section 9, for two days? It’s impossible.”
The longtime coach also had some strong words about Section 1’s starting the season a week later than other sections in the state.
“The whole problem would be cleared up if we would start on time,” DeMatteo said. “It’s not the early starting date. It’s starting on time. What Section 1 is doing to these football kids is disgraceful. It’s absolutely disgraceful.”
Somers struggled to move the ball in the first half and did not score a point until the :49 mark in the third quarter. The Tuskers particularly had problems in the red zone, including two red zone interceptions by quarterback John Decker.
DeMatteo captured his 300th win as a head coach and a section championship this season, but the Tuskers simply fell short in the state playoffs. He reflected on the season and his senior class after the game.
“I love this football team, and I told them at the game their effort here was tremendous. There just was not enough time,” DeMatteo said. “I’m proud of what they accomplished and what they did for me and how hard they practiced and worked. These kids make me want to coach forever. I love this senior group.”