SOMERS, N.Y. – Chants of “MVP!” burst through the air for Somers running back Stefano Bicknese, who had two crucial touchdowns and rushed for more than 100 yards in a 23-14 win over visiting Poughkeepsie on Friday night.
The game featured two undefeated teams and two of the best in Class A. Somers improved its record to 4-0 while Poughkeepsie fell to 3-1.
Bicknese, a senior, and the Tuskers controlled the game as they topped the defending section champions.
“It shows a lot to people,” Bicknese said. “People doubted us, but all the coaches and our team believed in us. I think we’re the best in Section 1 right now.”
He opened the scoring with a 22-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. But Poughkeepsie’s Jahyan Maxwell knotted the score at six with a 79-yard burst at the end of the first.
Tim Fazzinga then blocked a Poughkeepsie punt, and Connor Vlasaty fell on the ball in the Pioneers end zone to give Somers a 13-6 lead that it never relinquished. The Tuskers added a field goal in the second quarter and another 37-yard score from Bicknese in the fourth.
The Tuskers also made a crucial stop at the end of the first half as Poughkeepsie was threatening to keep the score at 16-6.
Maxwell ran in an 18-yard touchdown with 5:10 remaining to cut the lead to 23-14 after a two-point conversion. The Pioneers then recovered an onside kick and a wild play followed.
Poughkeepsie’s Joshua Taylor caught the ball and ran a few steps, but he lost the ball as he was going down. Somers’ Matthew Morgante swiped the ball out of the air, stopping the Pioneers as they were advancing in Somers’ territory.
That play was the result of the philosophy that Somers coach Tony DeMatteo preaches to his players to always “go for the ball."
“They had a great receiver. You go for the ball, and he catches it, God bless him. He made a great catch,” DeMatteo said. “Just don’t not go for the ball. And Matt fought him all the way.”
The win gave DeMatteo his 296th as a head coach and brought him closer to the 300-win milestone, but it also established Somers as the team to beat in Class A.
“Poughkeepsie has been the class of our conference for the last couple of years,” DeMatteo said. “So I knew this was going to be a big game. … They love to play us. We love to play them. It’s a great rivalry.”