KINGSTON, N.Y. - The Somers High football team earned its first-ever state tournament victory just a few weeks ago, and with a dramatic 48-24 win over Section 2's Burnt Hills in Friday night's NYS semifinal at Dietz Stadium, the Tuskers will be playing in a state championship game for the first time in their history.
Somers, which outscored the Spartans 27-7 in the fourth quarter, earned a spot in the Thanksgiving weekend championship game lineup at Syracuse's Carrier Dome, and will face the Whitesboro (Section 3)-Greece Athena (Section 5) winner Friday, Nov. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Class A state final.
Coaches, players and fans were jumping for joy after Friday night's historic win, which saw Somers (11-1) turn a close game - it was 21-17 Tuskers at the end of three quarters - into a blowout, thanks to the four-touchdown onslaught in the fourth.
Somers got stellar performances all around, but none came up bigger than senior spark plug Messiah Horne, who galloped his way to four touchdowns and 257 yards on the ground. Horne used his breakaway speed to help Somers pull away with three of his TDs in the fourth quarter.
"It's unbelievable," Horne said moments after the win. "We're going to the Dome. ... I never imagined during my senior year that we'd make it to the Dome."
Senior teammate Matt Pires also had a big night with 91 yards and two TDs on the ground, and another TD reception.
"This is a feeling I just can't describe, I really can't," Pires said. "To be able to bring coach D back to the state championship. ... It's something special."
Coach D, of course, is the legendary Tony DeMatteo, the all-time winningest coach in Section1 history who came to Somers 16 years ago after a long and successful career at Roosevelt High School in Yonkers. DeMatteo won one state title with Roosevelt, in his only state championship game appearance.
"This is a very special moment for me," DeMatteo told Daily Voice. "Because in my heart, when I came to Somers, I didn't think this would happen. I feel wonderful, especially for the kids. I'm happy for them."