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Tuskers topple Fox Lane

Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 by Robert Lombardo

By KEVIN DEVANEY JR.
THE JOURNAL NEWS


(Original publication: October 20, 2007)
LINCOLNDALE - Football coaches usually don't dance in the middle of the locker room to eardrum-popping hip-hop music after a win, especially not ones with 263 career victories. And certainly not ones in their early 60s.

But to Somers coach Tony DeMatteo, last night's dominant 15-0 victory over Fox Lane wasn't just another win in his legendary career.

"I always try to get my players to play in my image," DeMatteo said. "Tonight, these guys did that. Of all the games I've ever coached in my career, this is one of the most satisfying wins."

By beating Fox Lane, the top-ranked team in The Journal News Class A poll, Somers (6-1) won the League A-A title and the top seed in the Class A playoffs, which begin on Thursday.

Somers, which finished tied with Fox Lane (5-2) and Ossining atop the league, won out on a tiebreaker. Fox Lane gets the No. 2 seed, and Ossining, which beat Somers earlier this season, will be No. 3. Playoff seeds will officially decided tonight.

"We've never wanted to win a game more than this," Tuskers senior Rob Lombardo said. "Even Ossining wasn't this big for us. Nobody thought we were capable of winning this game. I think we showed how good we really are."

Lombardo turned in one of the year's best performances. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound fullback/linebacker rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and recorded eight tackles.

On Somers' first play from scrimmage, Lombardo broke off a 91-yard touchdown run. He later capped the opening drive of the second half with a 14-yard score.

"Robert takes care of everything," DeMatteo said. "He's the ultimate football player. He's a baller. He comes to play every game."

Fox Lane, which features one of the area's most dynamic offenses, struggled to move the ball.

Quarterback Mike Mathews, a major Division I recruit, missed targets early and got little help from his receivers when he tried carrying the Foxes to a comeback. He finished 4-of-25 passing for 42 yards with nine drops.

Mathews, who wasn't sacked once last season, was brought down three times last night, twice by junior Henry Smith.

"Mike couldn't get into a rhythm," Fox Lane coach Bill Broggy said. "There just wasn't a good feel to this game for us. There was a weird vibe."

Somers' defense set the tone from the start. After Fox Lane converted twice on third down, Henry sacked Mathews, forcing a punt.

The Foxes picked up five more first downs in the game, and thanks to the punting of Erik Zmuidins, consistently started drives deep in their own territory.

Fox Lane crossed midfield once in the game -just before halftime when Mathews ran against a prevent defense - and it had the ball for only six minutes in the second half.

"We couldn't run the ball, we couldn't pass the ball," Broggy said. "We were asking our defense to stop a well-executed offense all game. That's a tough thing to do."

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