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Ossining stops Somers,11-9

Posted Friday, November 02, 2007 by Robert Lombardo


(Original publication: October 31, 2007)
SOMERS -Ossining senior Christian Federico has heard stories about Somers coach Tony DeMatteo his entire life. Federico's father, Lou, starred on DeMatteo's first team at Roosevelt in 1969. The majority of the football knowledge the Federicos have originated from the legendary coach.

So it shouldn't be of any surprise that when Somers lined up for a potential game-tying 2-point conversion last night, trailing Ossining late in the fourth quarter, Federico knew exactly what was coming.

"My dad always tells me Coach DeMatteo loves to run, run, run, and then catch you off guard with a pass," said Federico, an Ossining cornerback. "I was ready for it there."

DeMatteo did call for a pass, and Federico responded with the biggest play of Ossining's season. Federico made a diving deflection of Tom McGuire's pass in the end zone to preserve Ossining's thrilling 11-9 win over the Tuskers in a Class A semifinal at Somers.

It was Ossining's second narrow victory of the season over Somers. Ossining advanced to the sectional Class A title game for a second straight season.

Ossining (8-1), which lost to Harrison in last year's final, will meet the only team that's beaten it this season -Fox Lane, which handed it an ugly 35-6 loss.

"They beat us up pretty good," Ossining coach Dan Ricci said. "The best thing now is just to forget about that game. It's a one-game season now. Somebody has got to be the champ. I say to our kids all the time: 'Why not us?' "

Defense and special teams have given Ossining a chance to be that team.

Jesse Drinks started the game by returning the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. James Brundage's 2-point conversion run gave Ossining an 8-0 lead.

The Tuskers (7-2) were already playing without star sophomore running back Matt Deiana, who broke his collarbone in last Thursday's win over Nyack. Giving up a touchdown on the opening kickoff didn't help their confidence.

"No team wants to start a game off like that. It's the worst possible thing that can happen," Somers junior Rob Lombardo said. "Without it, who knows what the outcome of the game would have been? It definitely hurt."

Drinks put Ossining ahead 11-0 with a 28-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but Colin Tullgren hit a 34-yarder for Somers before the half.

With Ossining defenders Rich Royster, Jajuan Perez and Jeff Ward controlling the line all night, Somers' opportunities were limited. The Tuskers drove to the Ossining 21 in the third quarter but came up on short when Tullgren missed a 38-yard field goal.

They broke through late in the fourth quarter as Lombardo and McGuire keyed a 71-yard scoring drive that included two fourth-down conversions.

First was a fourth-and-10 situation with 3:40 left where McGuire hit Mike Ausiello for a 14-yard gain, bringing the Tuskers to the Ossining 7. Lombardi capped the drive with a jaw-dropping 6-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal with 1:51 left, where he took on two defenders and stretched his arms across the goal line.

The 2-point conversion was open momentarily before Federico came over and made the diving deflection.

"The tight end was open; we just weren't able to get it to him," DeMatteo said. "This is a bitter loss. But there is nothing more I can ask for out of my guys."

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