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Somers Adds Twist, Beats Harrison 38-3

Posted Tuesday, September 09, 2008 by Robert Lombardo

HARRISON - Bring up the name Somers to any varsity football aficionado in the Lower Hudson Valley and chances are the first players mentioned would be the three who comprise the Tuskers' starting backfield.

With running backs Rob Lombardo, Matt Deiana and Dylan Haas, Somers entered the season with as talented a ground game as any in the area.  

But yesterday, the Tuskers, ranked second in The Journal News Class A preseason poll, showcased a new element that could make their offense almost unstoppable.

Senior Erik Zmuidins, making his first varsity start, enjoyed one of the best single-game performances for a quarterback in coach Tony DeMatteo's nine-year tenure with the Tuskers in a surprisingly one-sided 38-3 season-opening win over fourth-ranked Harrison.

"I really wasn't nervous," said Zmuidins, who was 6 of 7 for 131 yards and completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Deiana late in the second quarter to give Somers a 28-3 halftime lead. "I knew I had the team around me, so I just had to stay calm and keep my passes on target."

Three of Zmuidins' completions - for a total of 55 yards -were to senior wide receiver Joe Marasco.

"He really led us in the huddle," said Deiana of the 6-foot-5 Zmuidins. "He played with confidence - and that gave us confidence as a team."

In addition to a potent passing attack, that attitude is something Somers might have lacked in recent years - along with something else DeMatteo cited.

"There's a reputation of Somers having a good football coach but kids who are soft," said DeMatteo, who is the winningest coach in Section 1 history with 265 career victories in his 40-year tenure that includes 31 years at Roosevelt. "It's taken me nine years to get the kids to do the weightlifting and the things they need to do to get beyond that."

With that hard work has come a winning attitude.

"People picked us to win this game - we saw that -but no one picked us to win by this much," Lombardo said. "But we knew we could and we thought we would. I knew we were going to do it two weeks ago, but I just didn't want to say anything."

That confidence was on display early on when Somers scored on its first drive of the game. Faced with a fourth-and-5 from the Harrison 25, the Tuskers went for the first down and got it on a 24-yard pickup by Lombardo that set up Deiana's first TD. Junior Colin Tullgren followed with the first of his five extra-point kicks. He also had a 23-yard field goal.

Lombardo, who rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries, had a 3-yard touchdown run that made it 21-3 early in the second quarter. He had set it up with a 61-yard interception return that brought the ball to the Harrison 10.

There were plenty of defensive highlights for the Tuskers as well. They limited the Huskies to a 22-yard field goal by John Molloy in the first quarter. The Huskies lost the services of senior standout Claudio Delli Carpini, who left the game in the first half after suffering a concussion.

Justin Segal was the workhorse for Harrison with 107 yards rushing on 14 carries.

"They're a very good football team," Harrison coach Art Troilo Jr. said. "But we're not as bad as we looked. We'll get the ship righted."

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