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Somers shows off its depth

Posted Saturday, September 27, 2008 by Robert Lombardo

SOMERS - It was no secret that Somers featured arguably the area's best running-back tandem in Rob Lombardo and Matt Deiana. Beyond them, though, few knew what the Tuskers had.

"We know we have some great backups and a few good younger guys," Somers senior Joe Marasco said. "We have a few secrets back there."


Those secrets are out.

With Lombardo sidelined with a broken finger and Deiana limited by a neck injury, the Tuskers still managed to roll past Eastchester 28-6 in a Class A non-league football matchup last night at Somers.

Junior fullback Erik Pfiffner, starting in Lombardo's place, rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, and quarterback Erik Zmuidins threw for two touchdowns for Somers (4-0), the second-ranked team in The Journal News Class A poll.

"We definitely feel we had to prove ourselves," Zmuidins said. "We even lost one of our best linemen, Henry Smith, who also got hurt tonight. But we just pulled together and played really well as a team."

Somers mounted 158 yards rushing on the night and got 67 yards through the air from Zmuidins, who completed 7 of 12 passes.

With Eagles star quarterback Joe LaRocca out with a sprained ankle, the Tuskers' defense forced three turnovers and held Eastchester (3-1) to just three first downs after the first quarter.

Eastchester's only touchdown came on a 56-yard punt return by Chris Perugini eight minutes into the game. The Tuskers responded early in the second quarter when Marasco returned a punt 47 yards for a touchdown, as Somers took a 7-6 lead.

Marasco completely changed the game with a big play just before the half. With 20 seconds remaining and the Eagles at their own 35, Tommy DiCarlo overthrew his receiver near midfield. Marasco intercepted and returned it to the Eastchester 10-yard line with eight seconds left.

"I wouldn't have (attempted the pass) if this were a league game, not with a sophomore quarterback," Eastchester coach Fred DiCarlo said. "We came here to play and to try to win the game. We took a chance, but I'm not second-guessing myself."

Zmuidins made the aggressive decision hurt, connecting with Dylan Haas on the ensuing play for a 10-yard touchdown pass as time expired, allowing Somers to go into the half ahead 14-6.

"(The interception) was a big play, and that touchdown gave us a little cushion," Somers coach Tony DeMatteo said. "We were going to kick the field goal. But I told Erik (Zmuidins) that if he didn't like what he saw, throw it away. But he hit the guy right on the money and got us the touchdowns."

The play of Zmuidins was probably the most encouraging sign for the Tuskers. The 6-foot-4 senior, who made good decisions with the ball all night, later hit junior Colin Tullgren on a pretty throw for a 15-yard score in the third quarter.

Tullgren also was 4 for 4 on extra points, and Pfiffner put the game away in the fourth with a 64-yard touchdown run.

"We got a good old-fashioned butt kicking tonight," DiCarlo said. "Somers is a very good team and we got knocked down a peg, but that's good. I told them we don't need to peak on Sept. 26. We need to peak if we hopefully get to the playoffs."

Reach Kevin Devaney Jr. at kdevaney@lohud.com. Read his Varsity Insider blog at varsityinsider.lohudblogs.com.

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