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Somers cuts off Lakeland at the Pass

Posted Saturday, October 11, 2008 by Robert Lombardo

SHRUB OAK - Practice had a different look and feel for Somers this past week. Maybe that's because so, too, did the Tuskers' Week 6 opponent.

After all, in the Lakeland Hornets, Somers knew it would be facing a team with a potent passing attack - the magnitude of which it had not seen all season.


But the Tuskers, ranked No. 2 in The Journal News Class A poll, were ready. And on a night when the team welcomed back injured standouts Rob Lombardo, Matt Deiana and Henry Smith to action, it was the unbeaten Tuskers' ability to contain the Hornets' potentially lethal sophomore quarterback, Conor Prunty, that keyed their 35-6 League A-Central win.

"We prepared all week for Conor. He's only a sophomore, but he's an outstanding passer and he has some good receivers with great size," Somers junior cornerback Colin Tullgren said, referring to 6-foot-4 senior Jack Doherty and 6-5 senior Cris Fazio.

And it was a play by its secondary that might have turned the game in Somers' favor.

It happened early in the second quarter, shortly after Steve Barretta had recovered a fumble for the Hornets (4-2, 2-2) at the Somers 12, trailing 7-0. Prunty lobbed the ball in the direction of senior halfback Owen Rice, but Somers senior cornerback Michael Ortler stepped in front of Rice and came away with an interception deep in the right corner of the end zone.

"We were in a cover-3," said Ortler, who is joined in the secondary by Tullgren and safeties Dylan Haas and Joe Marasco. "We all had our spots, and we got great linebacker help, too. He fired it up looking for is man, and I was able to get it.

"We were ready for everything they had. (Assistant) coach Dom (Narcisco) really prepared us. We knew everything they were running."

Prunty said the Tuskers' zone coverage was difficult to connect against - including the scheme they were in when the interception came.

"I take full responsibility for it," said Prunty, who finished 8 of 19 for 96 yards. "It was a bad read by me. They played a real good zone, and I wasn't making great reads tonight."

Shortly after Ortler's interception, Deiana (117 yards on 11 carries) scored on a 43-yard run. Tullgren, who has now connected on 34 of 35 extra-point kicks this season, followed with the PAT to make it 14-0.

The Tuskers (6-0, 4-0), who scored again with 35 seconds to go in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Lombardo (77 yards on 12 carries), led 21-0 at the half after the Hornets had a chance to tie at 7-7.

"That was the play of the game," Somers coach Tony DeMatteo said of Ortler's pick. "We took advantage of it and scored too, which made it even bigger."

After Prunty found Fazio on a 21-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter, Tullgren returned the subsequent kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-6.

Somers opened the scoring on the last play of the first quarter when senior quarterback Erik Zmuidins (6 of 11, 129 yards) connected with Haas on a 46-yard touchdown pass.

Somers' final score came on another 1-yard run by Lombardo, who has scored nine touchdowns in four games. He had missed the last two games after suffering a broken finger in a 42-7 Week 3 win over Hen Hud. Deiana was sidelined from last week's 63-8 win over Peekskill with a stinger.

"It's nice having Rob and Matt back," Tullgren said. "We're a different team with them out there."

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