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Somers give Cheerleaders a workout

Posted Monday, October 27, 2008 by Robert Lombardo

SOMERS - They are what Somers senior Joe Marasco called "the strongest in the section." A group capable of doing pushups by the dozen, enough to make the fittest Army cadets blush.

But you had to feel for the Somers cheerleaders last night. With each touchdown, they dropped to the rubber track encircling the Tuskers' new football field and began with the pushups - one for each point. By the end of what turned out to be a 311-pushup night at the office, the girls had arms so weary they performed in shifts.


Their boys on the field were unrelenting, even more so on poor Poughkeepsie. Somers rolled up a 62-12 victory over the visiting Pioneers in the Class A quarterfinals on the strength of a 34-point third quarter that included a pair of defensive touchdowns.

The No. 2-ranked team in The Journal News Class A poll advanced to next Saturday's semifinals, where it will host the winner of Nyack and Harrison.

"We never gave up," said Marasco, who caught a touchdown pass and an interception. "Coach told us at the half, 'We have to finish them,' and we did."

Perhaps the least relenting Tusker was the one with the biggest target on his back: Rob Lombardo. The senior had missed two games and two weeks of practice with a wrist injury, and admitted he hadn't been quite the same since. That changed last night, as Lombardo shook off a slow start to dominate.

The 230-pound fullback had 164 total yards, rushed for a touchdown and caught two others on 17 touches. He also recovered a fumble and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown during the third-quarter surge.

"I feel like I'm there again, where I was to start the season," Lombardo said. "They were the hardest-hitting team we played all year. I felt back. I felt it was all coming together."

He was part of a short-range passing attack that loosened a Poughkeepsie defense geared to stop the run. Quarterback Erik Zmuidins connected on 10 of 12 passes for 152 yards and four touchdowns, including a 30-yarder to Marasco on the third play of the game.

Somers (8-0) went ahead 14-0 on a 1-yard plunge by Lombardo, but Poughkeepsie answered with a seven-play, 78-yard drive. Junior Josh Graham finished it with a 40-yard touchdown run.

The Pioneers (4-4) regained possession and were driving when Marasco made what coach Tony DeMatteo deemed the biggest play of the game. He intercepted a pass along the home sideline from Curtis McCabe on second-and-seven, regaining momentum for the Tuskers.

"Somers does a great job of punishing you when you make a mistake," Poughkeepsie coach Ken Barger said. "All teams make mistakes in high school football, but they did a great job taking advantage."

Zmuidins threw touchdowns to Matt Deiana and Lombardo to give Somers a 28-6 halftime lead, but that was just the beginning.

The Tuskers recovered a fumble on the second-half kickoff and continued to pour it on. Junior Andrew Madigan also returned a fumble 27 yards for a score.

"They're a very explosive football team," DeMatteo said. "I felt we got the worst draw in the playoffs because they're so fast. I was just so happy that we got on 'em."

The Pioneers scored their other touchdown midway through the third quarter on a 93-yard kickoff return by Graham.

Somers junior Colin Tullgren was 8 of 9 on extra-point kicks and is now 49 of 51 on the season, having missed a PAT for the first time since a 41-13 win over Yorktown in Week 2.


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