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Prideful Tuskers fall in hard fought game

Posted Saturday, October 02, 2010 by Robert Lombardo

LINCOLNDALE -- On almost every play from start to finish, the Somers defense managed to be in the right place at the right time. The wrong part, if you're a Tuskers fan, happened to be the nasty moves of Poughkeepsie's many electrifying ball carriers.

Somers' Kiernan Donohue, left, puts a hit on Poughkeepsie's Josh Oliver but fails to keep him out of the end zone in the first quarter Friday night.

Those runners left Somers' tacklers grasping at air on a few big plays Friday night -- especially Josh Oliver, the 5-foot-5 junior who burned the Tuskers for three touchdowns. The result was Somers' dropping its second straight meeting with Poughkeepsie, 20-10, in this week's only game between unbeaten teams.

"I think we had a lot of trouble stopping their speed," Somers coach Tony DeMatteo said. "We were just beaten by a better team tonight."

The Tuskers were considered the better team last year when they outscored opponents 244-6 during the regular season en route to a 6-0 record. But they fell as upset victims in the Class A quarterfinals on a similarly damp, windswept night to the same Pioneers program.

Somers had no returning starters on the field Friday night but fared well, especially when factoring in the start. The Tuskers went three-and-out on their first three possessions and watched Oliver dance for touchdowns of 26 and 69 yards in the first half.

Each time, Somers had Oliver bottled up before he either spun away or slipped through a tackle. But a missed tackle wasn't all that led to the first score. Three plays before the Pioneers (4-0) grabbed hold of a 6-0 lead, Somers was whistled for pass interference on a third-and-13 pass that sailed well over the head of the receiver.

The Tuskers (3-1) trailed 13-3 at halftime but began to turn their fortunes in the third quarter. Junior linebacker David Arturi forced a fumble that was recovered by senior Rob Mendoza. C.J. Silva put some acceleration to the sudden shift in momentum a play later. The junior burst out of a scrum and ran 47 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 13-10.

Arturi nearly sustained Somers' sudden surge on the third play of the ensuing possession when he forced another fumble. The ball bounced nearly 10 yards before Poughkeepsie recovered.

"That was a big momentum changer," Arturi said. "I wish we could have that one back. If we had recovered, we would've been in their territory. I think that was a key moment in the game."

Somers' defense stopped Poughkeepsie deep in Somers territory on two of the next three possessions, but it wasn't enough. Oliver, who had 154 total yards on 12 touches, added an 11-yard touchdown catch from Fabian Stone.

The Tuskers failed to score again. But even in defeat, Somers earned a measure of confidence to carry forward.

"Everybody's been saying we're bad," Arturi said. "But now we know we can compete with the best."

Poughkeepsie and Horace Greeley may be left to determine who is best in League A-North when they meet next week in what will likely be a meeting of unbeatens. But the Pioneers also play John Jay the following week.

"(Somers) was like our first-quarter exam. Next week is mid-terms, and then we have our finals," Poughkeepsie coach Ken Barger said. "It's tough to face back-to-back-to-back (coaches) DeMatteo, (Bill) Tribou and (Jimmy) Clark. I'm going to find out a lot about myself, and we're going to find out a lot about our team."




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