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Tuskers top Pioneers in Bowl Game

Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 by Robert Lombardo

Last season, Poughkeepsie knocked a favored Somers squad out of the playoffs in the Class A quarterfinals. This season, the Pioneers defeated the Tuskers again, during the regular season.

But Somers got the best of the visiting Pioneers, 31-21, in a Tony DeMatteo Bowl Game Friday, Nov. 5. It was a solid way for the Tuskers to close out the season, defeating a team Head Coach Tony DeMatteo believes is "the most talented team in the section."

"It was a great victory for our program to see that we could hang with kids that are that good," DeMatteo said. "This was a tremendous team victory. They wanted to win this game."

The Tuskers had a strong practice week, including the best practice of the year two days before the game. After falling to Horace Greeley in a Class A semifinal the prior week, the Tuskers recovered from the loss "better than any team I've ever seen," DeMatteo said.

Things were looking bleak early on, as the Pioneers took a 14-6 lead in the first quarter after forcing a fumble that gave them a short field, resulting in a quick score. On top of that, the Tuskers lost one of their best backs in junior C.J. Silva, who was forced to leave the game with a concussion.

But they responded.

"Sometimes adversity just makes you rise up," DeMatteo said. "The kids rallied and said, ‘We're not going to lose this game.'"

One of those players that answered the call was senior D.J. Giuntini, who rushed for three touchdowns of 24, 10 and 7 yards. He gained 98 yards on 15 carries.

"He had an awesome game," DeMatteo said. "The 24-yard run was great because it was on a trap on third-and-long."

Matt Debellis' 1-yard TD gave Somers a 21-14 lead at halftime.

Somers senior quarterback Anthony Lombardo rushed for 108 yards on eight carries and passed for 62 yards. Tom Barcia added a late field goal.

A slew of seniors led the defense, which held the Pioneers to only seven points after halftime. Kieran Donohue had 10 tackles and an interception. Victor Prato and Tom Campbell each had a sack, while Rob Mendoza added a pick.

"It was a real team effort," said DeMatteo, who pointed out that defensive linemen Prato, Colby Tragni and Michael Cleary, as well as linebacker Jordan Devito, all played very well. "The entire defense made a concentrated effort of being where they were supposed to be. [Poughkeepsie] was still able to move the ball, but they weren't able to break the home runs they did in the first game."

After graduating so many talented players from last year's dominant squad, Somers was inexperienced coming into this season. But the players responded, resulting in a playoff berth and an emotional first-round upset of top-seeded Rye.

The Tuskers, who finished at 6-3, were in every game all season. Their three losses were by a combined 29 points, including a heartbreaking 24-23 double-overtime loss to John Jay.

"These kids gave me everything they had, all year," DeMatteo said. "It was a great season."

But there's no doubt that the seniors will definitely be missed next year.

"This senior class had a phenomenal attitude," DeMatteo said. "I just hope that we can get it again from the next senior class."

- Robert J. DiAntonio

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