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Trench Warfare- Somers beats Yorktown

Posted Saturday, September 08, 2012 by Robert Lombardo

Under the direction of head coach Mike Rescigno, Yorktown's football program has become synonymous with powerful offensive and defensive lines. Controlling the point of attack has been the name of the game for the Huskers.

In Friday's season-opening showdown against Somers, Yorktown was beaten at its own game.

The Tuskers (1-0) dominated the trenches on both sides of the ball, muscling their way to a convincing 28-6 win over the Huskers (0-1) at Walter Panas High School.

"Our entire line wanted to change the culture of our team," senior center/defensive tackle Sean Jennings said. "We worked so hard this offseason and knew that nothing could stop us. We just wanted to come out here and show who the best line in Section 1 really is."

And that's exactly what the Tuskers' trench men did.

Even Rescigno — a former offensive lineman at Hofstra — was impressed with Somers' group of linemen, which includes Sean Jennings (6-5, 270), Steve Jennings (6-5 275), Robert Pontbriand (6-5, 260), Dylan Owen (6-4, 220), Dan Campbell (6-5, 220) and Jason Falasca (6-0, 235).

"That's a physical offensive line," Rescigno said. "Those are some good looking kids and they are moving people off the ball."

Senior fullback Stefano Bicknese, who rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns (39, 1) on 15 carries, sang their praises, too.

"I was running hard and the line does a great job every time," Bicknese said. "Look at the size of them. They average about 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds. They did a great job opening holes and I just lowered my shoulder."

Bicknese was being a tad bit modest, too.

The bruising back ran violently, making would-be Yorktown tacklers look like rodeo clowns trying to corral a bucking bronco. Bicknese's 39-yard second-quarter touchdown run — which gave Somers an early 7-0 lead — typified his take-no-prisoners approach. In fact, he didn't even spare the ref, who was plowed over at about the 20-yard line.

"I saw a hole and put my shoulder down," said Bicknese, who added a 1-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring with 6:30 left in regulation. "One guy got in my way and I avoided him. The ref got in the way and I didn't know what to do, so I just put my shoulder down. If I had avoided him, I would have gotten caught."

Defensively, the Tuskers flexed their muscles on the interior, clogging up running lanes to completely shut down Yorktown's rushing attack, which is usually the staple of its offense. They harassed Huskers star quarterback Nick Mariano throughout, refusing to allow him to beat them. The towering Jennings brothers batted down pass after pass.

Mariano, who scored Yorktown's lone touchdown on a 1-yard run to make it 7-6 at the half, completed nine of 24 passes for 77 yards and rushed for 37 yards on 16 carries. He also threw two interceptions. Somers senior linebacker Joe Lombardo returned the second pick 45 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tuskers a commanding 21-6 lead with 11:46 left in the fourth quarter.

"(Somers) clearly went out of there way to take Nick out of the game as a runner," Rescigno said. "Unfortunately, we had to put Nick into a one-dimensional role after a two-touchdown swing with the moment of big plays and big turnovers. That kind of took me out of my offensive game plan, which was to remain balanced. We were dramatically unbalanced today — to the point where I was unhappy we had to be."

If there were any positives for Yorktown, it was the play of its defensive backs. Austin Fusco and Brian Prestreau recorded an interception apiece, helping the Huskers keep pace during an unsettled opening half. Fusco picked John Decker on a crucial fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, while Prestreau snagged a Tim Cousin throw in the corner of the end zone.

Despite the early struggles with turnovers, Somers coach Tony DeMatteo didn't lose faith in his two rookie quarterbacks. And the decision paid off when Decker connected with senior wide receiver Joe Festo on a 40-yard touchdown to boost Somers' lead to 14-6 with 5:38 left in the third quarter. Festo hauled in the pass just as a Yorktown defensive back jumped the route, spun toward the sideline and sprinted directly to pay dirt.

"(The defensive back) had really good coverage on it and I was lucky enough to catch the ball and run for the touchdown," Festo said.

Festo also exhaled a big sigh of relief, as he dropped a sure touchdown catch from Decker earlier in the game.

"At first, I was real upset and kind of nervous," he said of the initial drop. "Everyone was like, 'Just go back and you will get another one.' Coach told me I would get another one. They were right."

Looking ahead, Somers hopes things will keep moving in the right direction. For a team with Section 1 Class A championship aspirations, it was certainly a quality Week 1 win.

"It starts off the season right," Bicknese said. "Now we are more confident that we can win each game."

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