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Somers Sends Panas Packing

Posted Saturday, October 13, 2012 by Robert Lombardo
Much has been made around Section 1 this season with non-league games not counting towards the playoffs. Whether or not its game with Walter Panas counted, Somers didn’t care. The Tuskers wanted to make a statement.

Mission accomplished.

Somers (6-0) raced out to a huge lead and beat Panas 41-14 on senior night at Somers High School.

“We absolutely wanted to make a statement against them,” Somers quarterback John Decker said. “We knew they were a borderline playoff team and our towns don’t get along.”

Decker didn’t waste anytime making a personal statement. Somers, known for its Wing-T offense, came out throwing and Decker hit Joe Festo for a 45-yard touchdown less than three minutes into the game.

Festo caught four passes from Decker for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He also returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown to give the Tuskers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

“Joe is a freak athlete, he can do anything,” Decker said. “He really showed how special he is with the ball in his hands tonight.”

Festo returned another punt for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a penalty.

“Today was my best games by far in my career,” Festo said. “John throws every ball perfectly, we’ve been doing it since eighth grade, he’s awesome.”

With the Decker to Festo connection working, Somers is as balanced as they’ve ever been. Make no mistake; this team is still carried on the backs of its runners and offensive line. Fullback Joe Lombardo had nine carries for 116 yards and a touchdown. Stefano Bicknese continued to prove his new nickname should be “Big play” Bicknese with a 42-yard touchdown (and two others called back). He finished with 11 carries for 113 yards and a score.

“We proved today that we have more playmakers than just Joey and Stefano,” Decker said. “When Joe’s in single coverage, I’m throwing it to him every time.”

Somers led 34-0 at the half against the Panthers who have lost two straight after starting the season 4-0. With the loss not affecting Panas’ playoff hopes in the Piner System, it can focus on its true rivalry game with Lakeland next week.

Somers faces winless Eastchester in the final week of the regular season hoping to lock up the one seed in the Section 1 Class A-1 league.

“We’re focused on Eastchester next week, hopefully we win,” Festo said. “We’re not worried about who we play in the first round of the playoffs yet.”

John Brophy led Panas on the ground with 13 carries for 67 yards. James Jackson added 49 yards and a second-half touchdown for the Panthers.

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