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Somers oust Harrison

Posted Sunday, November 04, 2012 by Robert Lombardo

Eleven years and a few good chances since the last trip to Mahopac, Somers coach Tony DeMatteo did not find the moment especially significant for all the obvious reasons.

Yes, his Tuskers just beat Harrison to lift the program to its first Section 1 championship game since 2001, but win No. 301 meant no more to the longtime coach than the effort of his players in achieving it.

"If all my teams from now on are like them, I will die on the Somers football field," DeMatteo said.

Or maybe at Mahopac.

The bullish but gifted Tuskers took control early and delivered three key turnovers late to drop previously unbeaten Harrison 28-14 in Saturday's Class A semifinals. They improved to 9-0 and will meet Sleepy Hollow on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Mahopac High School.

The Tuskers are trying for their first championship under DeMatteo since they won it in 2000, DeMatteo's first year.

Somers started quickly, building a 21-0 lead by scoring on all three possessions of the first quarter. Stefano Bicknese established the tone after a short, wind-blown punt, taking the first carry 45 yards for a score. He finished with 137 yards, and fellow senior Joe Lombardo added 116, including 58 on a run that helped burn the final minutes.

After Bicknese's opening touchdown, Matt Morgante scored on a 24-yard run and John Decker threw the first of his two touchdown passes as it appeared the rout was on. Instead, Harrison (8-1) answered with two scores, the last a throwback pass from Cory Calcagni to quarterback Vin Nicita that trimmed the deficit to 21-14.

"That team's a scary team," Somers senior lineman Steven Jennings said. "They came back on John Jay down big. I wasn't totally happy until the clock hit zero because that team doesn't quit. They play to the last second."

That held true in the second half. After a quick stop, Harrison chewed up much of the third quarter on a long drive, its undersized offensive line driving Somers back time and again. The march bled into the fourth quarter when, on a fourth down, Nicita was intercepted by Morgante at the Somers 9.

It was the first of three forced turnovers by the sophomore in the final quarter, none bigger than his strip of junior Mike Amicucci, who rushed for a team-high 87 yards and a score, but was stripped at the Somers 8 as he pushed for more yards with about three minutes to play.

"He just kept fighting," said Morgante, who also recovered a squib kick after Somers scored on the ensuing possession. "My teammates stood him up, so I just tried to claw the ball out. I knew a turnover would be huge."

It was. Harrison coach Art Troilo Jr. had hatched a winning plan before the fumble, believing his team was moments from cutting its deficit to 21-20.

"We were ready to go for two down there," Troilo said. "We had a good play ready to go. We thought they couldn't stop us at that point. Sometimes, that's what happens. You lose the ball and that was it." 



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