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Somers Rolls to Section Title

Posted Friday, November 09, 2012 by Robert Lombardo

The urgency behind each Somers movement was evident. There was little wasted energy.

On each long touchdown run, Stefano Bicknese seemed to ease over the goal line rather than stomp through it. On each tackle, Joe Lombardo dragged the ball carrier down and returned to the huddle rather than pound his chest. And when the Tuskers had finally finished Sleepy Hollow 42-13 Thursday night, the team quickly played in the snow pile in the far end zone, but not for more than a few seconds.

Yes, Somers' win over Sleepy Hollow lifted Tony DeMatteo and his program to their first Section 1 championship since 2000, the legendary coach's first year here. But the unbeaten Tuskers (10-0) hope this Class A championship game is just another step on a journey to Syracuse. After all, they play again Monday at 1 against high-powered Cornwall in the state quarterfinals at Mahopac High School.

"We're going to have enough left," Bicknese said. "After this, I'm going home, taking a bath and going to sleep. We're going to be ready to go."

Bicknese always is, of course. The senior earned offensive MVP honors and could've earned defensive honors as well. He rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns, caught a 49-yard score from fellow senior John Decker and intercepted two passes, including the game's first play from scrimmage.

Likewise, defensive MVP honors went to Lombardo, the senior linebacker who anchored a defense that shadowed dangerous Sleepy Hollow quarterback Devin Lopez and harassed him into throwing six interceptions. But Lombardo also rushed for 93 yards and a pair of scores, including one shortly after Bicknese's game-opening interception.

"I can't even describe this feeling," said Lombardo, the third and last brother to star on contending Somers teams. "It's amazing, especially to do it for both of my brothers who came up short. I'm so happy to do this for them."

Despite the final score, the Tuskers held just a 13-7 lead with about two minutes to play in the first half when Connor Vlasaty intercepted Lopez. It led to a 20-yard strike from Decker to Joe Festo that pushed Somers' lead to 21-7 at halftime.

The Headless Horsemen (8-2) had a couple moments in the second half, including a 71-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Dionel Infante. They even forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and recovered it, but Somers stopped the drive with an interception in the end zone.

DeMatteo said his defense moved to confuse Sleepy Hollow's spread offense and Lopez in particular. The junior threw for 158 yards, but had just 19 on the ground.

"He's a scrambler. He's a gamer," DeMatteo said. "The idea was to try and confuse him, which is why we moved around a lot."

The game was moved to Somers shortly after noon Thursday when Mahopac couldn't clear snow from its field, giving the Headless Horsemen what amounted to a road game.

"I don't quite understand why that happened, but what are you going to do?" coach Steve Borys said. "I don't understand a lot that's happened this season, but we had a great run."

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