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Thunderbirds Beat Ward Melville 41-8

Posted Sunday, October 19, 2008 by Michael Konsevitch

Connetquot flattens Ward-Melville, 41-8

It was one of those games that you need a magnifying glass to find the mistakes. The Connetquot football team was physical, running backs hit the holes, the passing game was effective and the defense was physical and punishing. Coaches need something to yell about, right? Well, Connetquot did commit some penalties and allowed a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but besides that the host T-Birds were flying high.

Connetquot crushed Ward Melville, 41-8, yesterday in a Suffolk Division I game for its fifth consecutive win after opening the season with a one-point loss to Longwood. Ward Melville is 2-4.

Connetquot (5-1) was without running back/linebacker Jeremy Leggiero, who was out with a sprained knee, but a slew of players made up for his absence.

Alex Lorenzo had eight tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery, Ryan Lanigan had six tackles and a fumble recovery, and Gregg Sarra Jr. had two of the team's five fumble recoveries.

 "Our defense picked it up with a big player out," Lanigan said. "They didn't get any big plays."

Connetquot did on offense. Joe Pellegrino scored on a 80-yard run on the T-Birds' second play from scrimmage with 7:30 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0.

Joseph Zuco scored on a 25-yard run on the second play of the second quarter to make it 14-0 and on the ensuing kickoff, Lanigan recovered a fumble leading to a 37-yard TD pass from Ryan Andersen to Jon Sternbach.

The two connected again on a 7-yard score for a 28-0 lead with 7:55 left in the first half.

Connetquot left Ward Melville coach Craig Perrino throughly impressed.

"The offensive line is phenomenal," Perrino said. "We knew the quarterback was good from last season. On film he threw the ball OK. Then he threw it really well today. We thought they would run a lot. Now they're a dual threat. They're physical and tough kids."

Andersen went 8 of 10 for 143 yards with two TDs and Sternbach had six receptions for 92 yards and two TDs as Connetquot had 473 yards of total offense.

Pellegrino rushed for 178 yards on 11 carries with two TDs and Zuco had 80 yards on eight carries with two TDs.

" He needed that," Connetquot coach Mike Hansen said. "He's a real good quarterback. He's been struggling a little bit. We've been running the ball so well that he hasn't had a lot of chances to pass and get in a rhythm."

Said Sternbach: "It was good to get the passing game clicking. We proved we can pass. Andersen played great and we're going to need it down the line."

And they will need everything against Floyd (6-0) Saturday, when the T-Birds try to end the Colonials' Long Island record 39-game winning streak.

"We're really looking forward to playing Floyd," Lorenzo said. "We always talk about them. We know they're good. They have no weak spots. They're a well-oiled machine."

The sentiment among the T-Birds is they have a lot of respect for Floyd and know it will be an arduous task, but believe they will be very competitive.

"Floyd's a very good team," Lanigan said. "We want to beat them. Everyone wants to beat them. We know they're a tough team. We think we have a chance against them."

Said Sternbach: "We respect them, but at the same time we want to beat them. I think we have a chance. It's going to be tough."

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