The Thunderbirds beat Longwood 12-7 in the Division I Semi-Finals to improve to 8-2 and advance to the Suffolk County Championship on Friday, November 21, at 7 PM at Stony Brook University. The Thunderbirds will face an excellent Lindenhurst team that also comes in at 8-2.
Every member of the team was named Players of the Week for their enormous effort on Friday night and the week leading up to the game. The win was a total-team effort and each member of the team should be extremely proud of the contribution they have made this season.
In the 12-7 victory over a very strong Longwood team the T-Birds offense had 293 total yards of offense, 207 on the ground. Joe Zuco led the way with 128 yards on 23 carries and had the game-winning touchdown with 1:14 left in the game. Jeremy Leggiero added 62 yards rushing on 15 carries. The running was made possible by an outstanding offensive line. John Smith, Mike Compitello, Kevin McHale, Ryan Lanigan, DJ Pamlanye, Alex Lorenzo, Andrew Grogan, and the receivers and fullbacks have done a tremendous job all season long. These individuals have made the Thunderbirds offense be considered one of the top offenses in Suffolk County.
Ryan Andersen threw for 86 yards and a touchdown and helped guide the offense the entire night doing a great job controlling the offense. Jon Sternbach had 80 yards receiving and sparked the offense from the second play from scrimmage scoring on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Andersen. Mike Pellegrino had a terrific game with the returns, returning three kicks for 70 yards and giving the offense some real good field position. A huge thanks goes out to the Scout D who made the offense much better by doing a great job in practice.
Defensively the Thunderbirds had an outstanding game. They held Longwood to 189 total yards of offense and only 30 yards in the entire second half. The defense has played extremely well all year and enough can't be said about the way they played on Friday night. There was a swarm to the ball on almost every play.
John Smith and Jeremy Leggiero had 12 tackles, Kurt Johnson had 11 tackles, Cody Elsis had 7 tackles, and Brian McIlvain, in his first game back from injury, had 5 tackles and played awesome. During the game the defense stopped Longwood two different times in the Red Zone. On the last drive, Brandon Carnevale came up with a huge sack and Jon Sternbach had the game-clinching interception to seal the victory. A huge thanks goes to the Scout O who worked really hard in practice and made the team better during each practice.
The Thunderbirds become the fifth T-Birds team to reach the Suffolk County Championship game joining the 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1994 teams that made it. Connetquot Thunderbirds were Suffolk County Champs in 1989, 1992, and 1994. The team, also, becomes the fifth team to win at least 8 games joining those other teams. Congratulations to the entire team. Enough can't be said about the dedication, hard work, passion, and team unity that has been put forth this season.