Pellegrino's 5 touchdowns lead Connetquot
The finishing touch to the start of Mike Pellegrino's senior season was a dazzling display of power and balance.
Photo credit: Photo by Joseph D. Sullivan | Connetquot's Mike Pellegrino (34) breaks into the secondary for a long gain in the first half of the game. (Sept. 11, 2010)
The Connetquot running back, humble despite his virtuoso performance of five touchdowns against Northport in yesterday's Suffolk League I football game, just had to explain how he really felt about his captivating 87-yard TD run in Connetquot's 40-26 victory.
"I cramped up and [fullback] Taylor Goldson pushed me down the field,'' the 5-9, 180-pound Pellegrino said. "He grabbed me out the pile.''
OK, give Goldson an assist.
"What an amazing football player,'' lineman Kenny Drew said of Pellegrino. "We all love him like a brother."
Pellegrino carried the ball 22 times for 280 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He scored the game's first touchdown on a 25-yard pass from Kevin Jadick, who quarterbacked his first game for the Thunderbirds and completed 7 of 14 passes for 121 yards.
Pellegrino and Jadick are best of friends in football and lacrosse. Pellegrino is headed to Johns Hopkins on a lacrosse scholarship and the All-Long Island performer in both sports finds himself explaining why he isn't pursuing college football. "It's close,'' Pellegrino said. "I love football, there's no game like football. But going to Johns Hopkins, it's the lacrosse capital.''
Spring is a long ways off and there's plenty of football remaining. No one picked Connetquot to do much this season, but Pellegrino's presence may change all of that. He's a terrific two-way player and proved that as a linebacker, where he had four sacks.
The game was close until late in the fourth quarter. The score was tied at 26 with Northport on the Connetquot 18 when a fumble turned the ball over to the Thunderbirds.
Pellegrino would be instrumental in the go-ahead score.
"He wants the ball in the pressure situations,'' Connetquot coach Mike Hansen said. "They turned the ball over, gave us and opportunity and the kids did a good job of taking advantage of it.''
A 19-yard-run by Pellegrino and long gains by Michael Pinto and Goldson advanced the ball to the Northport 14. Jadick scored on a 14-yard run with 2:19 left. That turned into a 33-26 lead and any hope Northport had of coming back was squashed when defensive back Tommy McInerney made his second interception of the game.
Pellegrino capped it off with a long gallop that delighted the visiting Connetquot fans.
The day started on an emotional note with a contingent of of bagpipers playing in tribute to the victims of 9/11. It ended with the teams saluting each other at midfield with hearty handshake and embraces.
"They were great sports,'' Pellegrino said of Northport. "A great team to play against.''
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