The Thunderbirds defeated a very good Commack team 28-21 victory on Saturday behind another great team effort of a group of individuals with a lot of heart. With the victory, the Thunderbirds improved their record to 6-2 and finished as Division I Big Four Champions for the third straight year. Since the switch to Divisions from Leagues in 1992, the Thunderbirds have captured Division I Big Four Championships in five seasons- 1992, 1994, 2008, 2009, 2010. By finishing in 4th place, Connetquot will have a first round home playoff game this week on Saturday at 2 pm. The Thunderbirds will host the 5th place Northport Tigers.
Mike Pellegrino continued his candidacy for the Hansen Award, given to the best player in Suffolk County, by having another game for the ages. He ran the ball for 277 yards on 34 carries scoring four touchdowns. He, also, had a reception for eight yards and returned a punt for 23 yards. Defensively he was unblockable, once again, making eight tackles, two for a loss, getting a sack, and breaking up a pass. This was all done with Commack trying to run away from him. Pellegrino has had an outstanding season building off last year's great season where he was a finalist for the Hansen Award. On the season he has 1212 yards rushing, over 1400 total yards, 17 touchdowns, 100 tackles, 17 for a loss, 9 quarterback sacks, and has proven to be one of the best leaders Connetquot has ever had.
Nick Cascio has enjoyed an outstanding season displaying toughness on every single play. Defensively he has continued to be a tough player to block and has done a great job beating up tight ends all season. On Saturday he made four tackles and had three attempts for 12 yards but what he did does not show up in statistics. He was disrupting Commack's offense all afternoon and was a bruising blocker at the fullback/tight end position. Enough great things can not be said of Cascio's play and he is a big part to the Thunderbirds success this season.
TJ DeGirolamo has enjoyed a great season from his C position and has played terrific when put on the defensive side of the football. On Saturday he played more on defense than expected and rose to the occassion. DeGirolamo paved the way for almost 300 rushing yards and made five key tackles as a defensive end. All season he has displayed great leadership and has performed at a top level in each and every game.
Dan Pamlanye, a sophomore, has exceeded expectations all season. He has been a two-way starter all season and very rarely comes out of the game. He is another "Warrior" on a team full of them. An extremely tough and physical player, Pamlanye was in on only two tackles but he was consistently double-teamed and blew up gaps. Offensively he continued to be a reliable and key blocker whether the Thunderbirds are running or passing the football. Gaining almost 400 yards of total offense, the Thunderbirds owe a huge thank you to big Danny.
Elvis Marchand has been a two-way starter all season too. He has played a solid offensive line and has raised his level of play as a defensive linemen. He was a key component in the running game and defensively made some nice plays of shedding his blockers versus Commack. He had two tackles, one for a loss, and a quarterback sack. All season he has been consistent and reliable in helping the Thunderbirds to a terrific season.
Tommy McInerney had another excellent game. T-Mac had three great receptions for 38 yards and made some nice blocks downfield. Defensively he showed good leadership and made five tackles, broke up a pass, and forced a fumble. He has enjoyed a great season having made 58 tackles, six for a loss, seven interceptions for 74 return yards, forced two fumbles, recovered one, broke up four passes, a quarterback sack, and has 20 receptions for 326 yards and four touchdowns.
Another two-way starter, Steve Compitello continues to make highlight-type plays for the Thunderbirds. He had four excellent receptions for 39 yards, had three great returns for 50 yards, made three key tackles, broke up a pass, and provided some great coverage all afternoon. Compitello who is second on the team in receptions and receiving yards has been enjoying a terrific season returning the ball too. Very rarely is he not on the field and with all the great things he does it is no surprise that he is on every special teams too.
Nick Reisig had a very good game too from another two-way player. Reisig made some nice blocks from his tight end position and had a key 16-yard reception. Defensively he made four tackles and broke up two passes. A very tough player, Reisig has done a great job from his corner position all season and has done a terrific job as a tight end as well.
Other great games were turned in by Mike Pinto (four tackles, a pass break-up), Joe Cirrone (nine tackles, a tackle for loss, and a 1/2 quarterback sack), Mike Cella (4/4 on PAT's, two touchbacks), and Josh Sherer (great blocking).
The Thunderbirds are a team that has played with a great deal of heart, passion, and courage all season. It is collectively made up of a bunch of Warriors and they have made us all real proud this season. Come down and show your support for the Thunderbirds as they host the Northport Tigers in a first round playoff game on Saturday, November 6 at 2 pm at Connetquot High School. Northport are winners of three straight games, have a lot of talent, and are very well-coached.