By Rick Murphy
And then there were two. The high school football season is over for most teams, but the Riverhead Blue Waves and the Westhampton Hurricanes play on.
Riverhead, the second seed in Suffolk's Division II, brought West Babylon back to reality Saturday, besting the Cinderella team 30-14. Babylon, the eighth seed, stunned top seed West Islip last week to earn a semifinal berth.
This time around though, it was Riverhead's potent offense that took center stage. Jeremiah Cheatom proved to be the workhorse on this day. The bruising tailback was given the ball 33 times, and he responded by picking up 135 yards and scoring two touchdowns. That's the way the Waves (8-2) operate -- bang it on the ground, then go upstairs when the defense tries to adjust.
Quarterback Ryan Blitzer, who scored Riverhead's first touchdown on a four yard run in the first stanza, hooked up with Quinn Funn on a 75 yard strike to give his team a 21-7 third quarter lead.
Blitzer finished with 12 completions in 17 attempts for 202 yards. On defense, Riverhead pressured West Babylon's Clifton Mehado all afternoon and Matt Hejmej recorded a safety that put the game out of reach. The loss ended the Eagles magical ride and gave them a 5-5 record for the year.
Riverhead squares off against fifth seed North Babylon (7-3) at Stony Brook University Sunday for the Division II title. The locale of the title game bodes well for Leif Shay's charges, the Waves won the county championship at Stony Brook in 2003 and the Long island championship in 2008. Riverhead beat North Babylon 48-22 earlier in the season.
The joyride also continues for Westhampton. The Hurricanes, the third seed, playing in the Division III semifinals, knocked off second seed Miller Place 19-14 Saturday. Quarterback Jack Murphy provided the fireworks, nailing 15 of 20 attempts for 139 and two scores. The upset avenges a 34-0 thumping at the hands of Miller Place in October.
Brian Corrigan was the defensive star for the winners. Twice he stymied fourth quarter charges by Miller Place, forcing a fumble to halt one drive and, in the waning seconds, sacking Ryan Gray as the Panthers were driving for what would have been the winning score.
The Hurricanes have their work cut out for them Saturday when they take on Sayville at Stony Brook in a 4 PM affair -- The Golden Flashes, the defending Long Island champions, are once again undefeated (10-0). They crushed Huntington 41-14 to advance to the title game.