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November 20, 2013

Riverhead Advances To County Title Game



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Riverhead continued its inexorable quest for the Suffolk County title Saturday, besting Newfield 34-20. The Blue Waves, seeking their second consecutive Division II crown, once again showed their ability to adapt to game conditions, adjust the offense and defense as needed, and then put their opponent away.

The one ingredient that never changes, though, is Jeremiah Cheatom. There is one certainty, one constant in every game Riverhead plays – Coach Bill Hedges and company are going to feed Cheatom the pigskin, and the talented tailback is going to churn out yardage.

Newfield did not make it easy on the locals. After falling behind 12-0 in the first quarter the visitors stormed back to take a 20-19 halftime lead, one coming on a run by the talented fullback Joe Saladino. Up until that point the Wolverines had kept Cheatom in check, though the youngster scored on a nine-yard run in the first stanza.

Credit quarterback Kenny Simco, who played a near perfect game. His 36-yard pass to Daren Jefferson in the second quarter served notice to the visitors -- the Wolverines were forced to respect the Riverhead air attack, and Cheatom took full advantage.

A relentless, 99-yard drive ended with Cheatoms's 22-yard touchdown run early in the final stanza. Minutes later, the knockout punch: a 79-yard run through and over the tiring Newfield defense – by Jeremiah, of course.

Simco finished a remarkable 9 of 10 passing, good for 123 yards. Cheatom racked up 221 yards rushing and tallied three touchdowns. Unsung hero Mike Van Bommel was singled out by Hedges for his work on the defensive side, as was tackle John Lee. The pair combined for 20 tackles.

The title game will take place Friday night at 7:30 at Stony Brook University. Fittingly, the opponent will be third seeded East Islip (8-2) a team that it just so happens dealt the locals their only defeat of the season 50-36. Revenge will be on the menu.

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