DeMatteo’s Tuskers Stake Claim in 42-13 Rout of Sleepy: Somers Wins Section 1 Class A Crown, Draw Praise from Tuskers Past, Present

We are part of The Trust Project

The comparisons that started back in early August ended last Thursday night when Somers High clinched its second Section 1 football championship in 12 years, taking a one-sided 42-13 Class A triumph over visiting Sleepy Hollow and advancing into the NYS tournament for the second time since 2000. There were those that compared legendary Coach Tony DeMatteo’s last two Somers championship teams all year long, but, truth be told, the 2000 team could not match up physically with the 2012 version.

Tuskers take leap of faith into snow pile after winning Section 1 Class title last Thursday night at Somers. Photo by Ray Gallagher

Forget “Possibly”; (the 2012 Tuskers) are UNDOUBTEDLY the best team in Somers history,” said Jeff Weiner, the QB of to the 2000 Tuskers. “That’s the best QB, best wide receiver and the best O-line Somers has ever had!”

Weiner left the running back spot open for dialogue, having seen former Tuskers Jordan Rabidou and Rob Smith with his own two eyes, but there were many on hand last Thursday who closed it out, including senior captain Stefano “Beast” Bicknese, who copped the offensive MVP honors with a standout performance that included 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns, plus a 49-yard touchdown grab from slick-spinning QB John Decker (4 for 5, 82 yards, two TDs).

“This was a whole team effort, it’s not only me out there,” Bicknese said when informed of his monster state line. “The line does their job, Joey (Lombardo) does a hell of a job running and blocking for me. Everybody does their part, and I just have to do mine. This feels amazing, to have prepared for this since the last day of last season, and to have it pay off like this is amazing. We wanted it more than anybody out there. I have tremendous respect for Coach DeMatteo and couldn’t ask for a better coach… this is for him.”

Somers MLB Joe Lombardo scooped up defensive MVP honors, racking up a game-high 15 tackles (10 solos) on one side of the ball while chipping in with 93 yards and two touchdowns on 18 totes. It was, without question, Lombardo’s signature moment as a Tusker.

“It feels awesome,” Lombardo said. “It’s good to get this for my brothers (both of whom narrowly missed out). I’m so glad I can do it for them. (Sleepy) came out really tough and we just kept playing our game, and our coaches told us they would wear down if we did. It just worked out for us. It’s a great honor to win this for Coach DeMatteo. He just devotes so much time and effort. It’s amazing to do this for him.”

The Tusker defense was at its finest: totaling six interceptions of Sleepy Hollow quarterback Devin Lopez, including two by Bicknese, who added six tackles (five solo). Somers senior Jason Falasca had six tackles while Robert Pontbriand added five for the Tuskers, who limited Sleepy to just 60 yards on the ground. Connor Vlasaty, Chris Scavelli, Joe Spor and Alex Corpolongo each picked off a pass in what Coach DeMatteo called a consummate team effort.

“This team is a special group,” DeMatteo said after securing the 302nd win of his legendary career. “They want to learn, the like to practice and when you get kids to do that you always have a chance. This team has really touched my heart. Stefano Bicknese is a warrior. He comes to play, he plays 100% every rep, he never gives up and sooner or later he gets it done. This O-line is the best I’ve had since I came here (in 2000). They made a commitment to work hard, to train and we had a college type of pre-season and this is the result.

“I’ll reflect on it when it’s over, but with this ridiculous schedule we’re faced with, I don’t have the chance to do so right now,” DeMatteo added. “We have no choice but to get ready for the next one.”

The key series in the game came after a Sleepy score midway through the second quarter. Lopez’s touchdown to Zeke Sierra cut the lead to 13-7, and Sleepy went on-sides with the ensuing kick, which Somers recovered near midfield. After the Headless Horsemen forced a punt, they regained possession with a little over two minutes remaining, pinned inside the Tusker 10. Vlasaty intercepted Lopez, setting up a 20-yard pivotal touchdown pass from Decker to Joe Festo, who beat two dudes like rented mules for a 21-7 halftime lead. Decker then found Bicknese on the 49-yarder midway through the third for a 35-7 lead and the rout was then official.

Lombardo scored first, a 4-yard airborne burst (Josh Riger PAT good). Bicknese went in from a yard for a 13-0 lead (PAT failed). Bicknese sealed the deal with an easy 36-yard stroll (Riger PAT). Tim Cousin, who will take over the QB reigns next season, was 2-for-2 for 13 yards. The Somers O-line – Robert Pontrbriand, Dylan Owen, Dan Campbell, and twins Steven and Sean Jennings — opened holes for 300 yards on the ground.
“Nothing compares to this,” said Decker, “nothing! It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life, especially to be out here with my best friends.  Sleepy was tough and that’s what we expected. We didn’t come in here expecting a pushover and it wasn’t. My offensive line is special, and our coaches had us prepared, and as far as Coach DeMatteo goes; he’s a better person than he is a coach and that’s saying something considering his coaching talent.”

With the outcome still in doubt before halftime, Sleepy QB Lopez was picked off by Vlasaty and momentum swung from there, according to Sleepy boss Steve Borys. With time ticking down before the half, Decker put a 20-yard scoring strike on Festo, and the two-point conversion put the Tuskers ahead by two scores going into the break. Borys admitted the Vlasaty pick and subsequent score was huge.


“That was a big turning point,” Borys said. “We were feeling like we were gonna go into halftime up 14-13 and certainly it’d be a whole different story if that happened.”

But it didn’t and Somers can thank Dylan Abetecola, Matthew Alfonzetti  Joseph Andriano, Matt Arita, Danny Arriaza, Pat Badia, Stefano Bicknese, Daniel Campbell, Erik Carnazza, Johnny Chrysogelos, Alex Corpolongo, Timothy Cousin, Conor Cousin, Jason Falasca, Tim Fazzinga, Joseph Festo, Marc Fiocco, Griffin Haas, Steven Jennings, Sean Jennings, Joe Lombardo, Chris Marasco, Will McDermott, Manny Mendoza, Nicholas Messina, Nicholas Mignoli, Matt Morgante, Raymond Mounayar, Peter Mueller, Brendan O’Donoghue, Dylan Owen, Joe Palumbo, Robert Pontbriand, Joshua Riger, Brett Rozell, Chris Scavelli, Manho Sin, Brandon Spadafora, Joe Spor and Connor Vlasaty for that.




We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.