Friday, 16 October 2009 00:00
The 10-year-old East Rockaway Raiders ran into a buzz saw at John Walker Field Oct. 10 when they arrived to take on the Hicksville Crusaders. After suffering a bitter defeat at the hands of the Bellmore Braves last week, the Crusaders were more than ready to exact revenge on the Raiders.
Hicksville’s versatility came into focus almost immediately, when they used all of their running backs on the first drive of the game. Stephen Ketelsen, who thankfully got back into action after missing two games, as well as Connor McPartland, Julian Franco and Ryan McBride, took turns hammering away at the Raiders defense. Twelve plays and 70 yards later, Hicksville was poised to score. Ketelsen, behind a superb block by Connor Dalton, also back from an injury, took it across the goal line. After a successful try for the extra point, the score was 7-0 in Hicksville favor.
When the black and orange defense took over, they consistently punished the silver and black running backs. Impressive tackles by Nicholas Delaney and T.J. Delfino terminated any raider progress. Connor McPartland’s fumble recovery gave the ball back to the Crusaders.
Later in the half, Stephen Ketelsen returned a Raider’s punt to the 10-yard line. Three plays later, McPartland’s powered the ball in for the score. On the ensuing kickoff East Rockaway returned the ball to the Crusaders 10-yard line. After three plays, the Raiders scored their only tally of the game. At the half, Hicksville let 13-6.
East Rockaway had its best drive of the game to open the second half moving the ball all the way to Hicksville’s 11-yard line. In what would be described as the key to the game, the Crusaders put on a prolific display of defense. Tackles by Nick Austin, Tay-Veon Johnson, Vincent Barretta and Joe Sarni, shut down the Raiders offense completely, keeping them out of the end zone.
Subsequently, Hicksville launched their own drive. Although it did not result in a score, once again the Crusaders version of the four horseman, McBride, McPartland, Franco and Ketelsen took the ball from their own 7-yard line to the Raiders’ 14.
Hicksville’s defense behind Sean Lewis, Peter Capel and Alex Parciak made sure that East Rockaway would not get a first down. McPartland put the game out of reach when he cut and slashed his way into the end zone, making the score 19-6 in favor of the Crusaders. Additionally, quarterback Peter Capel, who has quietly assumed the role of leader on the team, has, like any good field general, gained the respect of all of his teammates as he leads his squad to victory.