Friday, 07 December 2012 00:00
The 9-year-old Mineola Chiefs football team repeated as the Nassau County Youth Football League Class A champions, beating the Rosedale Jets 6-0 on Nov. 18 in overtime.
After posting a record of 7-0-1, the Chiefs, led by head coach Mike Cavallaro, advanced to the Class A playoffs. They beat the Bellmore Braves 14-0 and advanced to the championship game, against the previously undefeated Jets. Both teams ranked at the top in scoring during the regular season, but this game turned out to be a defensive battle.
Coach Paul Selhorn’s defense held the Jets to minimal yards for the entire game. Led by Tyler Burke, James Kapralos and Joe Iadevaia, the Chiefs were able to hold the Jets high-powered offense in check.
Even when the Jets took the air, the Chiefs had solid coverage by Tommy Sluka and Luke Orbon, who also had a crucial interception. On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs were able to move the ball with positive runs by Caleb Johnson and Patrick Selhorn. However, they were never able to reach the end zone for a score.
Regulation ended in a 0-0 tie, and for the second consecutive year, the Chiefs would have to win the championship in overtime. After winning the coin toss, the Jets received the ball with four chances to score from the Mineola 10-yard line.
As the ball was snapped on third down, Robert Dimilia was able to knock the ball loose for a fumble. Henry Villa recovered the ball, giving the Chiefs four chances to win the championship.
Down to their last chance on fourth down from the one-yard line, Sluka handed the ball to Caleb Johnson, who was able to break through the defensive line for the touchdown and seal the championship.
The players and parents thanked Cavallaro, Selhorn, Dave Burke and Mike Bencivenga for their service.