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Bob Herzog

Bob Herzog has worked in the sports department at Newsday since 1976. He has covered baseball, football and college basketball.

He has edited and written for several award-winning Newsday special sections on baseball, football and Long Island sports history.

Herzog grew up on Long Island, graduated from Commack High School where he was co-captain of the baseball team, and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

Commack bears down in 2OT and defeats Brentwood on Peter Lopes' game-winner

On a corner kick early in the second overtime, Commack coach Dave Viegas called "Panda." His players called something else. Clearly this wasn't a black-and-white situation.

"I was supposed to go back post," senior midfielder Justin Cebollero said. "But I was there for the cross instead and I headed the pass to Peter. I got a little selfish there. I wanted to put it in the box."

Peter Lopes took the header from Cebollero and quick-footed it past the diving keeper 1:05 into the second overtime period to give the host Cougars a thrilling 1-0 victory over Brentwood Tuesday in a duel of League I and New York State soccer titans. "It's always huge to beat Brentwood," Cebollero said. "We beat them twice in the regular season last year but they beat us in the playoffs. We were thinking about that. We beat one of the best teams in the state."

Entering the game, Brentwood (5-1-1, 3-1-1 in league) was No. 3 in the latest New York State rankings. Commack (7-0-0, 5-0-0) was No. 5 and should move up, thanks to Lopes' first varsity goal.

"I went to bed dreaming about scoring an overtime goal against Brentwood, but I never imagined this," said Lopes, a junior defensive midfielder.

The winning play began with Connor Gill setting up for a corner kick. That's when Viegas yelled "Panda," but a couple of players "shooed me off. They overruled me," Viegas said with a laugh. "I trust these guys. They just went 'stack' instead and their judgment was right. It worked."

That was because Cebollero's header in traffic was perfectly placed. "The defense crashed but Justin's ball was too perfect," Lopes said. "I couldn't miss."

For most of the game, Brentwood held the advantage in both time and territory, thanks to the fancy footwork of stellar junior midfielder Jefferson Portillo, who was all over the field creating opportunities and controlling the ball, especially in the first half. But Cougars keeper Ryan Sinnott, who made 10 saves, was equal to the challenge, making stops on Portillo and Roberto Ventura.

"There will be stretches like that during every game," Sinnott said. "But you have to stay strong. When there are a lot of shots, sometimes it can help you focus and get in a rhythm."

Sinnott and his teammates have had perfect rhythm and harmony all season, as well as some impeccable timing. Lopes' goal was an encore of Cebollero's sudden-death tally last week against Sachem North. "I thought I'd never have that feeling again," Sinnott said.

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Ryun Moore's 145 yards rushing, two TDs, Ken Simco's three TD passes lead Riverhead

Riverhead's endgame philosophy Saturday was simple: more of Moore.

Junior running back Ryun Moore carried seven consecutive times, including the clinching touchdown with 1:15 left on a 3-yard run up the gut as the Blue Waves defeated Smithtown East, 39-27, in a Suffolk II shootout before a standing-room-only crowd at Riverhead.

"I had no problem with the load," said Moore, who had a busy day with 29 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns and is also a starting linebacker. "I didn't know I'd get the ball every time at the end, but the coaches told me ball security was the most important thing."

In fact, there were no turnovers by either team, just plenty of big plays on offense. Moore's other touchdown was on a 2-yard run, but most of the scoring came on long-distance calls. Like when Smithtown East's Nick Cutrone dialed up a spectacular 81-yard kickoff return for a first-quarter touchdown that produced a 14-8 lead. Or when Steven Reid redialed with a 56-yard scoring reception on a deep sideline pass from Ken Simco (9-for-18, 184 yards, three touchdowns) to give the Blue Waves a 15-14 lead.

Clearly, there were no roaming charges, as the Bulls' John Daniggelis (11-for-22 for 187 yards and two touchdowns) lofted a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Whiting for a 21-15 lead that was erased when Reid again formed a perfect connection with Simco for a 45-yard touchdown and a 22-21 lead that the Blue Waves held onto despite some stress.

Riverhead made a statement to open the second half with a 12-play drive that covered 63 yards and chewed up 7:02. It ended with Simco throwing a 20-yard TD pass to Mark Andrejack on a screen pass. "They have a lot of two-way starters so that drive was key," Riverhead coach Leif Shay said. "They were on the field a long time then had to stay out there on offense. I thought we wore them down a little."

That showed up when the Bulls' offensive line could not adequately protect Daniggelis in the second half when he took three of his five sacks, two by defensive end Troy Trent, and was under steady duress. Daniggelis produced one more big play in the third quarter, a dizzying 41-yard scamper on a quarterback draw that brought East to within 32-27.

"The kid is quick and elusive," Trent said, "but we eventually shut him down. As a d-end, my job was to make sure he wasn't stepping up in the pocket and to hold outside contain."

Still, Daniggelis nearly pulled it out. He had the Bulls driving with two consecutive first downs midway through the fourth quarter. But on third-and-nine he was harassed by Trent into an incompletion and his fourth-down pass that would've gained first-down yardage was dropped with 5:40 left.

Then it was Moore to the left, Moore to the right -- for gains of 12 and 17 yards -- and on second-and-goal from the 3, it was one Moore time -- up the middle for the touchdown that ensured the victory.

"It was a nerve-wracking game," Moore said. "It wasn't fun when we couldn't stop them. Then I got in a rhythm and built up my confidence. I definitely got better as the game went on."

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Chris Rosati's 111 yards, TD helps Shoreham-Wading River end Babylon's 25-game winning streak

The bus carrying Shoreham-Wading River's football team broke down on the way to Friday night's game at Babylon, causing the Wildcats to arrive late for their encounter with the two-time defending Long Island Class IV champions, who were riding a 25-game winning streak.

That streak suffered the same fate as the yellow school bus. It came to a screeching halt.

Shoreham-Wading River used a rock-solid defense that forced three turnovers to hold off Babylon, 9-7, in a tense Suffolk IV skirmish.

"We knew we had to grind it out," Wildcats running back and linebacker Chris Rosati said.

He was the chief grinder. Rosati gained 111 tough yards on 20 carries and bounced off a tackle for a 7-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, the only scoring play until the fourth quarter. He also played a vital role on a defensive unit that wilted on only one drive.

Shoreham-Wading River (2-0), which hadn't beaten Babylon since 2005, grabbed a 9-0 lead on Dan Cassidy's 25-yard field goal with 5:35 remaining. That timely boot actually kick-started a desperate Babylon offense.

Ron Woodhull completed 4 of 5 passes on a 69-yard scoring drive that took only 1:01. His 34-yard touchdown toss to Stephen Schweitzer plus Ronnie Pashun's kick stirred the crowd, which sensed a dramatic comeback.

But Rosati didn't subscribe to that theory. Even though most of the Panthers and their fans knew the 5-9, 175-pound junior likely would be getting the ball, they couldn't stop him -- or quarterback Danny Hughes (16 carries, 61 yards) -- when they had to.

"I had total confidence in my offensive line," Rosati said.

Rosati ripped through the right side for a 15-yard gain and a first down on a third-and-5. Then Hughes carried twice more for another clock-killing first down. By the time the Panthers forced a punt, less than a minute remained.

After Woodhull misfired on two passes, sophomore defensive end Ethan Wiederkehr broke through for consecutive sacks that clinched the Wildcats' first-ever victory at Babylon, according to Wiederkehr's father, Hans. He would know. The Shoreham-Wading River assistant was the coach at Babylon when the Wildcats began their program.

"Babylon always throws the first punch, but our mind-set was that we would throw the first punch," Ethan Wiederkehr said. "We did it with that first touchdown. At the end, my adrenaline was pumping.

"I knew if I got to the quarterback, the game was over."

So was Long Island's longest current winning streak.

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