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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.

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

Babylon running back Stephen Schweitzer takes the pass
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Babylon running back Stephen Schweitzer takes the pass upfield in a game against Shoreham-Wading River on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014.(Credit: George A. Faella)

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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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Goal-line stand saves Farmingdale in its 10-7 win over Massapequa

Massapequa's Paul Dilena runs the ball while Farmingdale's
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Massapequa's Paul Dilena runs the ball while Farmingdale's Tommy McPartland gets ready to make a tackle during a game on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014.(Credit: Bob Sorensen)

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A gritty goal-line stand by Farmingdale in the rain and mud Saturday proved that the 100th yard on a football field can be the longest yard.

The Dalers turned back host Massapequa four times and held on for a 10-7 Nassau I victory in a season-opening game for both teams in which all the points were scored in the first half, before the heavy rain began to fall.

"When the game was on the line, we owned up on the goal-line stand," Farmingdale coach Buddy Krumenacker said.

Massapequa took advantage of a blocked quick kick and moved from the Dalers' 44 to the 1. Chris Bacotti's 25-yard burst put the home team at the 15. Paul Dilena dragged tacklers with him on a 9-yard run to the 6 and Bacotti squirted through a small opening to set up the Chiefs with first-and-goal at the 1.

On first down, Dilena (13 carries, 84 yards, TD) rammed the ball inside but the Dalers' interior line didn't budge, stopping Dilena for a 2-yard loss. They weren't surprised. "Who else would you give it to but him?" Krumenacker said.

On second down, a poor snap cost the Chiefs four more yards. On third-and-goal from the 7, Bacotti was stopped for no gain. On fourth down, Brad Baldinger lofted a pass toward Griffin Barnathan on a fade pattern in the right corner of the end zone, but Naquan Warren was there to bat it down.

There was still 1:59 left and a chance for Massapequa to get the ball back with a defensive stand. But Michael Outing carried four straight times up the middle for 24 yards, allowing the Dalers to nail down a season-opening victory in a rematch of last season's county championship game.

"I definitely was thinking, 'Just hold onto the ball,' " said Outing, who carried 19 times for 84 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that matched Dilena's 9-yard scoring run in the first quarter. "I knew I had to keep two hands on the ball."

The ball was slippery all afternoon, even in the first half when there was no rain. Dilena's touchdown was set up when Frank Americo broke through and blocked Zach Kolodny's punt. Outing's score came five plays after Danny McKeon intercepted a long pass and returned it 54 yards to the Massapequa 26.

"I'm the nickel back but in that situation I wound up as the free safety," McKeon said. "I drifted to the trips side and saw the ball all the way. On the return, it was just straight green grass. I was hoping I could get into the end zone."

The game-winning points, Kolodny's 22-yard field goal, came after the Dalers stopped a Massapequa drive into the red zone on Nick Campo's strip sack and fumble recovery.

"Both teams had bad things happen to them," Krumenacker said.

Until Farmingdale made something good happen near the end. "Those are the plays you have to make if you want to advance and hopefully be a champion," Krumenacker said.

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