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CSH uses memory of fallen former classmate to propel team to big Nassau IV win

Raymond Costa #12 of Cold Spring Harbor cuts

Raymond Costa #12 of Cold Spring Harbor cuts back and passes his blockers Ethan Burdo #61 and Anthony Naccarato #52 late in the first half at Cold Spring Harbor High School on Oct 19, 2018. Credit: Dan De Mato

Richie Striano typically wears No. 22 for Cold Spring Harbor, but in the Seahawks’ homecoming game against West Hempstead on Friday night, he donned No. 5. The junior did this to honor the memory of his former classmate and best friend, Ryan Mullen, who wore that number for the school’s soccer team before transferring to St. Anthony’s.

Mullen died tragically on Sept. 23 as the result of an accident. It was less than a month before his 16th birthday.

“For me to do this was a natural,” Striano said after Cold Spring Harbor’s 40-8 Nassau IV football victory. “I’d like to think I did him right tonight.”

Many in the stands wore shirts that were a tribute to Mullen, and they might have cheered loudest when Striano scored the game’s first points on a 5-yard run. It was the beginning of 40 unanswered points for the Seahawks (6-1), who control their destiny for a home postseason game.

“All of us knew him, and so it made an important game for us even more important,” said quarterback Ray Costa, who was 7-for-8 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 37 yards.

Costa has a pair of big targets to throw to in 6-2 Casey Reynolds and 6-4 Aidan Adomaites, and he hit each with a touchdown pass.

On the first play of CSH’s second possession, he found Reynolds behind the defense for a 91-yard touchdown pass. Costa hit Adomaites with an 8-yard touchdown pass in a staggering stretch of the third quarter in which the Seahawks put up 20 points in a span of 6:15. The other touchdowns in that span came on Luke DeNatale’s 5-yard run and Tom Milana’s 55-yard punt return, with a key block thrown by Jake Bruno.

“They are big, but they also have great speed on the outside, which is why they get open behind the defense,” Costa said of his wideouts.

Adomaites had four receptions for 88 yards and Reynolds had an interception for CSH. Striano had several big hits to lead a defense that allowed only 73 yards in the first three quarters.

Jaden Mason had a 13-yard touchdown run for West Hempstead (4-3).

“[Costa] is exactly what you want in a quarterback,” CSH coach Jon Mendreski said. “He has a high football IQ, he knows how to manage a team and the game, and he’s got a lot of moxie, which you like to see in a quarterback.”

Costa said that losing the Nassau IV title game to Seaford a year ago “has been the biggest single driving force” behind the team and that it “doesn’t want to feel that again.”

On Friday night, the Seahawks also had the memory of Mullen at their backs. Said Striano: “I think he’d have been proud of what he saw from us tonight.”

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