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Daniggelis, Whiting spur Smithtown East win

Smiththown East quarterback John Daniggelis scrambles while looking

Smiththown East quarterback John Daniggelis scrambles while looking for an open receiver and being tackled by Ramin Wahab of Half Hollow Hills West on Oct. 11, 2014. Photo Credit: Daniel De Mato

When Jesse Whiting beat tight coverage with an awesome, full-extension dive to snare the ball on a fade for 29 yards, bringing Smithtown East to the 1 . . .


When John Daniggelis rolled right on a bootleg, saw his primary receiver covered in the flat and spotted a defender lunging toward him for a sure sack that somehow wasn't -- because the quarterback spun left to elude the tackle and threw across the field to Pat Clancy in the end zone for a 27-yard score . . .


Folks who witnessed those plays can debate which was more spectacular. But without question, the biggest "whoa" was this: The Bulls traveling to Half Hollow Hills West and handing the Colts their first loss, 28-14, Saturday in Suffolk II.

Smithtown East had lost in Week 2 to defending champ Riverhead, which went on to lose to Hills West. So this, the Bulls said, was their statement victory.

"It says we're no joke," Daniggelis said. "In years past, we looked like a pushover. Not anymore. We're here to play."

And play well. Daniggelis displayed his athletic arsenal, completing 9 of 13 passes for 138 yards and a TD. He also ran for 98 yards and score, leading Smithtown East (4-1), which was without star receiver Brian Willetts and starting tailback Nick Cutrone.

Daniggelis, with his balance and elusiveness, repeatedly frustrated the defense, slipping out of tackles to scramble or buy time to throw.

"We see it every game and in every practice," said Clancy, who had three catches for 48 yards. "As a receiver, your instinct is 'Oh, the play is over.' But we see John get away so often, you know to keep going and try to get open."

Case in point, his second-quarter touchdown. Clancy was at split end on the left, running a post route on a play designed for a short pass to the right. But once he saw Daniggelis avoid the sack and reset, Clancy redirected toward the back left pylon and hauled in the 27-yarder. That gave the Bulls a 28-7 lead 1:19 before halftime.

"There's a lot of talk about John and he's the man," Bulls coach Pete Melore said, "but when our offensive line is blocking and the defense is playing well, we're hard to beat."

Cole Vittoria anchored both lines, creating running room for the Bulls and creating havoc for Hills West. His first-quarter sack knocked Colts QB Anthony Lucarelli out of the game.

Cole Valinotti had an interception and the Bulls defense dominated, allowing only James Palumbo's 9-yard TD pass to Cody Clarson in the fourth. Ray Lyte's 85-yard kickoff return TD got Hills West (4-1) on the board in the second.

The Bulls scored on their first drive when Daniggelis turned the right corner for 20 yards, and Rick Orlandi's 2-yard TD made it 14-0. Tom Datre (61 yards) scored from the 1, after Whiting's diving catch.

"Everyone knows the scramble drill," said Daniggelis, who also is a lacrosse standout. "They know I'll always try to keep plays alive. They're used to it."

They're also used to saying "Whoa!"


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