Shoreham-Wading River's Danny Hughes dives into the end zone for...

Shoreham-Wading River's Danny Hughes dives into the end zone for the TD during the Suffolk IV football final on Saturday, Nov. 22 at Stony Brook. Credit: George A. Faella

Shoreham-Wading River quarterback Danny Hughes aced his history exam Saturday.

Hughes ran for 301 yards and six touchdowns -- four on runs of 20 or more yards -- as the Wildcats rolled to the first county football championship in school history with a 47-10 victory over Glenn in the Suffolk IV final at Stony Brook University's LaValle Stadium.

"Danny was phenomenal,'' said Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser, a 2000 graduate of the school.

Shoreham-Wading River (11-0) earned its first trip to the Long Island Class IV championship game and will play Roosevelt (11-0) at 4:30 p.m. next Sunday at Stony Brook.

Glenn (9-2) was led by quarterback Wayne White, who passed for 146 yards and a touchdown and ran for 67 yards.

"Up front, the kids did a heck of a job,'' Millheiser said. "We got a really good push and found some matchups we could win.''

It took SWR one quarter to figure out those matchups. The Wildcats scored 20 points in the second quarter for a 30-10 halftime lead.

The highlight play of the game was Hughes' 76-yard touchdown run on which he kept his feet moving, absorbed a couple of hard hits near the sideline and cut back to the middle of the field to complete the spectacular dash. It was one of three times that Hughes produced a one-play scoring drive.

He moved the pile for a 20-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter and raced 43 yards for his fifth TD late in the third to make it 40-10. He was a man of many moves all afternoon, much to the delight of his teammates.

"When he makes those plays, we're ecstatic,'' tight end/defensive end Ethan Wiederkehr said. "Those runs are good because they get our emotions high.''

Shoreham-Wading River was on an emotional high right from the beginning. It was clear the Wildcats were playing for much more than a county championship. They were playing to honor the memory of a fallen teammate, Tom Cutinella, who died on Oct. 1 after a collision with a Glenn player during their regular-season meeting.

The Wildcats marched onto the field hand-in-hand, holding a large blue flag with Cutinella's No. 54 stitched in gold and displaying Tom's white game jersey. It was carried by his brother Kevin, a sophomore who made two special-teams tackles Saturday while playing in his first game since his brother's death.

The jersey was draped on the team bench during warmups. The flag was placed in a bucket with "TC'' painted on it and placed behind the bench, where it stood the entire game, the No. 54 snapping in the breeze.

All the Shoreham-Wading River players wore towels with "54'' on them and many players had "TC" and "54'' written on their legs or arms.

"He's always, always in our hearts and minds,'' said two-way lineman Bobby Puckey, a senior captain.

"He's always there,'' said senior middle linebacker Aaron Harley-Rey, a defensive force all afternoon. "We all know Tommy had three goals. Now we've got two of them.''

He was referring to an email, a printout of which was given to Newsday by the family last week, that Tom Cutinella had sent to Millheiser last summer, outlining his personal and team goals for 2014. For the latter, he listed: "Beat Babylon, win the counties, win the Rutgers [Trophy].''

"Tommy was a huge part of the game,'' Wiederkehr said. "We had to get this one for him. Our team, never being here, we had to get it for the community, too.''

Millheiser captured the confluence of emotions when he said: "I'm excited for these boys, I'm excited for the program, I'm excited for the school. But I think we all have in the back of our minds what happened and what we lost.

"There's definitely a sense of happiness, but it's bittersweet.''


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