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Jeremiah Cheatom runs Riverhead over West Babylon

Riverhead running back Jeremiah Cheatom looks for running

Riverhead running back Jeremiah Cheatom looks for running room in a game against West Babylon. (Nov. 17, 2012) Credit: George A. Faella

Riverhead ended the Cinderella story of No. 8 West Babylon yesterday when the Eagles fell to the No. 2 Blue Waves, 30-14, in a Suffolk Division II semifinal game.

The magic that carried West Babylon to a victory on the final play of its quarterfinal game against No. 1 West Islip disappeared as the Eagles were unable to contain Riverhead running back Jeremiah Cheatom.

Cheatom carried the ball a career-high 33 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns and was praised by coach Bill Hedges for his tough running and ball security.

The dominance of Riverhead's offensive line was the reason for Cheatom's increased workload. If he were to give out a game ball, Hedges said, it would go to his line.

"The offensive line was the key to our success today. They totally took over," he said.

The line also was stellar in pass protection, allowing quarterback Ryan Bitzer to complete 12 of 17 passes for 202 yards and a 75-yard touchdown to Quinn Funn.

"[Bitzer] had an outstanding day. He stayed in the pocket and found the open receivers and the line just did a great job of protecting him," Hedges said.

Nick Ross spearheaded Riverhead's defense with 12 tackles and several near-sacks of West Babylon's Clifton Melhado. "That kid is real elusive,'' Hedges said. "He's tough to tackle and he's a gamer. My hat goes off to him."

Riverhead (8-2) will face North Babylon at noon next Sunday at Stony Brook University.

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