It was a winning performance once against for Plainedge and this time it could be summed up in a single word: complete.
It wasn’t always pretty and it wasn’t always error-free however the Red Devils were the dominant team whether it was the offense, the defense or the special teams on the field against Roosevelt on Saturday. The offense managed four touchdowns and a field goal. The defense didn’t allow a point and had six takeaways. And the special teams allowed the Rough Riders to start outside their own 20 just once and got a pair of outstanding first-quarter punt returns from senior Anthony Gentile.
When the columns were all totaled up, the visiting Red Devils had socked away a 34-0 victory over previously unbeaten Roosevelt, Plainedge (3-0) didn’t have the services of two top players — seniors Shane Mosia and Joe Cassese were both sidelined — and still extended its winning streak to 15 games.
“We may not have had all the horses in the barn but, when we do, the potential is pretty high,” Plainedge coach Rob Shaver said. “There are expectations here — to be in the [county] finals again and be in a Long Island championship situation again — and we have the guys. . . . We have dudes all over the place.”
“In our program we feel like this is the spot to be on Long Island,” said Anthony Gentile, who had a pair of long punt returns into the red zone to set up a couple of scores in the Red Devils’ 17-point first quarter. “We believe there is no other program that is doing what we do.”
What Plainedge did in that first quarter was, to put it lightly, impressive.
Roosevelt’s first possession ended with Nick Gerardi recovering a fumble at the Rough Riders’ 19. Devils senior quarterback Caden Morra went over the left side behind Vinny Petzold and Thomas Chadwick for a 19-yard touchdown run.
The Riders had to punt on their next two possessions. Gentile returned the first 39 yards to the Roosevelt 18, setting up a 25-yard field goal by James Corke. He returned the second 37 yards to the Roosevelt 6 and four plays later caught a 12-yard fade to the corner from Morra for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
“The play of our special teams is something everyone can be proud of,” Morra said. “It seems like we always had good field position because of them and that made everything a lot easier.”
Morra would add a an 18-yard touchdown pass to Braden Donnellan in the second quarter as the Devils led 25-0 at the half. Jack Murray had a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Morra finished 12-for-17 passing for 84 yards and the two scores.
The Plainedge defense had six takeaways on the day. Vinny Cavaliere and Donnellon each had interceptions and Gerardi, Marcelo Licata, James Kass and Brenden Munik all had fumble recoveries.
Roosevelt (2-1) is on the upswing with a junior-laden roster, but strong performances by senior Bakail Talmadge, who had 64 yards of offense, and sophomore lineman Jah’rece Matthew, who had three tackles for a loss, were overwhelmed by team miscues.
“We’ve been [brimming] with confidence since we dominated Carey [28-0 on Sept. 17] and we feel like this team is a championship team again," Cavaliere said. "We feel like the only team that we can lose to is ourselves.”