Shoreham-Wading River could have circled Friday night on their football calendars even before the team began running through its plays. The contest with Glenn pitted two of Suffolk IV’s top teams but a confluence of other events made it much bigger: head coach Aden Smith was back on the sideline after being reinstated to the position Monday and Robert McGee made his Wildcats debut after transferring this week from St. Anthony’s.
Xavier Arline headlined the effort that made it a night to remember for all who were there. The senior quarterback was 11-for-16 passing for 217 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 15 times for 136 yards and two more scores as Shoreham Wading River scored a 34-7 win over the Knights and improved to 4-0 on the season.
“That was our No. 1 reason to come out and win this game: it was for coach Smith,” Arline said. “He’s been through a lot . . . and as family we had to pick [him up] and get him through . . . He brings a whole different energy to the team.”
Smith was removed from his position as head coach on Sept. 6 after allegedly being involved in an incident at an August scrimmage. Following an investigation of said incident, the school board announced Sept. 18 that he could return and he was reinstated Monday.
“It was nice to be back with my team and with the boys,” Smith said.
McGee was the starting quarterback at St. Anthony’s until this week, when he opted to transfer to Shoreham-Wading River, the school he is districted to. His first day was Thursday and New York guidelines allowed him to play immediately, though Smith used him only to cover kickoffs. Donning No. 41, he was in on a lot of the plays but didn’t make a tackle.
“It’s a small school — you know everybody. I’ve known these guys my whole life,” McGee said. “You grow up here and it’s ‘Go Wildcats’ and now I am playing for the Wildcats.
The timing of McGee’s transfer is fortuitous. Next week is the bye week for Shoreham-Wading River and that gives it two weeks to figure out how to deploy Arline and McGee, each a star quarterback in his own right.
“We’re both quarterbacks, but we are both athletes. We’ll figure it out,” Arline said.
McGee said that he understood there were a lot of eyes on his return and that this could have been a “homecoming story about me. But I hardly played, so it’s about everybody else.”
SWR intercepted Glenn (1-2) on the game’s opening possession and three plays later, Arline hit Johnny Schwarz for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Midway through the second quarter, after a Glenn fumble was recovered by Mike Casazza, Arline took the Wildcats on a 90-yard drive and capped it with a 24-yard touchdown run when he went over left tackle and ended up cutting right and going down the sideline for a score that made it 14-0 at halftime.
Arline hooked up with Casazza for a 40-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the second half. Casazza spent the entire evening playing a role on almost every play, whether on offense or defense.
The Knights cut the margin when Thomas Giaramita — who threw for 112 yards and ran for 52 more — hit Justin Vega for a 4-yard touchdown.
SWR iced things when Jeffrey Lachenmeyer blocked a punt and Jake Wilson landed on it in the end zone for a touchdown with 10:27 left. Arline later tacked on a 54-yard touchdown run.
The Wildcats are unbeaten, have two star quarterbacks and regained their coach. As Arline said: “Life is good in Shoreham.”