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SportsHigh SchoolFootball

Syosset defense comes up big

Syosset's Christian Skorka intercepts a pass against Lindenhurst's

Syosset's Christian Skorka intercepts a pass against Lindenhurst's John McCaffrey in the Class I Long Island Championship on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Hofstra. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

In this courtroom, the defense didn't rest.

Syosset forced five turnovers, including four interceptions, in its 35-13 victory over Lindenhurst on Friday in the Long Island Class I championship game.

E.J. Aronson made seven tackles and had a sack and a fumble recovery for the Braves. Michael Panvini and David Reiter returned interceptions for touchdowns.

"We put a lot of pressure on that quarterback and made him make throws he didn't want to make,'' Aronson, a junior linebacker, said, referring to Lindenhurst's Ryan Hofmann. The Syosset defense, which had allowed 24.5 points per game before Friday, kept Lindenhurst scoreless until the 3:11 mark of the fourth quarter.

Ian Berg and Christian Skorka also had interceptions for Syosset, Panvini added a sack and 51/2 tackles and Michael Elardo had 51/2 tackles.

"The kids stuck to the plan we put together last week,'' Syosset defensive coordinator Mike Murtha said. "We brought a lot of pressure from the outside with our linebackers, Aronson and Reiter.''

After going three-and-out on its first possession, Lindenhurst drove to the Syosset 22, where it faced fourth-and-3. On the last play of the first quarter, the Braves stopped running back Joe Barber about a yard short of the first down when Aronson made a tackle from behind.

"He always comes up with big stops and he made another one, like he always does,'' Berg said of Aronson.

"I'm so proud of him because of the way he's matured throughout the season,'' Syosset coach Paul Rorke said. "Without him, we don't get here.''

Skorka, a sophomore defensive back, played a key role in containing 6-5 wide receiver Jeremy Ruckert.

"I knew it was going to be tough, and the first couple of drives, he got by me a little bit,'' Skorka said. "Coach Murtha told me to stay up on my feet and stay balanced. I went back out there and just shut him down.''

Ruckert caught five passes for 38 yards in the first half but did not catch a pass against Skorka in the second half. Ruckert caught a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, but Skorka was not in coverage.

"The kids played phenomenally and I couldn't be more proud of them,'' Murtha said.

"I'm going to remember everything from this game,'' Aronson said. "This was a once-in-a- lifetime experience.''

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