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SportsHigh SchoolFootball

Mike La Donna leads West Islip in rout of Centereach

Quarterback Mike LaDonna has West Islip off and

Quarterback Mike LaDonna has West Islip off and running to a 5-0 start.  Credit: Daniel De Mato

The West Islip Lions have roared into 2018. Two games in, the second seeded team from Suffolk II is 2-0. Yes, that’s a lot of twos, but it’s also a lot of W’s – something West Islip hopes to continue as the fall moves along.

Their latest triumph – an 38-0 win over visiting Centereach Saturday afternoon showed that the Lions have the quarterback, and the defense, to be a force in the county.

“I think it shows that we’re an elite team and we can do great this year,” receiver/defensive back Max Albanese said. “I think we could go all the way.”

Quarterback Mike La Donna rushed for 148 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns and completed 5 of 7 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. It was an all-around great day for the Lions and La Donna.

“That was a great team win,” La Donna said. “We worked hard all week. We had a close game last week, so we knew we had to battle this week and that’s what we did.”

He’s referring, of course, to West Islip’s 29-28 win at Bellport last week. Despite the heat, there was no sweating this one out.

After a scoreless first quarter that was littered with penalties, West Islip took over in the second – scoring 21 unanswered points and flexing some defensive muscle. La Donna smashed a defensive battle to bits when he found Luke Alicea on an out-route with 10:34 left in the second quarter. Alicea sprinted towards the left sideline and ran 58-yards for the touchdown and the lead.

For a moment, it looked as if the defensive battle would turn into an old-fashioned shootout. Centereach drove down the field on their next drive, but Albanese’s tight coverage on a 4th down and 12 forced an overthrow in the end zone and allowed West Islip to take over with 5:56 left in the first half.  

Then, the fireworks started.

After a nearly five minute delay to sort out a pair of penalties, La Donna broke through his line and ran 91-yards down the middle of the field. As Centerreach defenders chased the speedy quarterback, he barely avoided a few outstretched hands before reaching the end zone to give the Lions a 13-0 lead with 5:22 left in the second quarter.

“The end came up the field, I pulled the ball, had a great block, and was off to the races,” La Donna said.

West Islip’s defense stymied any chance to let Centereach climb back into the game. A sack by Jack Pollock with 4:25 left in the second brought up a third-and-19 and eventually forced a Centereach punt.

La Donna ended the first half by throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Albanese with 3:02 left in the second to give the Lions a 20-0 lead.  

La Donna’s 12-yard touchdown run with 7:23 left in the third put West Islip ahead 27-0. Kicker Bobby DiCapua, in addition to five extra-points, nailed a 43-yard field goal late in the third quarter to give the Lions a 31-0 lead.

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