Elliott’s Thefts Sparking Somers0
By Chuck Slater
Early in the pre-season, Jack Gilroy, the senior defensive end on the Somers football team, said it best. “We have a state championship in mind again,” he said. Indeed, the Tuskers won the state in an extended 13-game season, stunning the Yorktown team that beat it early in the season by 42-6 in the sectional title game; then winning three more playoffs. This season, with the bulk of their offense having graduated, they are 3-0 but beat a tough Rye squad 21-14 on six forced turnovers despite being out-gained by over 100 yards. The two upcoming tests against Lourdes and John Jay-Cross River should tell veteran coach Tony DeMatteo more about his team.
“Are we as good as last year? At this point—no,” DeMatteo said. “If you consider how we may improve like last year—yes. But we lost two star running backs (Messiah Horne and Matt Pires).” “Our defense is capable of anything it did last year,” said senior cornerback Ryan Elliott. “The offense will find its way.”
Perhaps more than any other Tusker, the 5-foot, 10-inch, 165-pound Elliott was responsible for the defeat of Rye. He had three interceptions to go with the three in the opening week 48-1 rout of Poughkeepsie, when two of them went for touchdowns, allowing Somers to go with second stringers for most of the game.
“We proved that we are back again,” Elliott said after the opener. After Game 2, he said, “If they keep throwing my way, I’ll keep making plays on them. My goal was five picks for the entire season. Now? I’m going to keep going.”
Elliott, whose father, Rick, concentrated on baseball in high school, has been playing football for 10 years, starting with flag football. He has been a varsity starter for three years. He also figures to start at defensive midfield for the lacrosse varsity this spring. But football is his first love. “I love it because it’s a team game,” he said. “You can’t rely on just one player.” And college? “I haven’t picked a school yet,” the senior said. “But I would like to play football in college.”
Against Rye, DeMatteo felt last year’s marathon season has benefited this year’s squad. “A lot of our kids played 13 games (last season),” the coach said. “That’s a lot of games, and I think it has helped us.”
DeMatteo owns a record 336 victories in his 49th head-coaching season. Did someone say retire? Not the coach. “When I get a good night’s sleep before practice or a game, then I know I have to walk away,” Tony DeMatteo said. “I’m still getting up three or four times a night.”