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Sachem North aims to extend win streak to 6-0

Varsity vs Central Islip HS on 10/17/2009 2:00:00 PM
Posted Friday, October 16, 2009 by Long Island Blitz.com
 By Jim Furlong @ LIblitz.com
Before every practice and every game, the undefeated Sachem North varsity players gather together and shout an inspirational chant. "One of the coaches will say 'Are you ready?''' said senior co-captain Ryan Gerondel. "And we say HOO-RAH! It's just a fun thing. That gets us up and ready to play football."

The Flaming Arrows are certainly having fun and are getting ready to clinch a berth in the 2009 Suffolk County Division 1 playoffs. Coach Dave Falco's squad carries a 5-0 record into Saturday's away game at Central Islip (2-3).

"We have a giant target on our backs because of our record," said Gerondel. "We know it and we can't take anybody lightly. We are confident in ourselves. We know we can rely on each other and get the job done."

Sachem North started the season No. 7 in the Division 1 preseason ratings, and Gerondel said some people thought his team was the underdog in three of its first five games -- against top-seeded William Floyd, third-seeded Longwood and fifth-seeded Brentwood.

In their opener, the Flaming Arrows toppled Floyd 17-14 in Mastic Beach. They scored four touchdowns in the second half to rally at Longwood 25-21. And last weekend won a 42-41 thriller against Brentwood. "We are really motivated," Gerondel said.

Currently, Sachem North and Northport (5-0) share first place in the Division I standings, and a victory over Central Islip will likely assure the Flaming Arrows the opportunity to host a first-round playoff game.

"I don't want to say I am surprised (by a 5-0 record)," said Falco. "But we have had some breaks and we have stayed healthy, and the kids worked hard in the summer. I knew we had a good solid group coming back but we needed to come together as a team to have any success."

While Sachem North will dress 35 players to challenge Central Islip, Falco said he plans to start 10 players both ways. Gerondel competes at wide receiver and cornerback. Angelo Armine, a quick, agile junior, starts at quarterback and outside linebacker. Jesse Scanna and Mike Andreassi are solid and dependable at running back and Inside linebacker. Davon Lawrence, who has proven himself one of the premier runners on Long Island this season, totals 835 yards on 95 carries in five games. He has scored 10 touchdowns on offense and also returned an interception for a TD playing safety. Solid two-way linemen are Tim Lang, Joe Kirchner, Andrew Mellina, Ryan Sampson and James Thompson. Ryan Grasman starts at tight end and outside linebacker. Travis Nardello kicked six extra points to help edge Brentwood.

The Flaming Arrows count on their strong rushing attack. Sachem North is averaging more than seven yards a carry on  228 attempts. Mike Andreassi is also having a great year with 500 yards and four TDs on 75 carries. Jesse Scanna has gained 257 yards on 25 carries and Angelo Armine has rushed for 160 yards on 35 carries.

The Flaming Arrows are dedicated to doing their homework. Falco said the coaches spend many  hours a week analyzing video film of the next opponent. The players often visit the coaches' offices to watch film during the week, said Gerondel. Falco also credits John Horst, the strength and conditioning coach, for boosting the team's collective ability and stamina. Coach Horst does a great job with out track program and he was a great help to us this past summer working with our guys getting them ready for the season."

The head coach, of course, is not looking past the next game. "We are not talking about the playoffs or going undefeated," said Falco. "I am happy where we are, but we need to stay focused and keep improving each week. We still have holes in our game that we are trying hard to improve". " Central Islip will be a challange for us it should be a great game."

Followng the duel against Central Islip, Sachem North hosts Connetquot (3-2) on Oct. 23 and ends its regular-season schedule Oct. 31 at Commack (2-3)

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