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Sachem Football Back On Top

Posted Thursday, November 05, 2009 by LIBLITz.com
BY JIM FURLONG @ LI blitz.com
 
When people walk the hallways and go to Sachem Games at Sachem North High School, they see the posters:
 
WE REFUSE TO LOSE
 
WHY NOT US
 
WE BELIEVE
 
"The school is very excited and the town has become Sachem football again," said senior TE/OLB Ryan Grasman. Coach Dave Falco, his players and assistants, staff, the student body and faculty all know the undefeated Flaming Arrows are flying high, and they are eager to continue their undefeated season.
Sachem North, the top seed for the eight-team Suffolk Division 1 playoffs, needs four victories to go all the way. The first step comes Friday night when folks in the Lake Ronkonkoma, Holbrook and Lake Grove area will watch Falco's team host Central Islip (3-5) in the county quarterfinals."Definitely, there is a buzz around the school," said Falco. "The (players) are walking around with their chests out. It is nice to see the kids feeling confident about themselves. We just don't want to be over confident."

With the program's best record since the 1996 Sachem team finished 9-1, the Flaming Arrows are surging offensively. The top-ranked team in this week's LONG ISLAND BLITZ poll scored a combined 178 points in its last four games, and is the highest scoring prep team (280 points) among 54 squads in Suffolk County this season."I think, in the history of the program (since 1971 when stats were first recorded)) that is the highest-scoring four games (in a row)," said Falco. "We need 10 more points to be the highest-scoring team in the history of the program. "Senior running back Davon Lawrence, with 19 touchdowns and 1520 yards rushing in eight games, is the biggest offensive producer. He joins Mike Andreassi, Jesse Scanna and quarterback Angelo Armine to propel a prolific ground game. "That is four weapons that (opposing) defenses have to be concerned about," said Falco. "We have rushed for 2,900 yards and we have given up 700 yards rushing. First give credit to the offensive line and then look at the guys carrying the ball. Center Tim Lang, guards Joe Kirchner and Ryan Sampson and tackles James Thompson and Andrew Mellina work with tight end Ryan Grasman to provide sustained effective blocking. All six have started every game and stayed healthy. The Flaming Arrows, will be hosting a playoff game for the first time in six years.

Only once in 32 quarters have the Flaming Arrows thrown a touchdown pass, but Falco said he's not worried about a one-dimensional offense."Everyone talks about that (only one TD pass), but if no one stops us from running the ball we are not going to throw it," said the coach. "But we have the ability to throw it and have done so this year in spots."

On defense, Scanna and Andreassi are aggressive, reliable linebackers."Those two guys are our best players on defense," said the coach. "Jesse is all over the field." Scanna has made a team-high 54 solo tackles and 22 assists. Andreassi totals 46 solo tackles. Falco said "our ability to stop people running the ball'' is better than we thought during the preseason."That has been a positive aspect, (but) the success of this team has occued because we have taken one step at a time, one game at a time.

"Falco wants his players to focus Friday night and not be overconfident because they dominated 54-6 at Central Islip on Oct. 17 and rolled over Commack 47-7 last weekend."(The coach) keeps telling us the past is the past," said Grasman. "We are happy to be 8-0, but this is a brand-new season. Anything can happen. The coach tells us the season will end one of two ways: with zero losses or one."Grasman says the players know the difference between "A" and "U" --Ch-A-mps or Ch-U-mps.

Sachem North has already proven the most-surprising Division 1 team. In the 2009 preseason ratings, the coaches listed the Flaming Arrows seventh among the 12 division teams.If the Flaming Arrows win Friday night, they will host the Connetquot-Lindenhurst winner. In Saturday's other Division 1 quarterfinals, second-ranked William Floyd will host Longwood (4-4) and third-ranked Northport (7-1) will host Brentwood (4-4). All eight playoff qualifiers are aiming to advance to the Suffolk championship game Nov. 22 at Stony Brook University.

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