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Sachem North football back on track

Posted Wednesday, November 04, 2009 by Holbrook Gazette
Holbrook Gazette, November 2009
Sachem North football back on track
By Chris R. Vaccaro

When the Sachem Central School District split during the 2004-05 school year, many figured the sports programs would suffer briefly. A few teams bucked the trend and managed to win - Sachem East baseball, soccer and basketball most notably - but the majority has struggled.

This season, Sachem North football, however, has grabbed the spotlight and brought it back to the school district with its Division I winning flair.

Over the summer, North head coach Dave Falco read "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell, a book about "how little things make a big difference." "There are certain things you need to have happen, to go in a more positive direction," Falco said, "and winning helps." Though not little by any means, the 2009 football season is what's tipping Sachem back to where it belongs - at the forefront of the Long Island football scene. Falco thought the tipping point was going to be last season, but thanks to injuries, it just didn't happen.

Sachem is running with the success of half-back Davon Lawrence, who seems to average a huge rush every game and at press time (Oct. 28) had 14 touchdowns and more than 1,200 yards - making him one of the top 10 backs in program history and one of the top in Suffolk County this season. "He's a great role model for our program," Falco said. "He's a good student and very humble." A senior now, Lawrence has been thought of highly since his freshman year, but was playing behind Anthony Quezada, who also quickly became a great back.

For over 30 years, Fred Fusaro led the Flaming Arrows to multiple titles, many big wins and a legendary status that is hard to replace. The team's 7-0 start to the season helped remind people of just what Sachem is capable of. It is just the fourth time in 48 years the program started with such a record. The team's 235 points through press time are also the fifth most ever scored by a Sachem team in a single season.

Though expectations were high to start the season, North opened against a dominant Floyd squad. Lawrence rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns to pull off a monumental upset. "At that point of the season you still have questions with different parts of the team," Falco said. "Some of those questions were answered that night. That gave us confidence and we've built on that."

Sachem also had big games against Brentwood - a close 42-41 win that turned out to be the highest combined scoring game in school history - and Central Islip, who Sachem beat 54-6, the second highest margin of victory in program history.

Another key ingredient to the season is the coaching shakeup at North. Off the varsity staff were assistants Mark Wojciechowski, who moved over to East, Tony Gambino, who moved over to East, Gary Comstock, who moved down to the JV as head coach and Jay Mauro, who wanted to focus on his head lacrosse coaching position at North.

Taking more increased roles this season were David Caputo and Nick Codispoti, who were on the East coaching staff for a couple of seasons. North also has assistants Joe Cannone, John Ruggiero, Mike Maratto and Tom Pandolf to round out the staff.
"Coaching staffs need to be on the same page," Falco said. "Kids feed off that. The coaches we brought in are doing a great job. I don't hold any bad feelings towards the other guys. We have spoken and they're happy about our success."

Ironically, John Glenn, where Fusaro is an assistant coach now under former Sachem player Dave Shanahan, is also having a phenomenal season. It would be something special if Fusaro and Sachem both won Long Island titles.
Read the next Gazette to find out how Sachem faired in the playoffs.

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