Junior High Undefeated, 6th Graders 3rd in County

The news was pretty much all good
“The kids really responded to” Nick Finazzo, above, and Scott Abran, said the seventh-and-eighth-grade team’s head coach, Dave Fioriello. Jack Graves

    While, as expected, the East Hampton High School varsity football team lost at Babylon Friday night in a first-round county playoff game, the news was pretty much all good insofar as the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders went.

    The seventh-and-eighth-grade team, coached by Dave Fioriello, with Nick Finazzo and Scott Abran, finished the season undefeated this past week by shutting out previously undefeated Center Moriches 12-0 on the Red Devils’ field.

    The touchdowns were scored, Fioriello said, by Michael Derrig and Ryan Lynch, both running backs. Jack Reese and Jason Tuthill are the team’s quarterbacks.

    According to Fioriello, “I’ve been told that it’s the first time that a seventh-and-eighth-grade team has gone undefeated here since 1972.”

    Questioned further, Fioriello said, “My grounds crew assistant, Dale Greene, told me he played on the last undefeated junior high team, which went 7-0 in 1972.”

    “This was a great group,” Fioriello continued. “They were amazing, and, frankly, I hadn’t expected they’d do so well. I was surprised. Offensively and defensively they were terrific. We only gave up three touchdowns all season and scored two or three a game. We had two shutouts — in the game we just played with Center Moriches and we beat Greenport 26-0.”

     “I want to add that it was great having Nick and Scott as assistants. They’re young guys and the kids really responded to them.”

     As for a team party, “We really haven’t made any plans yet, though we’re going to do something. I think I’ll have T-shirts made up with ‘6-0 Season’ on them . . . something to remember.”

    There were 44 in all on the roster, about evenly split between the grades. “There should be about 22 or 23 eighth graders going up to the high school next year,” said the coach. “I hope most of them stick with it. If they do, there should be a good chance of fielding a jayvee. The varsity will be the issue. There were a lot of seniors this year and there weren’t many juniors.”

    Likewise, the sixth graders’ 11-year-old Police Athletic League team, coached by Ron White, with Phil Merritt, did very well this fall.

    White said during a conversation Tuesday that his charges had, after defeating Patchogue-Medford in a first-round playoff game, lost 12-6 in the final minutes of the team’s second-round game at Sayville.

    “They threw a 15-to-20-yard pass and the kid ran 20 yards for the score,” said White. “We only had time for two offensive plays, and just couldn’t get the yardage.”

    However, the sixth graders subsequently came back to beat another Sayville entry 20-12 to finish third, he said, among the county’s 40 teams.

    White’s team finished with an 8-2 record, both losses having come at the hands of Sayville’s A team.

    The East Hampton Youth Football-Basketball Association, whose programs are for children ages 5 through 14, and which is headed by Don Reese, will hold a fund-raiser, with music by the Celtic Cross band, at the Stephen Talkhouse nightspot in Amagansett tomorrow from 5 to 8 p.m.

    A flier says there will be a silent auction of 100 items. Admission will be $25 at the door.

Dave Fioriello said it’s been a kick to coach the 44-strong undefeated seventh-and-eighth-grade football team this season. Jack Graves