Tiger Spirits High At Homecoming
The Tigers football team may have fumbled on the field, but the school district community stood tall at last Saturday’s homecoming football game.
Northport, the No. 4 seed in the 2013 preseason, succumbed to the wrath of No.1 seeded William Floyd, 7-14.
Head Coach Kip Lukralle commended his defensemen, who were able to shut out Floyd’s aggressive offense and confine their opponents’ score to only 14 points. Northport’s offense, the coach said, was a different story.
“It was probably one of the worst offensive performances we’ve ever had… Our lack of ability to do anything on offense was partly us and it was a big part them. They had some people on defense we just couldn’t handle,” Lukralle said. “Their defense clearly beat our offense and that was the difference.”
Floyd (2-0) scored two touchdowns before halftime, visibly hurting the Tigers’ morale for the first half of play. Northport (1-1) bounced back in the third quarter when senior quarterback Dannel Shorey blocked a field goal kick and All-Division senior offensive/nose guard Travis Mauro rushed 82 yards to lock in a touchdown for the Tigers.
Lukralle hoped that a 14-point shutout in the second half would lead to a Northport win. Late in the third quarter after Mauro scored, the coach said the momentum of the game started to shift.
Senior running/center back Connor Quinn recovered the ball off a bounce and rushed 45 yards to the 5-yard-line but couldn’t finish off the play.
“When we didn’t get in there, it shifted back to them a little bit and that was the turning point, when we didn’t’ knock it in the end zone,” Lukralle said. “We were looking to tie the game up and it didn’t get done. That was probably the most disappointing part of the game.”
Throughout the almost two hours of play, however, hundreds of community members, teachers, students and young fans rallied on the stands to keep the football players positive.
Despite what the scoreboard said, the 260 students in the Northport Marching Band, the 24 girls on the varsity cheerleading team and the flag girls’ team kept spirits high during the halftime show.
Cheerleading Head Coach Nicole Smith said the girls practiced every day after school to nail down their homecoming routine, all in the name of football.
“That’s their job, to keep boys’ spirits up, so we work hard at it,” Smith said.
Lynn Cromeyn, director of the Tigers’ band, said her students practiced with passion and dedication for both the team and the school district.
“We’re here to clap and cheer, and support our team and other members of the school. That’s just the nature of the marching band… big, loud, happy kids,” Cromeyn said.
On the receiving end of the football game, senior wide receiver/center back Ken Ragidan had 2 receptions for 18 yards, and senior running/left back Tristen Mauro had one reception for 4 yards.
The football coach said that while Northport went into the game expecting a home victory, the Tigers will use the loss as a learning experience and a “measuring stick” preparing for the rest of their games this season.
“We’re not discouraged and I think going forward we’re going to build on that,” the coach said.
Forging ahead into the fall season, the Tigers will work on tightening up their offense, from passing to running.
The Tigers will play at Sachem East on Friday at 7 p.m.