Whitman outruns Centereach, 51-24
Walt Whitman’s playoff hopes may have been hanging in the balance as they met up with Centereach on Saturday afternoon.
In front of a jam-packed homecoming crowd, Jaron Batts, Joel Aleman, and Mitchell Bermudez combined for six touchdowns as Whitman took down the Centereach Cougars, 51-24, in Suffolk Division II play.
Entering Saturday’s action, Walt Whitman (4-3) held eighth place in Division II with 105.20 power points, so this one was pivotal for the Wildcats. Despite the importance of the homecoming game, Whitman seemed unfazed as they struck early and often in the first half.
Merely 1:09 into the game, Bermudez scampered 52 yards for a score on a quarterback keeper to make it 6-0.
“It was great. I had a cut back right off the bat, right by the linebackers, and it just opened up from there…It was the best feeling ever,” says the senior. “Words can’t explain, especially on homecoming. We haven’t won homecoming in about 10 years, and once in 20, so it was amazing to make history like that.”
The Wildcats would extend their first quarter lead seven minutes later. Punt returner Jaron Batts would be sent back to his own 21 yard line, but the Wildcats special teams would open holes for the sophomore was able to penetrate through. The 79-yard touchdown would jump Whitman out to a 14-0 lead following a converted two-point try.
The second quarter was Aleman time.
On Walt Whitman’s first drive in the quarter, the fullback would break off two 20-plus yard runs to setup a 3-yard touchdown. Then he would follow that one up with a 47-yard touchdown run with 3:21 remaining in the half to make it 26-0 heading into the break.
“Our line just blocked great,” Aleman said. “I kept seeing the open hole and just took it.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Whitman was relentless with pressure. Senior lineman Kieran Elmore was a standout who found his way in the backfield for a pair of sacks and overall disruption of the Cougar offense.
“[I was] just trying to be relentless. Just going 100 miles per hour, and got a lot of help from my teammates,” said Elmore. “We saw a front that we liked. We practiced it all week, which was lucky, and we just played with the mentality to not let anybody step up.”
Centereach (1-6) would show fight in the second half despite the 26-point hole.
On the very first play of the first drive in the second half, DaShuan Odister broke free down his team’s sideline for a 74-yard touchdown that would cut the Wildcat lead to 20. They would also receive a pair of score from Jeremy DeLorenzo to Brian Leonard and a fumble recovery touchdown, but Whitman would counter with score from Bermudez, Batts, Nyquon Harrison, and Berthin Lindor to seal the victory for the hometown team.
“It feels amazing,” Elmore admits. “I can’t even describe it right now. So much is going on in my head that I can’t even explain it.”
With the win, Whitman now heads to Riverhead for a crucial Week 8 match-up with Ryan Bitzer, Jeremiah Cheatom, and the rest of the Riverhead Blue Waves.
“This week is going to be a rough week. We’ve got to come out strong in practice, because that is where it all happens,” says Bermudez. “The way you practice is the way you play in the game. Riverhead is going to be a tough game, and we are looking to making a win out of it.”
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