SOUTH HUNTINGTON, New York, September 25
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
When learning a new offense, growing pains tend to emerge. In the case of Walt Whitman (1-1) on Saturday against Northport (2-0), the Wildcats offense could have used some Advil.
On the day of its homecoming, Northport shutout the Wildcats 24-0.
“We made too many mistakes… This is a new offense for us [but] no excuses; we have to do a better job,” Walt Whitman Head Coach Robin Rosa said after the game. “We [had] some opportunities… We [just] have to execute.”
Going into halftime, the Wildcats trailed 14-0. For Northport, junior John Tabert did the damage as he slammed home both of the Tigers’ scores. Despite the deficit, Walt Whitman seemed poised to come out of the half and make some noise, but Rosa’s squad just couldn’t get the ball moving.
“We should have done a better job in the running game. Their defensive line did a better job than my offensive line; and [when] they stop the run that hurts us,” Rosa said. “Defensively, we were right in there. I’m not too down on that. I’m more down on the offensive execution and that’s something we are going to work at.”
Gerald Riley, Wildcats’ senior wide receiver, was one of the team’s voices on offense trying to generate the spark Walt Whitman needed. Quarterbacks Parrish Respass and Addison Bermudez tried to get Riley – along with the other Wildcats receivers – the ball, but Walt Whitman’s inability to establish the run game hurt it when trying to execute the pass.
Execution aside, the Wildcats also had a tough environment to work in. Not only was it Northport’s homecoming game, but the district introduced its inaugural class in the Northport athletic hall of fame at halftime. The Tigers oozed momentum, but Rosa wasn’t using that as an excuse.
“That shouldn’t matter,” he said, “The bottom dollar is the 11 guys on the field; it shouldn’t matter what the outside [conditions] are.”
On Sept. 13, in Walt Whitman’s first game of the season, the Wildcats did some shutting out of their own as they took down Central Islip (0-2) by a score of 21-0.
This Saturday at home, the Wildcats will look to replicate that success by getting those 11 guys on the field in more positions to succeed as it welcomes Bay Shore (1-1) for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The Marauders are coming off of a 41-32 win over Central Islip (0-2) last weekend.
“They’re [Bay Shore] very similar to us; they’re not as big [as Northport] but they have some speed guys,” Rosa said. “We hope to get back on the winning track,” Rosa said.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander (Thursday, September 25, 2014; A36)