By Connor Beach
Despite the football team’s struggles on the field, Harborfields High School students made the most of homecoming by raising money to help fund research for childhood cancer.
The Harborfields football team has endured a tough start to the season, and things didn’t get much better Saturday when they suffered a 29-26 defeat during homecoming at the hands of Eastport-South Manor.
The Tornadoes were looking for their first victory of the season after starting 0-3 with losses to Comsewogue, Islip and Westhampton, and they hoped the enthusiasm of the homecoming crowd would spur them to victory.
The students kicked off the day with a homecoming parade that traveled from the Harborfields Public Library to the high school and featured floats with the theme “Generations: HF Through the Years.” Seniors Eric Werbitsky and Kate Driver were crowned homecoming king and queen.
Harborfields students joined the Greenlawn Civic Association in their “Greenlawn Goes Gold” movement during homecoming. Sophomore Natalie Pedrazzi helped put the plan into action, and all funds raised were donated to Maggie’s Mission, a local organization that supports awareness and funds pediatric cancer research. Maggie’s Mission was created in honor of Maggie Schmidt, a Harborfields High School student who lost her battle with cancer in 2017.
Students and fans packed the stands after the parade for the kickoff of the homecoming game. Both defenses were solid to start the game, and the first quarter ended with the teams tied 0-0.
Harborfields held its first ever “Stand Up 2 Cancer” event, initiated by student Catherine Capodanno, at the end of the first quarter. Players, students and community members all over the stadium held up golden signs in recognition of loved ones who battled or are battling cancer.
The scoring opened in the second quarter. The Tornadoes got on the board after a 89-yard touchdown run by Thomas Sangiovanni, who finished with 100 yards rushing and 23 receiving yards in the game.
The Sharks from Eastport-South Manor also got their offense going and led 15-6 at the half.
In the second half, Harborfields junior quarterback Jonathan Osumn was a bright spot for the Tornadoes. Osumn broke one of his six rushing attempts for a 60-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He had 147 rushing yards in the game.
Osumn completed two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter during a desperate comeback attempt. The first went for 53 yards to senior Joe Mitchell, and the second was a 16-yard pass to junior Michael Panareillo.
The Tornadoes didn’t have enough wind to complete the comeback and lost by a final score of 29-26. Harborfields will look to notch their first win when they travel to Hauppauge on Friday night to take on the Eagles at 6 p.m.