By Danny Schrafel
Ten days after tragedy struck at a John Glenn Knights home football game, the John Glenn Knights are back on the gridiron.
“It’s been traumatic,” coach Dave Shanahan said of the death of Tom Cutinella, a Shoreham-Wading River junior guard-linebacker who collapsed at John Glenn High School in the midst of the third quarter of an Oct. 1 game.
Cutinella’s collapse came after colliding with a Knight on the field at John Glenn High School. He died that evening at Huntington Hospital with his teammates packing the Huntington Hospital emergency waiting room.
Spectators, Knights players and Shanahan himself, a veteran high school football coach who has been the Knights’ skipper for the better part of two decades, had a heartbreaking front-row view to a tragedy as it unfolded.
“We’re trying to recover as well. It’s a tough situation for everyone,” Shanahan said.
When play resumed on the road, the Knights were again in fine form, taking the measure of the Port Jefferson Royals 50-13 Oct. 11.
The Knights powered their way to a 43-0 lead in the first half and never looked back. Shanahan said the Knights dominated the line of scrimmage and turned in a disciplined performance, drawing just one penalty in the victory.
“We had a nice day,” Shanahan said. “We were strong off of the line… a lot of kids scored.”
TJ Tiernan rushed for 144 yards on eight carries, including a 75-yard touchdown dash and an 80-yard kickoff return to start the second half. Wayne White added 52 yards on 5 attempts, adding a second touchdown on passing when he went 3-for-5, netting 45 yards. Chris Forsberg added a touchdown amidst 6 attempts, gaining 54 yards for Glenn; Najir Brown pulled off 2 touchdowns while netting 52 yards on 6 rushes.
On receiving, Mike Mannix, Zack Coppola and Walter Casey each pulled down balls for significant double-digit gains on the play.
Leading the hit parade with 8 tackles and a QB sack for the Knights was Shihan Rudyk, in his first game back from injury. Dareus Smith was another major defensive contributor who helped stifle Port Jeff’s efforts on offense.
Coming up this Saturday, the Knights will host the Babylon Panthers in the much-anticipated annual faceoff of two of Section VI’s historically strongest teams – which this year turns out to be Elwood’s homecoming contest. During that game – and all other athletic contests from Oct. 14-18 – the Knights will raise funds for the Tom Cutinella Scholarship Fund. For more information, visit www.swrwac.org.