Long after the J. Taylor Finley Middle School eighth-grade football team had wrapped up another undefeated season, players and coaches lingered on the field celebrating. The Falcons topped visiting Northport, 39-6, to close out the fall campaign with a perfect 6-0 mark.
Finley scored 25 unanswered first-half points to build what proved to be an insurmountable advantage. Falcons coaches Ron Wilson and Jim Byrnes Jr. showcased their players in the final game of the season before the team’s adoring fans, who circled the field.
“It was great to finish up with a very good game,” Wilson said. “Seeing how far our kids came in two months was rewarding. They learned more about the game and improved their skills.”
Finley’s offense totaled nearly 500 yards. The Falcons rushed 18 times for 326 yards and completed six of ten passes for another 165 yards. “It was a great afternoon for us,” Wilson said.
Ryan Porzio rushed four times for 121 yards and two touchdowns and caught a pass for six yards. Josiah Melendez carried three times for 67 yards and a touchdown and also caught a pair of passes for 66 yards and another touchdown. Robbie Smith rushed three times for 71 yards, notched an extra point and also caught a pass for 16 yards.
Finley’s quarterbacks were also effective. Kevin Drake completed three of five passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed twice for 17 yards. Melendez completed a pair of passes for 66 yards. Harrison Krywak completed one of three passes for six yards.
A long list of players contributed to the victory. Max McCarthy caught two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Lucas Petrizzi recorded five tackles, including one for a loss. John Marziliano had four tackles, a blocked punt and a quarterback sack. Porzio made two tackles and returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown. Smith made six tackles, including two for a loss and had a quarterback sack.
Northport’s lone touchdown came in the third quarter, but Finley’s defense held firm the rest of the way. When the game finally ended and darkness started to set in, Falcon players stood underneath the scoreboard and basked in the warm glow of the final score that stayed illuminated until the crowd dispersed.
The coaching tandem of Wilson and Byrnes is 12-0 over the past two seasons. “We’ve been fortunate to have some really fine young men on our team,” Wilson said.