FOOTBALL >> NORTHPORT 46, CENTRAL ISLIP 8
By Janee Law
The bleachers were packed at Northport High School on Saturday, when the community celebrated homecoming, and saw the Tigers football team defeat the Central Islip Musketeers 46-8.
The win was the second in a row for Northport, a welcome sight for head coach Kip Lukralle after watching his team start the season 0-1.
“We’ve been practicing real hard and working real hard, but things haven’t come together completely for us yet, so Saturday’s performance was a good step in that direction,” Lukralle said. “The kids played well, we made less mistakes and their performance was up to their potential, which is what we’re trying to do.”
Northport junior running back Sean Eagers rushed for two touchdowns in the game and amassed 60 yards on 12 carries.
“We have a lot of confidence in putting him in the game,” Lukralle said. “We feel pretty good about Sean and what he can contribute.
“And that’s what he showed on Saturday.”
Senior captain Ryan Elliot, also a running back, rushed for 155 yards on 12 carries.
In addition, senior cornerback Brandon Carner returned a Central Islip fumble for a 30-yard touchdown; senior cornerback Angel Ramos scored on a 75-yard kickoff return; senior captain Frankie Stola scored on a 27-yard pass from junior quarterback Ryan Walsh; and sophomore linebacker Justin Gerdvil scored on 10-yard interception return.
Lukralle said his team is “a typical Northport group, in that they work hard all year long at it, they come in prepared, they’ll play hard every day for you and they play for each other, too.”
He continued, “They care about each other and they want to win for each other. It’s a great group to work with.”
Mike Gozelski, father of junior offensive guard and defensive tackle Sam Gozelski, said the Tigers face stout competition in this year’s Suffolk Division I. So far, Northport is one of five other teams in the division with a 2-1 record. There are also three teams that are undefeated at 3-0.
“We’re in the same division as Longwood, which is the defending Long Island champion, so it’s a tough division,” he said. “We’re looking to make the playoffs as we always do, get some home playoff games, beat some teams, have some fun and maybe have another banner to hang up this year.”
Members of the community were out in full force on Saturday to cheer on the Tigers during homecoming. Northport High School Principal Daniel Danbusky said not many high schools can pack the stands like the Northport community during a football game. He added that he’s hopeful the Tigers will advance to the playoffs this year.
“We have great kids who work really hard and we have a fantastic coaching staff,” Danbusky said. “We couldn’t imagine anyone better equipped to lead these kids then Kip.”
The homecoming game also featured performances from the Northport Marching Band, the Northport Tigerettes and the Northport varsity cheerleaders.
Homecoming king and queen, TJ Dowling and Emily Deal, were crowned after the game at the homecoming dance.
The Tigers are scheduled to host Lindenhurst on Saturday with kick off slated for 3 p.m.
Lindenhurst, one of the three undefeated teams in Northport’s division, will be a way for the Tigers to determine where they are as a team, Lukralle said.
“Our goal is to get better each week and obviously make the playoffs so it’s a process and I think this Saturday against one of the top two teams in our conference is going to be a good indicator for us,” Lukralle said. “The way our kids are progressing, we feel pretty good about the matchup.”