Having to face Elwood/John Glenn once on the football field is tough enough. Bishop McGann-Mercy had to do it twice in as many weeks.
McGann-Mercy coach Mike Buck took a philosophical approach toward his team’s Suffolk County Division IV qualifying-round game at Glenn this past Saturday. “You got to go through them anyway,” he said. “That’s how I look at it.”
In the final regular-season game between the teams on Nov. 1, Glenn handed the Monarchs a 41-13 thumping in the rain.
When the teams returned to the same East Northport field for their playoff rematch on Saturday, Buck hoped the odds against the Monarchs might be trimmed down a little since they had already seen the Knights once and could make adjustments.
But there was no way to adjust for the physicality of Glenn’s line, which helped the second-seeded Knights (8-1) break out to a 28-0 lead and go on to roll to victory, 47-21.
“Everything had to do with up front,” Buck said. “We had a hard time running the ball. We relied a little bit more on the pass and we just could not stop them defensively. Most football games are all decided up front.”
Kevin Santacroce threw two touchdown passes to Marco Sciara and Reggie Archer ran for another touchdown for the No. 7 Monarchs (4-5).
“It was tough to come back from 28 points” down, Buck said. “We tried. The kids didn’t give up.”
The Monarchs made considerable strides, one year after they went 1-7, their only win coming on a forfeit by Southampton. But the Monarchs are also facing a lot of change next season. The team loses 12 seniors, including six starters on offense and five starters on defense. Among them are Archer and Andrew Glasgow, who are both interested in playing in college, said Buck.
Buck knows the Monarchs have a way to go before they can play at the level of Division IV powers like Shoreham-Wading River, Glenn, Bayport-Blue Point and Babylon.
“The top four teams, everything was expected,” Buck said. “They were bigger than us. They were stronger than us. They were faster than us.”
While Glenn prepares for a county semifinal against No. 3 Bayport-Blue Point on Saturday, McGann-Mercy can look ahead to its future, which Buck hopes will grow out of the school’s new state-of-the-art weight room.
He said, “If we’re going to compete with these big teams, I think the weight room is where we have to start.”