Featured Story
10/31/15 1:21am
10/31/2015 1:21 AM
Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Kevin Santacroce, passing over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck's Tyler Corrigan, threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Kevin Santacroce, passing over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck’s Tyler Corrigan, threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns. (Credit: Garret Meade)

No sooner had the football game ended when the waiting game began.

After meeting with his players following Friday night’s game, the first question a reporter popped Jeff Doroski’s way was an obvious one: So, are you guys in the playoffs?

“In my mind, yeah, we’re in,” answered the Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School football coach.

Of course, because of a slate of games remaining to be played the following day and the intricacies of Suffolk County’s power-rating system, it was impossible to say for sure whether the Monarchs will reach the playoffs for the third time in four years. The Monarchs, who were seeded eighth before the season, will have to wait. Doroski said he hoped to learn Saturday night or Sunday whether or not his team finished among the top eight Suffolk Division IV teams that will gain entry into the postseason.

McGann-Mercy and Greenport/Southold/Mattituck both took 3-4 records into their final regular-season game on Friday night, along with uncertainty about being able to extend their seasons. One thing both teams knew for sure was that a loss would close the door on their chances.

It was the Monarchs, with their vaunted passing game, who walked away from Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field with their hopes alive, thanks to a 21-0 shutout victory. Their strong-armed quarterback, Kevin Santacroce, was directly involved in all three touchdowns, which came before halftime. The 6-foot-3 senior passed for two touchdowns and ran another in himself.

Santacroce, who has passed for about 1,500 yards this season, added 232 yards to his total on 16-of-29 passing. He was intercepted once.

The Porters fumbled the ball away three times, twice in the first quarter, setting up McGann-Mercy’s first two touchdowns.

Marco Sciara, a senior receiver and defensive back who missed McGann-Mercy’s last two games with a shoulder injury, starred in his return. Sciara lives in East Marion and did not want to miss playing against the rival Porters.

The Monarchs are sure glad he didn’t. Sciara caught eight passes for 124 yards, including an 11-yarder for the first touchdown. A 41-yard reception by Sciara highlighted the drive leading up to the score.

Sciara was targeted 13 times, dropped two passes (one in the end zone) and had another one glance off his fingertips.

The Porters fumbled on their next offensive play and Sam Schrage came up with the ball for the Monarchs. On the ensuing play, Santacroce led Sciara on a route along the sideline for a 34-yard gain that took him to the Porters’ 1-yard line before Garrett Malave brought him down. Then Santacroce carried the ball in on a quarterback sneak.

On a fourth-and-five play late in the second quarter, Santacroce, standing back in punt formation, threw a pass to Jack Pavelchak for 23 yards and a first down. On the next play, Nick Kneski made a great catch for an additional 37 yards. Shortly after that, Pavelchak made a neat sliding catch in the end zone with 12.4 seconds left in the half. Andrew Waski’s extra point made it 21-0.

The kind of night it was for the Porters was exemplified by their final offensive series of the season. Dominick Panetta’s interception gave the Porters the ball at McGann-Mercy’s 22. A 15-yard penalty set them back. Then, Dylan Marlborough connected on a 22-yard pass to Panetta, who fumbled. Malave, however, was in place to fall on the ball, giving the Porters first and goal from the 1.

After a Monarchs offside penalty moved the ball inside the 1, the Porters proceeded to go in the wrong direction. They lost 19 yards in four plays.

The Monarchs’ defense received nine tackles from Jared Velez and eight from Joe Luisi. Santacroce, in addition to his six tackles, recovered two fumbles and deflected two passes.

The Porters got off to a promising 3-1 start to the season, only to see their offense stagnate and struggle. They failed to score a point in the last four games — the second half of the season.

It was a tough ending for the Porters and their eight seniors. When the game ended, a touching scene developed when the seniors walked over to their coach, Jack Martilotta, and hugged him.

The Monarchs hope they have at least one more game to play before turning in their equipment.

“We’ll see,” Doroski said. “We’ll see how it all goes down.”

[email protected]

Featured Story
08/24/15 5:00pm
08/24/2015 5:00 PM

It’s an age-old rite of summer. When the dog days of August arrive, out come the helmets and the pads, the blocking sleds, the big tires, the blocking dummies, the stopwatches, the agility cones and the agility ladders. For high school football players and coaches, it’s the unofficial start of fall. READ

05/23/15 10:00am
05/23/2015 10:00 AM
Jeff Doroski will return this fall as Mercy's head football coach. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Jeff Doroski will return this fall as Mercy’s head football coach. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Jeff Doroski will return as the McGann-Mercy football coach next fall.

After a contentious departure in early 2014, which led to him taking the varsity head coach positions of Riverhead softball and Hampton Bays football, Doroski will once again be on the sideline of his alma mater when the Monarchs kick off in September.  (more…)

02/21/14 11:00am
02/21/2014 11:00 AM

McGann-Mercy athletic director Paul Mastronardi, who previously coached at Eastport-South Manor, said he will coach football and lacrosse at Mercy, but would not be the head coach. (The Press News Group/Kerry Monaco photo)

From Mercy High School’s humble beginnings in the 1950s, when 47 students in a temporary building on Roanoke Avenue made up its inaugural class, the small Riverhead school has served as the East End’s home for secondary students seeking a Catholic education in a close-knit community. As the school expanded, eventually becoming Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School in 2002, students there continued to gravitate toward athletics as a part of their education.

The Monarchs, while successful at times in certain sports, have never been known as a powerhouse program.

Administrators now hope to change that.  (more…)

02/21/14 10:00am
GARRET MEADE PHOTO  |  McGann-Mercy football coach Jeff Doroski faces an uncertain future amid speculation that he will be replaced as the team's varsity coach.

Jeff Doroski became the head football coach at Mercy in 2011. (Garret Meade file photo)

I’ll never forget that day in Babylon in the fall of 1998. I was a senior at Mercy High School, playing in one of the final football games of the season, and we were getting our tails kicked in. At halftime the score was so obscenely lopsided that if forfeiting didn’t carry such universal shame, I’m sure most of my teammates would have elected to pack up, get on the bus and head back to Mercy. (more…)

01/30/14 12:45pm
01/30/2014 12:45 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy football coach Jeff Doroski faces an uncertain future amid speculation that he will be replaced as the team’s varsity coach.

Word began to spread Wednesday evening among parents and players of the Bishop McGann-Mercy football program that popular varsity coach Jeff Doroski has been fired, the News-Review has learned. (more…)

10/02/13 5:00pm
10/02/2013 5:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | McGann-Mercy sophomore KJ Santacroce intercepts a pass Saturday against Wyandanch.

In the wake of a disappointing loss Saturday, McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski issued his players a challenge. As the Monarchs fell to 0-3 — the prospects of a return playoff appearance fading farther away — Doroski knows it would be easy for the commitment level to begin slipping.

“It’s real easy this time of the year to say ‘Hey coach, I got to go to extra help, I’m not going to be at practice,’ or ‘Hey coach, my mom needs help at home,’ ” Doroski said. “Those are the things that start to creep in when your season isn’t going well.”

Doroski’s challenge to his players: “Don’t be that guy.”

The Monarchs lost 28-20 to Wyandanch Saturday on homecoming, a tough defeat for a team that reached the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs last year. The Warriors, winless in their first two games, were the lowest-seeded team in the division coming into this year.

The road doesn’t get any easier for Mercy. Games against two of the perennial powers of the division are next: John Glenn Saturday and Mount Sinai Oct. 12. Both games are at home.

“We’ll keep coming to work and trying to get better every day,” Doroski said. “I told the guys, you got the better half of the season left and it doesn’t get any easier. We’re going to see what kind of character our kids are made up of in the next couple weeks.”

Whereas last year things always seemed to break the Monarchs’ way, things have taken a turn for the worse this year. Penalties and turnovers have piled up and the Monarchs haven’t found another threat offensively in addition to running back Reggie Archer. He scored all three touchdowns for Mercy against the Warriors and tallied 123 yards on 22 carries.

Doroski said quarterback KJ Santacroce did a good job throwing the ball, but the receiving corps hasn’t been able to come up with big plays. Junior Andrew Glasgow was a bright spot with four receptions for 42 yards, Doroski said. Glasgow also had six tackles and a sack on defense.

Mercy went ahead 20-14 early in the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, the Monarchs tried an onside kick to catch the Warriors by surprise. The Warriors pounced on it and converted the short field into a touchdown to tie the game. On Mercy’s next possession, the Monarchs fumbled, giving the ball back to Wyandanch around the 30-yard line. The Warriors punched it in to take the lead and the score remained that way over the final quarter.

Doroski said a bright spot on defense was Patrick Rossi, who led the team with eight tackles and a sack.

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08/21/13 7:00pm
08/21/2013 7:00 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Colin Ratsey (6-foot-4, 273 pounds) is Bishop McGann-Mercy's largest player and a big piece of the Monarchs' line.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Colin Ratsey (6-foot-4, 273 pounds) is Bishop McGann-Mercy’s largest player and a big piece of the Monarchs’ line.

One doesn’t have to think too hard to imagine what football coach Jeff Doroski must have been thinking when he saw the hulking figure of Colin Ratsey walking through the hallways of Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School several years ago. And one need not imagine what Doroski’s response was when he learned that Ratsey was a golfer, of all things.

Doroski recalled: “I was like, ‘Golf? What are you doing? Golf?’ ”

Then Doroski went on to convince Ratsey that he has the rest of his life to play golf, but only a few more years to play football for McGann-Mercy. He got his recruit.

Years later, that recruiting pitch seems more important than ever now that Ratsey assumes valuable places on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Monarchs. At 6-feet-4, 273 pounds, the senior is the biggest player on the team, and big things are being asked of him this year.
He is also a big piece of the puzzle. It is considered vital that Ratsey, who aside from senior Pat Marelli, is the team’s only returning lineman, does well this year.

“Has to,” said Doroski.

McGann-Mercy lost some good linemen from last year’s playoff team in Ray Ellis, Chris Motlenski and Jack Strnad. That means a new line with a revamped role for Ratsey.

“Everybody knows he can do it, but he has to show it now,” said Marelli.

Ratsey started all but one game last year for the Monarchs, playing guard and defensive tackle. It’s up in the air where exactly he will play on the lines this year. Marelli will play center and middle linebacker. “With the zone blocking scheme, it’s pretty much the same no matter where you are in those five positions up front,” said Doroski.

And it sounds as if it doesn’t make much of a difference to Ratsey, either. “Wherever they need me, I’ll block, and wherever they need me on defense, you know, I’ll get through the line and do the best I can,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll have a great season.”

That is what the Monarchs are counting on. It goes without saying that backs and receivers get most of the attention and acclaim, but linemen may have more to do with wins and losses than anyone else on the field.

“We’re excited about what he’s capable of doing for us this year,” Doroski said. “He’s got good feet. He can move around pretty good. He’s not one of those slow, lumbering big guys. He can move around pretty good for a big guy. This has the potential to be a very good year for him, and if it is, it’s going to make us that much better.”

So far, outside linebacker/fullback Luis Cintron likes what he has seen from Ratsey. “He’s looking great,” said Cintron.

Ratsey, who lives in Greenport, has attended Catholic schools his whole life. He had played four years for the Peconic Panthers youth football program and is familiar with the current players on the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island team. “I know the whole team,” he said. “They always smack talk, but I’m not worried about it.”

Ratsey has twice played against the Porters. The thought has undoubtedly crossed his mind that under different circumstances he could very well be on the other side of the line wearing different colors. This year the teams aren’t scheduled to play each other, but Ratsey looks forward to meeting his hometown buddies in a scrimmage.

Ironically, a former McGann-Mercy linemen, senior Owen Finnigan, has joined the Porters this summer.

Thanks to that fateful hallway meeting with Doroski, Ratsey’s athletic course changed as he embraced football.

“Right away I loved it,” he said. “Now it’s my passion.”

Golf will have to wait.

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