Football

Kennedy wastes no time in first game since pandemic shutdown

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Mike Dougherty
 
| Rockland/Westchester Journal News

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SOMERS – Louis Cardillo was ready for the moment.

The senior wideout struggled to maintain focus in school Friday, knowing that he was finally going to play football again. He sat out the 2019 season after transferring into Kennedy Catholic then endured more anxiety when high-risk sports were paused.

Cardillo wasn’t think clearly until he stepped on the field.

“I had the jitter all day in class,” he said. “My feet just kept tapping. I had two big tests, but my only concern was playing in my first game back in a while. Homecoming. Senior Night. It really felt great to be out there. I love the game.”

The Gaels were the first high school football team in Westchester to get back in action since the pandemic changed everything.

“We talked about it before the game and it really felt like an October night,” Kennedy head coach Dominick Tassone said. “Once the music began to play and the lights went on, it was like, ‘Here we go. We’re back at it.’ It was a different feeling, but a great feeling.”

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And there was plenty of nervous tension when St. Dominic’s kicked off.

The ball quickly found Cardillo, who located a seam in the coverage then raced 71 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.  

“It bounced my way and I was like, ‘I’m taking this to the crib,’ ” he said. “What a great feeling.”

The crowd that stretched along the home sideline instantly came to life. Liam Mullholland added the PAT and it was 7-0 in a blink.

 “It was funny, I was walking the sidelines, getting ready for the first play,” Tassone said. “I was a little distracted and the next thing I see is Louis running down the sideline. It was like, ‘That was easy. Right back to it.’ It was fun to be back out here.”

Kennedy rolled to a 34-0 win over the Bayhawks and will settle into the normal weekly routine that includes all of the COVID-19 protocols and prepare for a serious test against Kellenberg.

Turning point

After the defense came up with a fourth-down stop, the Gaels offense got a chance to debut and quarterback Clayton Proctor went deep over the middle on third down, connecting with James Brown for a 45-yard touchdown.

The big plays had the Bayhawks questioning themselves early.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to start off a football game,” Proctor said. “Stuff like that gets the crowd hyped, gets the team hyped. It gets everybody up and ready to go.”

Player of the game

Proctor completed 10 passes for 182 yards and three scores.

“It’s different, but it’s still the same mentality, get out there and play hard, win,” he said of the March start. “It’s all the same stuff.”

By the numbers

St. Dominic’s (0-1): Michael Petrucelly had 13 carries for 71 yards. … Sean Peavy completed 12 of 26 attempts for 82 yards.

Kennedy (1-0): Brown caught four passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. … Freshman running back Chris Kalle had nine carries for 120 yards and one touchdown.

Quotable

“Everybody in school knew today was the first game of the season,” Proctor said. “We’re the only game happening tonight in Westchester and it means the world to the team, to the school. I’m really glad everyone gets to step on the field now. We have some really tough games coming up next, but it doesn’t matter. We’re playing football. That’s what really matters.”

Mike Dougherty covers boys soccer, boys lacrosse, girls basketball and golf for The Journal News/lohud.com. He can be reached at [email protected], or on Twitter @hoopsmbd, @lohudlacrosse, @lohudhoopsmbd and @lohudgolf.

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