The lead to today’s Fifth Quarter focuses on Carmel, one of the biggest of the 2010 season so far. Through three weeks, the Rams are 1-2. They games have been decided by a grand total of eight points after a four-point loss to Fox Lane and a three-point loss to John Jay-East Fishkill, and last Friday night’s thrilling 27-26 OT victory over Ketcham.
I talked to coach Todd Cayea yesterday. He said the first two weeks were rife with frustration but the team has found some stability. It starts with what is always Carmel’s most glorified position: the quarterback. Senior Christian Sookedo didn’t start the opener against Fox Lane but has been solid since coming off the bench. He threw for 201 yards and a touchdown against Ketcham.
The Rams are young, and some of their early struggles can be linked to mistakes. For example, they gained about 300 yards of offense against JJEF but scored just three points in a 6-3 loss.
Last Friday, Carmel was the team that forced the mistakes. Down 20-0 in the second quarter against Ketcham, Mark Nicotera recovered a fumble on a punt and it helped his team get on the board. Then, senior captain Aaron Smith intercepted a pass to set up the tying TD.
OT sounded like it was pretty action packed. First, Carmel had a field goal blocked on the last play of regulation. But the team responded with a quick score by Bryant Wiggins and an extra point. Aaron Morganstern struck back with a 25-yard run but was stuffed on the subsequent two-point try.
Was it the type of game Carmel could lose? Absolutely. But maybe the Rams were owed one. “As easily as we could be 0-3, we could be 3-0, too,” Cayea said.
I touch on a few other items in the Fifth Quarter, including:
— Iona Prep’s Sidney Weston did his best Jeff Mack impersonation on Sunday, scoring five TDs in the first half of a 52-6 rout over St. Francis Prep. But Weston is committed to helping Iona maintain its momentum, so he’s no longer thinking about what was easily the best day of his high school career.
“My five touchdowns and 130 yards, that’s out the window for me,” said Weston, who started at outside linebacker as a sophomore and strong safety as a junior before shifting into Mack’s old role. “I’ve already forgotten I even did that. I’m just worried about Holy Cross right now.”
— Despite a small break in his fibula, Terrelle Eaton could return as soon as next week against New Rochelle. The 240-pound White Plains senior will meet with his doctor early next week to be reevaluated.
Eaton suffered the injury on the first drive of the second half against Lincoln in Week 2 as he tried to twist out of a tackle. He rushed for 269 yards and scored five touchdowns in just six quarters of work this season, but the Tigers feel good about Eaton’s replacement. It’s actually his runningmate, Khadrey Merot, who was expected to receive his share of carries. Instead, the senior saw limited work on offense the first two games because of a shoulder injury.