Stefano Bicknese said he knew he was beat, but he remembered what he has always been taught -- to not give up on the play.
So when Poughkeepsie's Joshua Taylor caught a long pass behind Bicknese, the Somers two-way star caught him and punched the ball loose. Teammate Mathew Morgante caught it out of mid-air, and Somers was able to close out a 23-14 win over the previously undefeated defending Section 1 champion Pioneers Friday night.
Tony DeMatteo, who earned his 296th career victory -- no Section 1 coach has ever come close to 300 -- told his team to go for the ball and "your parents will still love you if you miss it."
Bicknese, who scored two touchdowns and rushed for 141 yards on 20 carries, was a star again, but this victory had a lot of fingerprints on it. The Tuskers (4-0) handled Poughkeepsie's high-powered offense and elusive quarterback D'Andre Smith, and took advantage of turnovers, blocked kicks and all sorts of opportunities.
"It shows we can hang with the big boys," said Somers' Daniel Campbell, who was a monster on defense.
DeMatteo's message to his players was to "not be afraid, to enjoy this moment. It's not about winning and losing. It's about coming and playing with your heart, and if it's not good enough, it's not good enough. But don't be afraid of the moment."
Somers went down the field and took the lead on the first possession, Bicknese scoring from 22 yards out. Somers then kicked onside and Connor Viasaty -- who also had a big two-way game -- recovered it. The Tuskers came to play.
Poughkeepsie tied it on a 71-yard run by Jahyan Maxwell, as Somers blocked the PAT. Tim Fazzinga soon blocked a Pioneers punt and Viasaty scooped it up and ran it in for a 13-6 lead, which beame 16-6 on Joshua Riger's 29-yard field goal. Poughkeepsie drove to the Somers 5, but though the unofficial scoreboard clock showed 10 seconds left, the on-field officials ruled the half had ended.
Bicknese opened the fourth quarter with a 37-yard touchdown run to make it 23-6, and the Pioneers answered when Maxwell scored from 15 yards out, got a two-point conversion pass from Smith to Davonte Hamilton, and Markel Green recovered an onside kick at 23-14. But Bicknese knocked the ball loose, and Somers remained unbeaten.