The Wantagh Warriors defeated the New Hyde Park Gladiators 40-7 in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite the loss, the Gladiators kept their spirits up and their bond stronger than ever, proving that they are, “Thick as Blood.”
This is the first time in three years that the Gladiators made the playoffs, bringing excitement back to New Hyde Park students.
“Despite what people said about them, they persisted through the season and they brought back Gladiator pride to our school. Even though this season is over, they really should be proud of all they accomplished,” said onlooker Devon DeSanna.
The first and second quarters were rough for the Gladiators with Wantagh scoring four touchdowns, leaving the score to be 27-0 by halftime.
Spirits were still high as cheerleaders from both teams led the crowds in chants during halftime.
This is one of the first years where Gladiator games have had such an amazing turnout of parents and fans sharing their support throughout the season due to the effort of the football team.
The Gladiators refused to quit and made their first touchdown of the game early in the third quarter.
Fransico Kang made an 80-yard kickoff return and Lucas Santangelo followed with the point-after, making the score 27-7.
The New Hyde Park boys were playing harder than ever in the third quarter. Their resilience and heart was clearly shown on the field. The Gladiators’ united front was easy to see from the stands.
The Gladiators’ defense was strong, with tackles made by Josh Lee and Paul Reo, keeping Wantagh from scoring much of the third quarter.
By the fourth quarter, Wantagh was able to make two more touchdowns, leaving the score to be 40-7 by the end of the game.
The Warriors fans and players weren’t very hospitable to New Hyde Park throughout much of the game. There was quite a lot of trash talk coming from the stands and the sidelines that seemed to go unnoticed by the referees.
Despite the disrespect, the Gladiators kept their composure and finished the game with pride, making all of their supporters proud to be a part of the moment.
“Every single player on our team is my second family,” said Gladiators’ wide receiver Stephen Keane. “They are my brothers and we will always be a united family. There are no regrets about this season, I loved every minute of it and wouldn’t change anything. We’ll always be thick as blood.”
The Gladiators had their best season in years, with a final record of 5-3.
The season may be over, but the players and the fans are already looking forward to next year when they can continue to bring Gladiator pride to New Hyde Park.