Football is a game of passion, hard work, and brotherhood. The players on a team are like family, and when you lose family it hurts in the worst ways.

Kyle Dilegame, Photo by Vincent Alongi

            On November 4, a fire broke out on 136 Udall Road, taking the lives of two West Islip brothers, Matthew Kreamer, 24, and Kyle Dilegame, 16. Matthew was a West Islip High School Graduate, and Kyle was attending West Islip High School, nearly halfway through his senior year.

Their parents, John Deligame and Toni Kreamer, thankfully made it out safely, but suffered serious burns and injury. The town of West Islip has been in mourning and grieving for the family.

            Kyle was a member of the West Islip High School Football team. He was a part of their family, and only six days after his death, the team had to take the field again.

This past Friday, November 10, West Islip High School faced Half Hollow Hills East in the Suffolk County Division II semifinal game. They had an 8-1 overall record and a 6-1 league record coming into this game. This made them second place in their league, with their only loss coming from the team they were about to face, Half Hollow Hills East. With a chip on their shoulder, and their brother watching above, West Islip football seemed destined to win this playoff game.

The game started with a moment of silence for Matt and Kyle as over 4,000 fans, friends, and family of the brothers joined together in remembrance. His teammates, coaches, and other staff wore shirts that read “We play for Kyle.” The players also wore Kyle’s number on their helmets to honor him. The entire West Islip community expressed their support as the football team strived to continue their playoff run and play for Kyle.

#34 Jack Harvell, Photo by Vincent Alongi

Hills East started with the football, but couldn’t get anything going, forcing them to punt. You could tell the West Islip Lions were playing with heart as they had a terrific start to their first drive of the game. It was ultimately capped off with an impressive 32-yard touchdown run for Running Back Rocco Carpinello. After kicking the extra point, the Lions were up 7-0 after nearly six minutes of football.

Hills East then outscored the Lions 19-7 in the second quarter to take the lead. Carpinello had his second rushing touchdown, this one for 34 yards, but it wasn’t enough as they were chasing 5 going into the half. It then took until the end of the third quarter for West Islip to regain the lead on yet another Carpinello rushing touchdown for 14 yards.

In the fourth quarter it was a constant battle of grit and determination on both sides. Hills East managed to take a lead on a touchdown and extra point with under a minute left in the game. The Lions weren’t giving up though, especially because they knew who they were playing for.

With less than a minute, they managed to drive down the field and get it within 5 yards. They looked to the guy who produced all game for them to finish it off: Carpinello recorded his 4th rushing touchdown of the game to win it for the Lions. More importantly, he won it for Matthew Kreamer and Kyle Dilegame.

Friends and family rejoiced as West Islip celebrated their incredible victory. It was an amazing moment for West Islip High school.

It was Kyle’s Birthday on Friday as well; he would have been seventeen. They truly did it for him. The Lions will hope to honor Kyle and Matt even more as they continue to make a playoff run, and no other team wants it more than them.

Make sure to watch this amazing story unfold as West Islip faces North Babylon in the next round… for Matt and Kyle!

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James Haupt is The Messenger Papers' weekly Sports Reporter and Staff Writer, covering everything from local little leagues to professional sports teams. James is also a full-time college student at Villanova University majoring in Journalism.