YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers police and firefighters clashed for a good cause Saturday in their first annual flag football game.
Points were tough to come by as police bested firefighters 7-0 in front of dozens of spectators under the lights at Gorton High School’s Donald DeMatteo Field.
But the real winners of the night were the children of the Ronald McDonald House New York, as the game raised thousands of dollars for the charity.
“We have a tough job to do and so do they and its fun to get together and raise this money for a good cause,” Yonkers Fire Captain Dom Fornabaio said after the game. “This is what it’s all about -- helping people. And I’m glad to be a part of it.”
The first game of what will become an annual clash was played in honor of a pair of fallen service members who died earlier this year after battles with illness.
Firefighter Antonio Rodriques, a 12-year veteran of the fire department, died in August at age 49 as a result of complications from a hemorrhagic stroke he suffered earlier in the summer.
Detective James McCabe, a 25-year veteran of the Yonkers Police Department, died in August at age 52 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Clutching the bonze football trophy given to the winner, Detective Dale Hughes said the memories of the two men weighed heavily on the minds of both teams Saturday.
“Tonight was all about them,” said Hughes, who also serves as vice president of the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association.
McCabe’s fellow officers, who wore the initials JM on the sleeves of their blue jerseys, said words couldn’t do justice to what the decorated detective meant to the department.
“He was one of the best,” Hughes said. “He is really missed.”
On the other side, Yonkers firefighters said Rodriques, was sorely missed as well.
“Both the guys we honored tonight, they both helped a lot of people,” Fornabaio said.