With a patch on its jerseys and in a pregame ceremony last Saturday, Oceanside is paying homage to its 1977 Nassau County championship-winning football team.
The Sailors haven’t celebrated a title since, but they knocked hard on the door two years ago and don’t want to settle for anything less in 2017. Senior quarterback Tommy Heuer threw for 365 yards and five touchdowns, including four to junior Jake Lazzaro, and senior Bernie Diaz had a scoring reception, 10 tackles and three sacks to lead the way to a 34-24 Conference I victory over Farmingdale before an estimated home crowd of 1,000.
“It’s championship or bust,” said Lazzaro, who had eight receptions for 231 yards and scored twice in both the first and third quarters. “We put in so much work over the summer and everyone is on the same page,” he added. “I feel we’ve got one of the best offensive units around. Tommy has a great arm, we’ve got some great backs, and the line is tremendous.”
Oceanside, the preseason No. 1 seed, improved to 3-0 while defeating opponents that ended each of its past two campaigns — Farmingdale in the 2015 finals and Massapequa in last year’s first round. The Dalers (2-1) got three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Kevin McCormick, whose final attempt was picked off by senior Bryan Aguilar (12 tackles) inside the Sailors’ 10-yard line with 6:45 remaining.
“We feel we’ve got a special group with good senior leadership and they’ve responded well to some tough early games,” Oceanside head coach Rob Blount said. “Today we came out strong and composed against a very good team. We had a nice first quarter and even though we gave up a few big plays, I thought our defense played well.”
A week after hooking up for a 78-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the Sailors’ 38-0 victory over East Meadow, the Heuer-Lazzaro connection provided early fireworks again. They tested Farmingdale’s secondary on the first snap and Lazzaro, who was questionable with a hip pointer, made a leaping grab for 35 yards. Two plays later, he caught a 28-yard touchdown pass and Oceanside, which never trailed, jumped ahead just 2:13 into the game.
The Dalers responded with an opening drive that resulted in a 37-yard field goal by Briant DeFelice to cut the deficit to 6-3, however, Heuer needed just 65 seconds to find Lazzaro for a 64-yard touchdown on a short screen and it was quickly 13-3.
“We’ve got a lot of playmakers and Jake is the key to our vertical game,” Blount said of Lazzaro, who had a pair of first-down receptions late in the fourth quarter to help the Sailors run out the clock. “He’s got size and he’s got speed.”
Farmingdale, behind McCormick and senior Antonio Smikle (177 yards receiving, two touchdowns) made it a back-and-forth affair until Lazzaro’s touchdown grabs from 17 and 61 yards gave Oceanside a 34-17 cushion with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
Heuer’s touchdown-to-interception ratio on the year stands at 11-to-0 heading into Thursday’s game at Uniondale at 4:30 p.m.