Last Friday night’s rain-soaked Nassau Conference IV football semifinal at Hofstra had all the markings of another nailbiter between defending champion Seaford and West Hempstead when lightning struck — on the field, not in the sky.
With time evaporating in a swiftly played first half dominated by both defenses, Seaford junior quarterback Logan Masters connected with senior tight end Nick Sylvester for a 30-yard touchdown to break a scoreless tie with 19 seconds left and the Vikings controlled the second half in a 28-0 victory.
Masters and Sylvester hooked up again for a 38-yard score early in the third quarter and senior Joe Angelastro rushed for a 46-yard touchdown to propel top-seeded Seaford (8-2) into the championship game against No. 3 Cold Spring Harbor (8-2) this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Hofstra. It’s a rematch of last year’s final won by the Vikings, 21-0.
“The conditions were tough, but I’m proud of our kids because they were tougher,” Seaford head coach Rob Perpall said. “Our coaching staff drew up a plan
to specifically stop them and the kids
No. 7 West Hempstead, which upset second-seeded Clarke in the opening round, managed just 83 yards of total offense and finished 5-5.
“It was the first time all year we weren’t able to move the ball,” West Hempstead head coach Dom Carre said. “Seaford had a good defensive scheme and they do all the little things great.”
The Vikings and Rams played two hard-fought games over the past year. In last year’s playoff opener, Seaford pulled out a late 21-17 win on Hail Mary pass to embark on a memorable postseason run that culminated with a Long Island title. Then in Week 2 this season, West Hempstead led by a touchdown in the fourth quarter before Perpall’s squad rallied for a 28-21 win.
The first half was a defensive slugfest. Seaford, a team that rarely punts, did
so three times — matching its number of first downs while tripling that of the Rams. Senior Andrew Cuchel helped the Vikings win the battle of field position by averaging 43 yards per boot. He would also drill 3 of 4 extra-point tries in difficult conditions.
“He has a tremendously strong leg,” Perpall said of Cuchel. “If they gave out an All-County award for a punter/kicker, he’d deserve it in my opinion.”
The teams combined for only 66 yards in 23-plus minutes of play before Sylvester ran a post pattern and got behind the secondary for the game’s first touchdown.
Sylvester’s second touchdown catch, set up by senior Ryan Butler’s fumble recovery on the second play of the third quarter, came on fourth-and-5. Angelastro had a 46-yard touchdown run midway through the third following another West Hempstead turnover, a fumble recovered by junior Chris Surace. Masters capped the scoring a few seconds into the fourth with a 2-yard run.
Seaford’s defensive effort was led by juniors Zach Corominis (7 tackles) and Pat Quinn, who had 1.5 sacks.