Thrilling start to football playoffs



By Tony Bellissimo

Two weeks after Lynbrook upset Plainedge with a field goal in the closing seconds of the regular-season finale to earn its way into the Nassau Conference III football playoffs, the Red Devils turned the table on the Owls in Saturday’s thrilling matchup to open the postseason.

Quarterback Nick Frenger’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Nick Cupolo with seven seconds remaining snapped a tie at 41 and won it for No. 3 Plainedge, which prevailed 54-41 and advanced to the semifinals. The Red Devils (7-2), who scored on each of their first seven possessions, recovered a fumble in the end zone with no time left for the final margin. No. 6 Lynbrook (4-5) pulled even with 1:52 remaining on quarterback Danny Kelly’s fourth touchdown, but with overtime looming a fumble recovery by Joe Bouse put Frenger & Co. back in business 27 yards away from paydirt with a half-minute to go.

“It was a great high school football game and our guys gave everything they had,” Owls head coach Steve LoCicero said. “This is a special group of kids who worked so hard to get to this point. Plainedge was just one possession better today.”

It was the passing game of the Red Devils, who missed a potential game-winning 33-yard field-goal attempt with 45 seconds left, against the ground attack of the Owls, and both offenses were nothing short of prolific.



By Steve Siniski

East Meadow overcame a 21-point first-half deficit and a pair of turnovers, but the Jets couldn’t overcome the consistent big plays produced by Massapequa in their Nassau Conference I playoff matchup at Roslyn on Saturday. The fifth-seeded Chiefs (7-3 overall) had three different players score on plays of at least 29 yards, including a late 62-yard touchdown run to by Paul Dilena to knock off No. 4 East Meadow (7-3), 43-29.

“We try to get the ball in our athletes hands as much as possible,” Chiefs head coach Kevin Shippos said.

Leading by seven with just over two minutes remaining and East Meadow angling to force a punt, the Chiefs faced a third-and-11 from their own 38-yard line when Dilena took a Paul Bentz handoff, followed his block into a hole on the right side of the line and didn’t stop until he hit the end zone. “We made too many mistakes to win a game of this caliber,” Jets head coach Vin Mascia said.

The run by Dilena came one possession after Massapequa forged ahead 36-29 midway through the fourth quarter when senior Harry Lowe battled Jets senior Robbie Bergmann for a jumpball in the front of the end zone and pulled down a 29-yard touchdown pass from Bentz. The scoring drive featured a fourth-down conversion for the Chiefs from the Jets 38 and covered 69 yards over nine plays.



By Andrew McClure

A couple of weeks off did nothing to slow down the Seahawks.

Quarterback Ray Catapano was a perfect 7-for-7 for 206 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 4 Carey to a convincing 35-13 win over No. 5 Long Beach in a Conference II playoff game. The Seahawks advanced to the conference semifinals where they will meet No. 1 Garden City at Hofstra next Saturday.

As is often the case, special teams played a big factor. After going three-and-out on their first drive, the Marines attempted to punt, but an errant snap gave the Seahawks the ball deep in Long Beach territory. Two plays later, sophomore Mike De Leo ran it in from seven yards out.

Later in the quarter, Carey (7-2) was faced with fourth-and-three from its own 46. Sophomore Conor Colasurdo took a direct snap on a fake punt and went 54 yards for the score. Dylan DeMeo, who was 5-for-5 on extra points, made the score 14-0. A 70-yard touchdown pass from Catapano to Matt Robison gave the Seahawks a commanding 21-0 lead. Long Beach finished 5-4.



By Andrew McClure

Even a field suitable for mud wrestling couldn’t slow West Hempstead’s vaunted running game.

Senior Tayvon Hall rushed for 167 yards on 12 carries and scored twice to lead the Rams to a 41-7 rout of visiting Clarke in the opening round of the Conference IV playoffs. No. 2 West Hempstead’s rushing attack amassed 479 yards as the Rams (8-1) advanced to the conference semifinals where they will meet No. 3 Roosevelt at Hofstra next Saturday night.

After a scoreless first quarter, junior Enrique McFarlane (150 yards on eight carries, and two touchdowns) took a handoff from quarterback Michael Petrizzo and went 33 yards to give the Rams a 6-0 lead. After Hall scored from 12 yards out to extend the lead, sophomore Bruce Gibbs (81 yards on five carries) electrified the crowd with 51-yard touchdown scamper. Petrizzo, who ran for 60 yards, added the two-point conversion to give the Rams a 20-0 lead. Third-quarter touchdown runs by Hall and McFarlane put the game out of reach. Clarke finished 4-5.