Oceanside’s perfect football season was in peril until senior quarterback Tom Capone helped the Sailors to a dramatic 28-24 victory at Massapequa last Saturday.
The Sailors, who entered the game with a 4-0 mark in Conference I, went into the fourth quarter down 17-14 and still trailed 24-14 late in the game. But Capone connected with senior Anthony Pintabona on a 23-yard scoring pass and then, with under a minute to play, capped off a 60-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. Capone completed 17 of 30 attempts for 233 yards and two scores and also rushed for 159 yards. He spread those passes out to five different receivers, led by Pintabona, who caught 12 throws for 192 yards and two scores. For the season, Capone has completed 61 of 101 passes for 1,005 yards and 11 touchdowns. Pintabona has 29 catches for 522 yards.
The Sailors were coming off a 22-0 win over Syosset on Sept. 29. In that game, Capone was 20 for 27 for 238 yards and also rushed for a touchdown. In a 45-14 win over Plainview-JFK the previous week, Capone attempted just 12 throws as Justin Buckley (128 yards), Shane Saucier (125) and Vassili Grigorakos (100) each rushed for at least 100 yards. Capone threw for 207 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-21 win over East Meadow and 218 in a 42-6 victory over Valley Stream Central. Pintabona, Buckley, Saucier, Grigakos and Luke Schwasnick have been his most frequent targets, but Ryan McCarthy and Tim Nolan have also contributed to the offense as the Sailors have outscored the opposition 173-65 in their first five games.
The Sailors ability to score quickly became an issue as they trailed Massapequa (3-2) with time slipping away. Pintabona’s 43-yard catch-and-run closed the deficit to 17-14 in the third quarter, but then Massapequa added a touchdown. Capone found Pintabona again, this time for 23 yards, and then the Sailors got the ball back for the final time with the game on the line, trailing 24-21. Needing a field goal to tie and a touchdown to win, they got the touchdown, Capone muscling in from six yards out. He’d given the sailors their first score on a 75-yard run after Massapequa had gone ahead 10-0 in the first quarter, and he gave them their final points.
This Saturday at 3 p.m. Oceanside will host Freeport, a team that beat them 43-21 in the semifinals at Hofstra last November. Freeport, though, has started 1-4 this season. The Sailors finish the regular season with games at Baldwin (3-2) on Oct. 20 and home versus Hicksville (0-5) on the 27th.
Oceanside head coach Rob Blount is not looking ahead, he says, not with Freeport next on the docket.
“They’re still Freeport to us,” Blount said, noting that of the 11 losses his team has suffered in his four years at the helm, Freeport is responsible for five of them. “As far as we’re concerned they’re one of the elite teams in our conference.”
The Sailors, too, have been among the elite.