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Mostly Cloudy,42°
Sunday, November 23, 2014
L.I. continues streak over NYC
(Page 2 of 2)
Jeff Wilson/Herald
James Kretkowski, right, of Oceanside High School, fended off New York City's Jordan Francklin during the first quarter of the Empire Challenge.

Long Island’s defense set the tone early, stopping New York City on a pair of fourth-down attempts in the first quarter. Jake Carlock (Babylon) batted down a pass in the end zone to end NYC’s opening possession, which stalled at the 13, and Prendergast stopped Justin Guerre at the L.I. 33 to thwart the following drive.

“They got some yardage, but we made some big plays on defense,” Punzone said.

Long Island broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter when a special Empire Challenge rule worked to its advantage. Teams are permitted two punts per half, and L.I. had already punted twice when it faced fourth-and-10 from its own 5-yard line. Kocis, who misfired on his first three attempts, rolled out and delivered a strike to Ris for 17 yards to move the chains.

Kocis then connected with Trent Crossan (Sachem North), Curtis Jenkins (Farmingdale), Elijah Jones (Lawrence), and Sam Ilario (West Islip) to set up his 5-yard touchdown run. It was 8-0 after Ris took the extra-point snap and threw a two-point conversion pass to Carlock.

Long Island led 11-0 at halftime after Bryan Morris (Sachem North) booted a 24-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining in the half. It capped a drive highlighted by Capobianco’s 60-yard completion to Crossan. “It felt good to play one more game on this field,” Capobianco said.

It was 11-8 when Kocis hit tight end Josh Valentin (Commack) for a 44-yard touchdown on the second snap of a fourth quarter that featured more than half of the game’s points. Ris sealed the outcome by recovering an on-sides kick with 1:47 left.

“With three great quarterbacks, we knew throwing would be our mantra,” said Punzone, who started Carey’s Ray Catapano, the 2013 Thorp Award winner.

With the victory, Long Island increased its series lead to 11-6. Twelve of the 17 meetings (in 1996 and ‘97 the Empire Challenge featured Nassau vs. Suffolk) have been decided by fewer than eight points, including four by a point.

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