Lynbrook 39, Sewanhaka 14

Owls take football opener behind ground attack


Though its new turf field at Marion Street School wasn’t quite ready for Week 1, Lynbrook looked right at home in the Nassau Conference III football opener on Wednesday night.

Behind junior tailback Dylan Lucas and senior quarterback Joe Grossi, the Owls ran over Sewanhaka, 39-14, under the lights at Long Beach Middle School. Lucas rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns, and Grossi added 167 yards and three scores to lead a dynamic ground attack that controlled the tempo and clock.

“We’re trying to play fast when we have the ball, and tonight it really worked,” Owls head coach Steve LoCicero said. “I thought we played a strong game against a good football team. Sewanhaka has a lot of good athletes. One of our main goals was to hold them under 16 points.”

The Indians got a touchdown run from senior De’Ante Gonzalez and a touchdown through the air with senior quarterback Jake Mellen connecting with senior wideout Mahlik Elliott, but struggled defensively. “It’s a little disappointing,” Sewanhaka head coach George Kasimatis said. “We knew what they were going to bring, but we had trouble making stops. It just seemed like we took turns making mistakes on defense.”

Sewanhaka’s toughest defensive series came on the opening possession of the second half when it committed three penalties totaling 35 yards to aid a Lynbrook scoring drive that made it 26-7. The Owls began the third quarter on their own 20 and went 80 yards on 10 plays in five minutes-plus, capped by Lucas’ 8-yard touchdown run. Along the way, there were flags for unsportsmanlike conduct, a facemask, and encroachment.

The Indians’ offense responded after starting the ensuing possession in Lynbrook territory at the 48. Gonzalez ran three straight times for 16 yards, senior Jacques Francois made an acrobatic 29-yard reception inside the 10, and Gonzalez scored from six yards out to cut the margin to 26-14.

“We’ve got some playmakers,” Kasimatis said. “I thought our offensive line did a great job. It was probably the best group we had out there tonight.”

The Owls answered quickly and led 32-14 after Grossi went 74 yards for a touchdown on an option keeper. “Their defense was jumping outside most of the game,” LoCicero said. “Joe saw an opening inside and ran through it.”

Grossi opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game on a 12-yard run, set up by senior Owen Daly’s fumble recovery inside the Sewanhaka 10. Lynbrook’s defense also came up big on a pair of fourth-and-1 situations in the first half, with seniors Joseph LaBarbera and Kevin Lann making clutch tackles. Senior Harrison Conn added an interception in the fourth quarter.