After leading for more than three quarters, Valley Stream South saw its second win of the season slip away when Floral Park quarterback Connor Vidasolo hit Michael Nolan for the game-wining score with 1:16 remaining last Saturday to give the visiting Knights a 12-7 victory in the Conference III matchup.
Vidasolo, a junior, found his senior wide receiver, Nolan, on an 8-yard out-route, capping a 64-yard drive in the final minutes.
It appeared as if South (1-2) would come away with a victory in its home opener when senior Chris Infantino sacked Vidasolo for a 10-yard loss with under two minutes to play. The sack forced Floral Park into a third-and-20 from its own 47-yard line. Vidasolo then lofted a pass down the left sideline, connecting with senior Rich Hawkins for a 45-yard gain.
“I think if we defend that last pass, we win this game,” said Falcons head coach Lance Griffin. On the next play, Nolan’s catch put the Knights (1-2) on top.
On the game’s opening drive, the Falcons’ running game appeared to be too much for the Floral Park defense to handle. The combination of seniors Frank Accardi, Phil Crisci and Bryan Providence rushed for 65 yards on the drive. After a big loss on third down deep in the Knights’ territory, Providence threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior Namdi Nwaigwe on fourth down. Fourteen of the 16 plays on the 9 minute, 23 second drive were runs, but a pass put the Falcons on top 7-0 late in the first quarter.
“It’s kind of inexplicable why we didn’t sustain that type of effort throughout the game,” Griffin said, referring to his team’s first possession.
“You have to give credit to this team of course,” he said of Floral Park. “They have a very big line...I think we had some trouble with that.”
The Knights’ offense struggled to get going in the first half as Crisci picked off a Vidasolo pass in Floral Park territory early in the second quarter, but the Falcons couldn’t capitalize.
Floral Park got on the board with 1:51 to play in the half after Vidasolo found junior Brian Moriarty in the middle of the field. Moriarty shook off a tackle and scampered into the end zone just before Crisci chased him down. The Knights missed the extra point and trailed 7-6 at the half.
The Falcons continued their offensive struggles in the second half. On its four possessions in the third and fourth quarters, South punted three times and had one turnover on downs.
“Obviously this is a disappointing loss,” Griffin said, “but this is what football’s about.”
The Falcons host undefeated Lawrence this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“I think this is a gut-check for us,” Griffin added. “One thing is losing, but the real test is how you respond to a loss…but how we come out and how hard we play (against Lawrence) is going to the key maybe to the rest of the season for us.”