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Thursday, May 26, 2016
VSN rallies to upset Seaford
Spartans in title game for first time since 1981
Peter Frutkoff/Herald
James Capoziello and the Spartans did plenty of celebrating on Saturday night when they upset top-seeded Seaford in a Nassau Conference IV semifinal.

A little more than a year after Valley Stream North delivered a first-round playoff knockout of then-three-time defending Nassau Conference IV football champion Seaford, the Spartans withstood some punches and rallied to stun the top-seeded Vikings, 21-17, in a semifinal game last Saturday evening at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

After Seaford’s Matt Murphy’s 22-yard tiebreaking field goal with 1:54 remaining, North senior quarterback Anthony Martelli directed a 69-yard game-winning drive, capped by senior James Capoziello’s 6-yard touchdown grab with 37 seconds left on the clock. The fourth-seeded Spartans advance to the county finals for the first time since 1981 and will face defending champion Roosevelt, the No. 3 seed, this Sunday at 4 p.m.

VSN head coach Tom Schiavo called the victory “incredible.” The Spartans avenged a 28-14 regular-season defeat to Seaford in Week 7, and now they’ll try to do the same against the Rough Riders. Roosevelt, which won last year’s semifinal matchup, 27-21, beat North by 27 points on Sept. 15.

“We have a ton of multi-sport athletes,” Schiavo said. “They’re all used to pressure situations.”

The two-minute drill, Schiavo said, is something the team practices every day. And he couldn’t have been more comfortable with Martelli at the controls. “Anthony’s a gifted kid who’s been playing varsity sports for four years,” Schiavo explained. “Nobody panicked. The line gave him time to throw, and he got us down the field.”

Seniors Stephen Giuliante, Dylan Heitner and Isaiah Short all had key receptions to set up Capoziello’s winning catch. Capoziello also got the Spartans even in the third quarter when he hauled down a 60-yard touchdown pass to fully erase Seaford’s 14-0 lead at intermission following senior Thomas Wade’s extra point. “We call it the jet-slant-fade, and James talked about the play at halftime and wanted to use it,” Schiavo said. “So when we had the opportunity, we called it. Anthony put the ball on the money, and James caught it in stride.”


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