West Hempstead rebounded from its first loss of the season in a big way, steamrolling to a 41-12 Conference IV victory over visiting Valley Stream North last Saturday behind an offense that found the end zone on each of its first five possessions.
A week after squandering a 10-point lead at Seaford, the Rams (4-1) orchestrated impressive scoring drives of 85, 65, 65, 55 and 75 yards and led 34-0 when the starters called it a day with four minutes gone in the third quarter. The backfield trio of senior Tayvon Hall and juniors Bruce Gibbs and Enrique McFarlane (team-high 131) combined for 339 yards on the ground and five touchdowns.
“It’s a good win,” West Hempstead quarterback Michael Petrizzo said. “We were upset and frustrated after Seaford, but we knew we had to put together a strong week of practice and get ready for another good team.”
Head coach Dom Carre said the Rams turned the page on Seaford after breaking down the game film. “I told the guys there’s no looking back,” he said. “We’ve got a special group of athletes, but we’re not invincible. We need to play fired-up all the time.”
The Spartans (3-2), who totaled 79 points in consecutive victories to close September, welcomed starting quarterback Anthony Martelli back from injury but committed three turnovers and didn’t score until the final minute of the third quarter when the senior signal-caller hooked up with James Capoziello on a 46-yard touchdown pass.
“They’re tremendous up front and blew us off the ball,” VSN head coach Tom Schiavo said. “We just have to get back to work and get better. We’ve got another big game coming up against Clarke. Next week is Homecoming, and we have to avoid the distractions and play like we can.”
A turnover on the game’s opening possession set the tone. An interception by junior Akil Philip gave West Hempstead the ball at its own 15-yard line, and the unit went to work behind an offensive line consisting of seniors Vincent Greco and Danny Njoku, and juniors Jacob Johnson, Sean Regan and Kyle Outmagzine. Hall, who finished with 128 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, got the drive started with a 10-yard sweep and finished it with a 30-yard scoring dash along the visiting sideline. Senior kicker Jon Carlo Proietti’s first of five successful extra points made it 7-0.
After the Spartans failed to move the chains on the ensuing possession, the Rams struck quickly for a 14-0 lead. Hall busted a 47-yard run to set up a first-and-goal from the 10, and Gibbs (79 yards) scored from a yard out three plays later.
West Hempstead’s next two drives summed up the afternoon for both teams. Gibbs sprinted for a 20-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-15, and Hall followed with a 6-yard touchdown with nine seconds remaining in the half to make it 27-0. Petrizzo, who picked off two Martelli passes, also pounced on a rare Hall fumble to keep the final drive of the second quarter alive.
“That was a designed play,” Petrizzo joked of the fumble recovery. “We call it the bounce option.”
Next up for the Rams is Homecoming opponent East Rockaway this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.