The Nassau County Conference I football championship will go through Oceanside.
The Sailors capped a perfect regular season and secured the No. 1 playoff seed and home-field advantage with a 42-34 victory over previously unbeaten Massapequa last Saturday afternoon. Junior quarterback Charlie McKee threw for 291 yards and four touchdowns, including three to junior Michael Mecca, and sealed the outcome with a 2-yard scoring run with just under two minutes remaining.
The Chiefs, who trailed by as many as 21, managed a late touchdown to make it a one-possession game but had their last-minute kickoff roll out of bounds and Oceanside (6-0) ran out the clock to set up a semifinal meeting with No. 4 Syosset this Friday at 6 p.m. Massapequa hosts East Meadow in the other semifinal.
“Massapequa is a dangerous team and we had to keep our foot on the gas,” Sailors head coach Rob Blount said. “We had a nice opening drive to set the tone and I thought we did a great job executing on offense all day. We’re excited to lock up home field for the playoffs and maybe we’ll see Massapequa again.”
Oceanside’s game-opening drive covered 87 yards and ate up the first 7:26 of the first quarter. McKee found junior Nick Ebel on a quick corner route for a 7-yard touchdown and it was 7-0 after senior kicker Joe Briguglio’s first of six straight successful extra points. It was the 60th career TD pass for McKee, who earlier in the campaign became the program’s all-time leader in the category.
McKee & Co. were back in the end zone again in the closing seconds of the quarter when he hooked up with a wide-open Mecca for a 13-yard touchdown.
Trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Chiefs cut the margin in half with a solid drive orchestrated by quarterback John Giller. On the day, Giller was 13-for-19 passing for 204 yards and three scores and also ran for a touchdown. His first scoring toss — 4 yards — went to Timothy Morrow.
After their defense allowed an opening-half touchdown for the first time in a month, the Sailors responded and drove 76 yards and took a 21-7 lead on Mecca’s 16-yard touchdown reception. The advantage swelled to 28-7 thanks to senior Andres Duran’s 1-yard touchdown run.
“Our O-line has been dominant,” said Blount, referring to a unit comprised of Mario DePasquale, Joey Broderick, Michael Furst, Giff Stiansen and Anthony Corvino. “Those guys are giving Charlie has all the time he needs to throw, and we’ve also shown we can run it,” he added.
Massapequa stopped the bleeding with a touchdown just before halftime to get within 28-13, and Giller’s 1-yard score in the third made things more interesting at 28-20. The Sailors opened up some breathing room on Mecca’s 21-yard scoring grab to lead by 15 entering the fourth quarter but couldn’t relax until the final horn.
Oceanside is seeking its second county title in four seasons and sixth all-time.