L.I. cruises in Empire Challenge
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Long Island found paydirt again on its next possession, which began inside enemy territory at the 44. McKean hit a familiar target, Connetquot teammate James Higgins, for a 39-yard gain on a fade and then busted up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 13-0.
“Scoring the first two times we touched the ball was huge,” said Martillotti, who lauded the efforts of offensive coordinator Rob Hoss (Sayville) and offensive line coach Leif Shay (Riverhead.) “Up front, we were small compared to them,” he added. “But we excelled technique-wise and with the blocking schemes.”
Things got worse for NYC when quarterback Matthew Domina (Erasmus Hall) suffered a broken ankle on the ensuing series following a short gain on a keeper. Domina’s teammates and the coaching staff offered their support as he was escorted off the field on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance. Keon Marsh (Boys & Girls) ran the offense the rest of the night but had a tough go of it with four interceptions and three sacks.
A fumble recovery by Lawrence’s John Perrone at the NYC 17 early in the second quarter led to Long Island’s third touchdown and a 19-0 halftime lead. “If it wasn’t raining, I think I would’ve had scored,” Perrone said. The bag of tricks came out two plays later when Brian Balsamo (Sachem East) took a short pass from McKean and pitched a lateral to Stanback, who cruised 18 yards to the end zone.
Stanback had touchdowns runs of 1, 87 and 10 yards in the second half. Long Island’s defense, directed by Buddy Krumenacher (Farmingdale), got two sacks and a fumble recovery from Newfield’s James Manginelli, and five tackles and an interception from Riverhead’s Jeff Pittman. Other contributors on either side of the ball were East Meadow’s Giancarlo Carvalho, Oceanside’s Vassili Grigorakos and Anthony Pintabona, West Hempstead’s Tayvon Hall, Baldwin’s Jovaun Tomlinson, Valley Stream South’s Chris Infantino, and Lawrence’s Islam Mohamed.
“I thought the defense played awesome,” Martillotti said.