For the first time in 40 years, they’re celebrating a Nassau County football championship in Oceanside.
On a cold, rainy and windy Saturday on the turf at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium, the Sailors rode a red-hot defense to a 17-0 victory over defending champion Freeport in the Conference I title game. A unit spearheaded by seniors Mike Scibelli (seven tackles, two sacks) and Bryan Aguilar (five tackles, two sacks) allowed just 70 total yards and five first downs as No. 1 Oceanside (11-0) won its first county crown since 1977 and advanced to face Lindenhurst for the Long Island Class I title next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at Stony Brook University.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Sailors head coach Rob Blount said. “I’m so excited for the kids and the program and the community. Everyone worked so hard and wanted this so bad. It feels great.”
Oceanside, which has allowed 13 points in three playoff wins, got all the offense it would eventually need on the game-opening drive when senior quarterback Tommy Heuer hit senior Dylan Judd (six catches for 88 yards) for a 10-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. It was the 36th passing score of the season for Heuer, who went 15-for-20 for 150 yards and added 44 yards on the ground.
The Sailors increased the lead on their next possession, which began late in the first quarter and ended on the first snap of the second when senior kicker Francesco Ancona booted a 24-yard field goal for a 10-0 advantage. Blount, who waited for the teams to switch ends to give Ancona the wind at his back, was comfortable with the double-digit cushion at intermission.
“To go up two scores in a bad-weather game is huge,” he said. “It wasn’t easy for either team to move the ball. Our defense has been lights-out all year. It just doesn’t get the same attention as the offense.”
The Red Devils, who averaged more than 30 points over their previous five games since losing 34-6 at Oceanside on Oct. 7, were held to 19 yards on 15 plays in the first half and allowed five sacks. “It all starts with the big boys up front,” said Blount, who lauded the efforts of Scibelli and fellow seniors Vin Schell and Chris Pullini. “They clog up the holes and we have a bunch of playmakers behind them.”
Things didn’t get a whole lot better for Freeport (8-3) in the second half and it fell behind by 17 when senior Derek Cruz (132 yards on 19 carries) busted a 40-yard touchdown run with 57 seconds remaining in the third quarter. An interception by Judd halted the Red Devils’ best drive of the game and set up the insurance score.
“We knew we had to stop their running game,” Scibelli said. “Our defense is fast and we attack. I think a lot of people underestimate what we can do.”
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