Fourth-seeded North Shore defeated No. 5 Lynbrook, 34-12, in the Nassau Conference III football playoffs last Saturday afternoon.
A stout Vikings defense held the Owls and their talented backfield in check, while North Shore’s offensive weapons provided the hosts ample opportunity to score, particularly through the air.
North Shore (8-1) advanced to face No. 1 Plainedge at Hofstra University in the conference semifinals this Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Owls finished 4-5.
“It feels great,” Vikings head coach Dan Agovino said. “Especially in this conference, it’s a tough conference, and with these guys coming from 2-6 (last season), they really laid it all on the line all season, in the offseason and they deserve to be there.”
The Vikings typically employ a run-first offensive attack while smattering in designed throws sporadically. Against Lynbrook, the Vikings found success in throwing the ball early and often. North Shore quarterback James DeSimone completed 11 of 20 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns.
“I love my guys,” DeSimone said. “Truly amazing feeling, we’re going to remember this win for a long time.”
DeSimone lofted two nearly identical touchdowns to his big target Aiden Mandell on twin fade routes. The quarterback also found success passing the ball to wide receiver/running back Will Scarola, who matched Mandell’s two touchdowns on only two catches.
Junior Jack Ledden is a bit of a swiss army knife for the Vikings. He lines up in the slot as a receiver, in the backfield as a running back, and he even takes direct snaps in the wildcat formation late in the game, showing his coach’s trust in him. But in the second quarter, DeSimone rolled out of the pocket and launched a rainbow towards the Vikings sideline. Lynbrook’s cornerback played air-tight coverage on Ledden – which even spawned some pass interference calls from the home team’s sideline – when the junior reached back with one hand and hauled in the long pass from his quarterback to an eruption from the crowd and his teammates. Ledden later added a 28-yard rushing touchdown.
“James threw a perfect ball where only I could catch it, and I was able to make the play,” Ledden said.
Defensively, Aiden Mandell, Andrew Franco, Lorenzo Recine, Jacob Papacure, Jacob Gatke were just some of the names that made huge contributions and held Lynbrook’s running back Ethan Hoyte in check.
Hoyte has extremely quick feet and was able to cut a few upfield and even scored a touchdown. Lynbrook quarterback Dante Quilca, who has very good mobility, was kept in check for most of the game. Lynbrook mostly kept the ball on the ground, and although finding some success early, weren’t able to diversify the offense enough to catch up.
“I can’t say enough about them as young men,” Lynbrook head coach Steven LoCicero said. “This senior class was special and I enjoyed being their coach for the last four years.”