Lynbrook earns playoff berth
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The final drive, which covered 63 yards on 13 plays and came on the heels of Kevin Lann’s fumble recovery, appeared to stall at the Lynbrook 31-yard line with less than four minutes remaining but punter Joe Grossi had other ideas. On fourth-and-five, Grossi tucked the ball and ran for six yards to move the chains. “Our punt team can fake it any time,” LoCicero said. “Joe’s got the green light if he thinks he can make a play. He made a great decision in a crucial spot.”
Matt Fernez, who raced 11 yards on a reverse on third-and-eight, and Kelly, who on the next play plowed up the middle for 18 yards to the Plainedge 22, also keyed a winning drive that took 5:04 off the clock and left the Red Devils (6-2) with only one snap after the ensuing kickoff sailed out of the end zone.
Lynbrook’s previous kickoff, to start the second half, was returned 73 yards for a touchdown by Gianfranco Soriente. Dan Stock’s extra point made it 14-14, and all the momentum the Owls gained with Kelly’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Bilello with 43 seconds left in the first half was gone.
“We went into the locker room on such a high,” LoCicero said. “It wasn’t the way we wanted to start the second half, but the kids kept battling.”
After Lynbrook went three-and-out on its opening possession of the second half, Plainedge was poised to take the lead after Soriente had runs of 20 and 25 yards, and a 31-yard reception to move inside the red zone. But on fourth-and-nine from the 10, Robert Steinert deflected a pass away from Nick Cupolo in the end zone to end the threat.
“These kids have been in pressure situations for the last four weeks,” LoCicero said. “They’ve come up big, and I’m really proud of them.”