Unlike Week 4 when Wantagh rallied from a 28-point hole to give Plainedge a run for its money, the Warriors had no such luck getting back into Saturday’s Nassau Conference III football championship game at Hofstra.
The Red Devils once again built a four-touchdown advantage behind junior quarterback Daniel Villari’s two rushing scores and one passing and went on to defeat Wantagh, 35-7, for their first county crown since 2015. They’ll take on Half Hollow Hills West for the Long Island Class III title this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Hofstra.
“I’m proud of how an inexperienced and young team worked hard and trusted each other to make a spectacular run to the county finals,” Wantagh head coach Keith Sachs said.
The fourth-seeded Warriors (7-4) were unable to convert a first down in the opening half but avoided a shutout with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from junior Owen Grabkowitz to Nick Teresky covering 55 yards. They cruised into the final with impressive playoff wins over Bethpage, 31-7, and South Side, 34-7.
Teresky was one of the team’s three All-County selections, joining senior linebacker/lineman Will DiMatteo and senior wideout/defensive back Dylan Scott. Junior Tom Von Bargen, who had three touchdowns in the semifinal playoff victory over South Side, was Honorable Mention All-County. Senior tight end/defensive lineman Kyle Graham earned All-Conference honors.
Plainedge (11-0) set the tone for its big victory on the second snap of the game when Luke Lombari raced 61 yards for a touchdown. Wantagh’s defense held the Red Devils in check over their next two possessions, but they scored on each of their three second-quarter drives. Villari had 1 and 12-yard touchdown runs and late in the half connected with Donovan Pepe on a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Standout Dion Kuinlan padded Plainedge’s lead to 35-0 in the third quarter. It was the sixth time this season the Red Devils scored at least 30.