VSS to open playoffs at home

Falcons take four-game win streak into postseason


Turns out last Saturday’s Homecoming Day victory wasn’t the final home game of 2012 for Valley Stream South’s football squad.

The Falcons pounded out more than 300 yards on the ground en route to beating South Side, 26-0, in the regular-season finale to clinch the No. 4 seed in the Nassau Conference III playoffs. Nnamdi Nwaigwe had touchdown runs of 27 and 31 yards, and Bryan Providence and Frank Accardi also scored.

South (5-3) takes a four-game winning streak, including back-to-back shutouts, into its first-round playoff game against fifth-seeded Manhasset. It’ll be the first home playoff game in six years. The Falcons, who allowed only 19 points in a perfect October, knocked off the Indians (4-4) on Oct. 20, 19-0.

“We’ve played much better in the second half of the year,” VSS head coach Lance Griffin said. “We came into the season with high expectations, but the first four games were disappointing. We lost a couple of close ones, but we made some changes and turned it around.”

Nwaigwe, who touched the ball just three times last Saturday, found paydirt twice. His first touchdown opened the scoring late in the opening quarter, and his second came with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth following a fumble recovery by Joe Reichert. Providence’s 15-yard score in the second gave the Falcons a 12-0 halftime lead, and the defense did the rest.

“Our defense has been tremendous,” Griffin said of the unit directed by Scott Steuber. “We’ve done a great job limiting the big plays.”

The Cyclones, who were denied a playoff spot after Lynbrook upset Plainedge, and Bethpage edged Manhasset, couldn’t get the offense cranked against the Falcons. In addition to the fumble recovery, Reichert had 12 tackles and a sack. Phil Crisci added 12 tackles, and Chris Infantino added eight tackles.

Against Manhasset the previous week, Infantino had three sacks including one for a safety, and Accardi had two sacks to lead the defense. Nwaigwe opened the scoring in that one also, busting a 65-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Frank Reichert added a field goal from 28 yards out, and Providence found the end zone from a yard out.

“Manhasset’s a good team,” Griffin said. “It’s going to be a tough game.”

The winning streak began Oct. 6 with a 21-7 victory at North Shore that saw Accardi score on runs of 89 and 39 yards. A week later, Nwaigwe brought back the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown to set the tone in a 48-12 win over Carle Place. Tyler Gill had 105 yards rushing and a pair of scores.