North Shore fell short in its quest for a second straight Long Island football championship.
The Vikings lost for the first time in 20 games, falling to Bayport-Blue Point 35-7 in Friday’s L.I. Class IV title game at Hofstra. The Phantoms orchestrated scoring drives covering 89, 80, 80, 61 and 78 yards on the way to capturing their first-ever LIC in impressive fashion.
“It was tough giving up a touchdown late in the first half and then they drove on us and scored to open the second half,” North Shore head coach Dan Agovino said. “We carried out our game plan as much as we could because we’ve got some big playmakers in the backfield. But hats off to Bayport-Blue Point. Those kids stepped up and played a great game. They basically took over in the second half.”
Senior quarterback Brady Clark was the catalyst for the Phantoms with two passing touchdowns as well as a pair of rushing scores. He completed 10 of 14 passes for 166 yards and rushed for 85 yards on 11 carries.
“We thought we were doing good things in the first half and just had to stick to it,” said Clark, whose rushing touchdowns of 5 and 3 yards came sandwiched around North Shore’s only score in the second quarter as Bayport-Blue Point built a 14-7 halftime lead. “Last year we lost in the [Suffolk] county finals and it’s an indescribable feeling to make history like this.”
The Vikings (11-1), who made history in 2021 with their first-ever LIC, responded quickly after Clark opened the scoring on the first snap of the second quarter with their best drive of the afternoon. It covered 80 yards on nine plays, capped by a spectacular 39-yard touchdown pass from senior Peter Liotta to senior Nick Livoti.
On fourth-and-8, Liotta was flushed out of the pocket by Bayport’s Dylan Spano towards the Phantoms’ sideline. As he was sailing out of bounds, Liotta fired the ball downfield over a defender and to a waiting Livoti, who caught it just inside the 20 and weaved his way into the end zone. It was 7-7 after senior Michael Fleming booted the extra point.
It was all Bayport (12-0) thereafter. Clark accumulated 40 yards on the ground and capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a short touchdown run to put the Phantoms ahead for good with 2:32 remaining in the half.
Bayport outgained North Shore by a margin of 204 to 77 in the second half. Clark hooked up with Michael Luce on a 21-yard scoring strike and it was 21-7 with 6:39 left in the third quarter. Two sacks of Liotta by Derek Varley regained possession for the Phantoms late in the third and they cashed in again early in the fourth when Clark floated a deep pass over the middle that J.J. Aiello caught in the end zone for a 44-yard score.
Danny Aiello’s 42-yard touchdown run with 4:58 remaining put the finishing touches on Bayport’s historic win.
“I’m sure everyone’s disappointed, but we had a tremendous season,” said Agovino, who a week earlier guided the Vikings to their second straight Nassau Conference IV title with a 20-8 victory over West Hempstead. “I’m so proud of this program.”