High School FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS / Amityville's Plan Works

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Before the season began, Billy Kretz made a promise to himself to take the

Amityville football team as far as it and he would go.

"This is my senior season," the quarterback said, "and I wanted to go out with

a bang."

Kretz-the fuse to Amityville's powder keg running back, Eugene Nottingham-got

the explosion he was looking for yesterday as No.3 Amityville won on the road,

31-13, against No.2 Comsewogue in a Suffolk Division III semifinal. Amityville,

which advanced to a county title game for the first time since 1974, will play

at top-seeded Huntington on Saturday.

"That's why you open the door, for the chance to win a county title,"

Amityville coach Len Mattera said. "At the beginning of the year, we felt we

had the skill players to get to this level."

And here, at the end of the year, Amityville still has that feeling.

Amityville capitalized on a turnover to open the scoring in the first quarter,

a theme that would continue through the day as Comsewogue turned it over six

times. After Nottingham intercepted a pass from Comsewogue quarterback Danny

Laidlaw and returned it to the 5-yard line, Kretz kicked a 20-yard field goal

for a 3-0 lead.

Comsewogue survived a fumble and another interception by Nottingham before

allowing Amityville to score again, this time with 5:09 left in the first half,

when Nottingham burst through the line for a 55-yard touchdown run and a 10-0

lead. Two plays into Comsewogue's ensuing possession, Anwar Isabell recovered

another fumble and Amityville drove 61 yards before Kretz threw a 24-yard

touchdown pass to Nottingham for a 17-0 advantage.

"We just didn't play the way we were capable of playing," Comsewogue coach Tom

Cassese said. "The defense didn't play real well and when the offense made

plays, we fumbled the ball."

Comsewogue (7-2) opened the second half with a quick touchdown on Laidlaw's

17-yard run to get back in the game at 17-7. At that point, Mattera turned to

his players on the sideline and told them they needed to put together a long

drive and eat up some of the clock. That's exactly what the Warriors did.

The drive went 80 yards and consumed the rest of the third quarter as Kretz

threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Tristan Smith. Amityville (7-2) faced four

third downs on the drive and converted a fourth-and-inches.

Comsewogue still had an entire quarter, though, and pulled to 24-13 with 10

minutes remaining in the game when Dan Gomez scored on a 1-yard run. The

Warriors were in even better shape after stopping Amityville on three downs and

forcing a punt that Brent Lawrence returned to the Amityville 35 after

reversing his field several times. But on second-and-3 from the 28, Laidlaw

stumbled on a quarterback keeper and was tackled for a 4-yard loss. Two plays

later, Laidlaw threw a pass on fourth-and-5 from the 30 that was broken up by

Nottingham.

"I was nervous that the game was so close there," said Nottingham, who had 177

yards on 20 carries. "But we kept our heads in it."

Amityville took the ball from there and drove 70 yards, with a big chunk of it

coming on a 59-yard run by Nottingham to the 11. After a pair of delay-of-game

calls gave Amityville a fourth-and-7 at the 8, Kretz took the snap and ran to

the left, diving the final two yards into the end zone for the game's final

touchdown. Kretz completed 9 of 15 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. "I

don't even think I needed to dive in," Kretz said. "I told myself I was getting

into the end zone no matter what."

When Kretz makes a promise, he sticks to it.

SUFFOLK DIVISION III TOURNAMENT

Semifinal-At Comsewogue

AMITYVILLE.................................... 314 7 7-31

COMSEWOGUE...............................0 0 7 6-13

A-FG Kretz 20

A-Nottingham 55 run (Kretz kick)

A-Nottingham 24 pass from Kretz (Kretz kick)

C-Laidlaw 17 run (Flood kick)

A-Smith 22 pass from Kretz (Kretz kick)

C-Gomez 1 run (kick failed)

A-Kretz 8 run (Kretz kick)

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