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Commack holds on to beat Sachem North in triple OT
Commack had applied the brakes to one of the most potent offenses on Long Island for 48 minutes, but now it was overtime against top-seeded Sachem North and the road got a lot more treacherous.
The teams traded touchdowns and extra points on each of their first two OT possessions, ratcheting up the tension and the noise at rollicking Lake Ronkonkoma. But Commack finally turned the Flaming Arrows over on downs, aided by an offensive holding penalty, and the door was open. The Cougars made sure they knocked it off its hinges.
Billy Holscher kicked a 32-yard field goal to give Commack a pulsating 31-28 victory over host Sachem North Friday night in a battle of unbeaten teams in Suffolk I.
“Once we stopped them on fourth down, we do have a good kicker and I wanted to make sure we gave him a chance,” Commack coach Joe Reggio said of his strategy on the final drive.
Willy Monroy (76 yards rushing) ran for two yards on first down from the Sachem 20, then Rob Paccione (11-for-21, 152 yards) threw incomplete into the end zone. On third-and-8, fullback Jesse Kilmetis burrowed ahead for a mere three yards to the 15, but kept the ball in the middle of the field. “I was kind of being conservative there,” Reggio said.
Holscher delivered and the Cougars (5-0) had the biggest victory in Reggio’s eight seasons. “Definitely a huge program-booster,” Reggio said. “But I told the kids it’s only midseason and I have a feeling we’re going to see them again.”
Sachem North (4-1) which had been averaging 44 points a game, was mostly thwarted by the stingy Cougars’ defense, led by transfer middle linebacker Josh Valentin who was especially dominant in the second half. “He’s been tremendous. We rely on him to stuff the middle and that allows everyone else to just do their jobs,” Reggio said.
Among those doing their jobs were linemen Kyle Prpich and Kevan Scott, Monroy (a 64-yard interception return to set up the game’s first touchdown) and sophomore cornerback Augie Contressa, who twice upended Malik Pierre for 5-yard losses. “Augie hits like a truck,” Reggio said.
North’s vaunted running game was stuck in neutral for most of the night. Pierre scored three touchdowns, all on short runs, but managed just 33 yards on 12 carries. Kevin Bragaglia had only 12 yards on seven carries and normally elusive quarterback Trent Crossan, slowed by an ankle sprain, gained 27 yards on 13 carries. Only Anthony Ross (15 carries, 86 yards) found some room inside.
“We really did a good job with their running game,” Reggio said.