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Bob Herzog

Bob Herzog has worked in the sports department at Newsday since 1976. He has covered baseball, football and college basketball.

He has edited and written for several award-winning Newsday special sections on baseball, football and Long Island sports history.

Herzog grew up on Long Island, graduated from Commack High School where he was co-captain of the baseball team, and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

Goal-line stand saves Farmingdale in its 10-7 win over Massapequa

A gritty goal-line stand by Farmingdale in the rain and mud Saturday proved that the 100th yard on a football field can be the longest yard.

The Dalers turned back host Massapequa four times and held on for a 10-7 Nassau I victory in a season-opening game for both teams in which all the points were scored in the first half, before the heavy rain began to fall.

"When the game was on the line, we owned up on the goal-line stand," Farmingdale coach Buddy Krumenacker said.

Massapequa took advantage of a blocked quick kick and moved from the Dalers' 44 to the 1. Chris Bacotti's 25-yard burst put the home team at the 15. Paul Dilena dragged tacklers with him on a 9-yard run to the 6 and Bacotti squirted through a small opening to set up the Chiefs with first-and-goal at the 1.

On first down, Dilena (13 carries, 84 yards, TD) rammed the ball inside but the Dalers' interior line didn't budge, stopping Dilena for a 2-yard loss. They weren't surprised. "Who else would you give it to but him?" Krumenacker said.

On second down, a poor snap cost the Chiefs four more yards. On third-and-goal from the 7, Bacotti was stopped for no gain. On fourth down, Brad Baldinger lofted a pass toward Griffin Barnathan on a fade pattern in the right corner of the end zone, but Naquan Warren was there to bat it down.

There was still 1:59 left and a chance for Massapequa to get the ball back with a defensive stand. But Michael Outing carried four straight times up the middle for 24 yards, allowing the Dalers to nail down a season-opening victory in a rematch of last season's county championship game.

"I definitely was thinking, 'Just hold onto the ball,' " said Outing, who carried 19 times for 84 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that matched Dilena's 9-yard scoring run in the first quarter. "I knew I had to keep two hands on the ball."

The ball was slippery all afternoon, even in the first half when there was no rain. Dilena's touchdown was set up when Frank Americo broke through and blocked Zach Kolodny's punt. Outing's score came five plays after Danny McKeon intercepted a long pass and returned it 54 yards to the Massapequa 26.

"I'm the nickel back but in that situation I wound up as the free safety," McKeon said. "I drifted to the trips side and saw the ball all the way. On the return, it was just straight green grass. I was hoping I could get into the end zone."

The game-winning points, Kolodny's 22-yard field goal, came after the Dalers stopped a Massapequa drive into the red zone on Nick Campo's strip sack and fumble recovery.

"Both teams had bad things happen to them," Krumenacker said.

Until Farmingdale made something good happen near the end. "Those are the plays you have to make if you want to advance and hopefully be a champion," Krumenacker said.

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Rashad Tucker leads Freeport to win

Freeport beat Oceanside, 36-26, in a Nassau I football game on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.

Freeport quarterback Rashad Tucker hit every point on the compass Friday night, dashing and darting north and south to slip out of tacklers' grasps and racing east to west, sideline to sideline in a breathtaking display of elusiveness.

The slender sophomore quarterback wound up pointing the host Red Devils in the right direction with his running and passing in a 36-26 victory over Oceanside in a Nassau I opener before a crowd of more than 1,200.

Tucker ran for 90 yards -- a total that included numerous sacks that reduced his stats -- and threw for 246. He was especially dangerous in the second half.

On the Red Devils' first drive after intermission, Tucker rolled left and hit Corey Spivey in stride for 68 yards to the Sailors' 4. Three plays later, Tucker scrambled in from the 2 to put Freeport on top 20-14.

Oceanside capitalized on a muffed punt to tie it on Brandy Diaz's 5-yard run. Diaz finished with 116 yards rushing.

Tucker used his legs to give Freeport a 28-20 lead with 9:51 left in the fourth, dazzling the crowd with a shifty, crafty 20-yard scramble on third-and-11 from his own 49. He hit Myles Eason on a 6-yard strike for the tiebreaking touchdown and found Spivey free for the two-point conversion.

Oceanside quarterback Vinny Guarino showed some quick feet of his own on the next drive, darting up the middle on a quarterback draw for 19 yards on third-and-10 to move the Sailors to the Freeport 3. Two plays later, Diaz scored from the 1, but Guarino's potential game-tying two-point conversion pass fell incomplete, leaving the Sailors with a 28-26 deficit.

D'monte Woody, Freeport's big-play running back from last season, had been relatively quiet until that point, but picked a good time to get the hot hand. Or feet in this case.

He swept around right end for 25 yards, broke up the middle for 22 yards and finished off a drive in which he netted all 53 yards, by scoring from the 2. Jameel Lamont caught Tucker's two-point conversion pass with 4:29 to play, providing a two-score, 36-26 advantage that stood up.

Earlier, Tucker had connected with Jorden Curtis for a 60-yard gain that set up the game's first touchdown, a 1-yard run by Woody on a direct snap. Tucker ran in the two-point conversion.

Diaz broke free up the middle for a 57-yard touchdown run that, with the kick, made it 8-7. Freeport answered with a 50-yard scoring drive that ended with Tucker doing his east-west, north-south dance for a spectacular 20-yard TD run. Oceanside made it 14-14 at the half on J.T. D'Angelo's 8-yard TD run.

Then it was Tucker Time in the second half.

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George Davila, high schools' 'Mr. Basketball,' dies at 62

George Davila, noted Long Island boys basketball historian,

George Davila, noted Long Island boys basketball historian, in an undated family handout photo.

George Davila, a familiar figure at Long Island high school boys basketball games for more than 40 years as an assistant coach, statistician, record-keeper and historian, died Thursday at a hospice in Northport after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 62.

"He was Mr. Basketball. Every coach in Nassau and Suffolk knew who George was," said Wally Bachman, Jericho High School basketball coach and Nassau County boys basketball coordinator. "He was involved with every team in Nassau and Suffolk. . . . He was like our right-hand man. From coach to athletic director to coordinator to officials, we all respected him so much. He was everywhere and he touched everybody."

Davila, a Bay Shore resident, was self-employed as a handyman and also worked in real estate. But his real passion was high school basketball, and he was omnipresent at countless games every winter, wearing his trademark sweater vest and tie, his curly hair slightly askew, and toting an ever-expanding black loose-leaf binder.

"That was his encyclopedia and he carried it everywhere. It had records going all the way back to the 1960s," said former Bay Shore basketball coach Benny Mahler, for whom Davila worked as an assistant. "He was terrific with statistics."

Davila also worked as an assistant coach at West Islip, William Floyd and North Babylon high schools and served for many years as the official scorer at Nassau and Suffolk playoff games.

Davila was born in Queens and grew up in West Islip as the oldest of seven children, said his sister, Lois Davila, 59, of Holbrook. He graduated from West Islip High School and attended SUNY Maritime College and St. John's University. "George got the basketball bug at West Islip High School and it never left him," his sister said. "High school basketball is what made his heart beat."

Gerard Smith, a close friend of Davila's, recalled that as an assistant to his father, former West Islip coach Jerry Smith, Davila would coach the summer league team, drive players to and from games, take them for burgers afterward "and never ask for a cent," Gerard Smith said. "He was a giving person and Long Island basketball was his life's passion."

Mike Hickey, boys basketball coach at the Stony Brook School, and a licensed minister, said, "It was an honor to be there with him at the end because he didn't have a pastor," Hickey said. "His sense of volunteering and service is a shining example that you just don't see today. He did it for love of the game, not for the money. He loved what he did with every fiber of his being and that was his payment."

Davila is survived by his wife of 25 years, Althea, and siblings Lois, Linda Glasgow and Richard Davila of Summerville, South Carolina; Elaine Gugler of West Islip, Robert Davila of Walnut Creek, California, and Christopher Davila of Westley Chapel, Florida.

A wake will be held Monday at Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in West Islip. Visiting hours are 2-4:30 p.m. and 7-9:30 p.m.

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Suffolk I kicks off Week 1 with Floyd-Sachem North rematch

Sachem North RB Kevin Bragaglia takes the handoff

Sachem North RB Kevin Bragaglia takes the handoff to the outside against Northport. (Nov. 8, 2013) (Credit: George A. Faella)

Two games matching teams that played for the county championship last season highlight the first full weekend of high school football on Long Island.

In Suffolk, Sachem North, which won its first Long Island Championship by defeating Floyd, 28-7, in the Suffolk I final, begins defense of its crown by hosting the Colonials at 7 Friday night.

In Nassau, Farmingdale, which edged Massapequa on a last-second field goal, 29-26, in the Nassau I final, visits the Chiefs for an afternoon game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Floyd at Sachem North, Friday night, 7: The Flaming Arrows' offense will revolve around explosive RB Kevin Bragaglia, who is also the school's all-time leader in interceptions. Jasheem Banks is another speedy RB. The inexperienced Colonials haven't been seeded this low (sixth) in 14 years. They feature disruptive DT Matt Silva.

Brentwood at Longwood, Friday night, 6: Brentwood hasn't been seeded this high (fifth) in four years and harbors serious playoff hopes because of QB LaVelle Hall (more than 1,700 all-purpose yards). The Indians' defense will be tested by Longwood's big-play RB Isaiah White, who runs behind a line led by Matt Weiss.

Commack at Connetquot, Friday night, 7: The Thunderbirds are seeded No. 1 for the first time in school history, thanks to big-time linemen Sean Moore and Josh Gutierrez. WR Sean McKean is a deep threat. Commack, undefeated in the regular season a year ago, will try to get as many touches as possible for talented WR/RB Augie Contressa.

Oceanside at Freeport, Friday night, 6:30: The Sailors are led by QB Vinny Guarino (1,245 yards, 13 TDs) and tough two-way All-County lineman Kyone Murphy. The Red Devils will try to use the speed and shiftiness of RB/WR D'Monte Woody (17 TDs, 1,200 yards rushing).

Farmingdale at Massapequa, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Often referred to as the Backyard Brawl, these neighborhood rivals played a thrilling county final last year, decided when Dalers' returning kicker Zach Kolodny nailed the winning field goal on the final play. Both QBs are first-year starters -- Farmingdale's Mike Scheuerer and Massapequa's Brad Baldinger.

East Islip at Bellport, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The Clippers spent the last three seasons in Suffolk III and play an old rival in their first game back in Suffolk II. They feature RB Jabari M'bhaso (826 yards). The Redmen's traditionally tough defense should be complemented by an improved offense led by QB Jack Hannigan.

North Babylon at Smithtown East, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The Bulls won last year's shootout, 56-35, and it could be another showcase for contrasting offensive styles. East features QB John Daniggelis (15 TD passes) and two veteran WRs. The Bulldogs embrace a ground-and-pound credo behind O-line leader Talib Ahmad.

Lawrence at Bethpage, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Life after record-setting QB Joe Capobianco means more touches for explosive Syracuse-bound RB Jordan Fredericks (2,700 all-purpose yards, 34 TDs). The Golden Eagles counter with RB Mike Sforza (981 yards, 10 TDs).

Plainedge at Lynbrook, Saturday, 3 p.m.: County finalist Plainedge shifts rugged runner Davien Kuinlan to quarterback. The Owls like to run and return Dylan Lucas (862 yards, eight TDs) plus sure-tackling OLB Owen Daly.

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