Alex Malhas, a member of Babylon's soccer team who missed the football opener because it conflicted with a soccer game last Saturday, didn't miss Friday night.
The 6-1, 190-pound senior booted a 28-yard field goal with 57 seconds left to give the Panthers a thrilling and dramatic 17-14 victory over host Glenn before a capacity crowd.
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"As soon as I hit it, I knew it was good," said Malhas, who missed from 19 yards in the second quarter and had to endure a timeout before his winning kick.
The drive began on the Babylon 23 with 4:55 remaining in this Suffolk IV rivalry game between two teams with winning traditions. The first play produced its own drama when Jake Carlock caught a shovel pass from Nick Santorelli and hurdled a tackler on his way to a 26-yard gain.
But a recent rule change in high school football made such maneuvers illegal, and the Panthers were flagged, wiping out most of the yardage.
However, Santorelli made up for that on a crucial third-and-6 from the Babylon 28. The Panthers sent three receivers to the right -- its three playmakers Eric Schweitzer, Carlock and Ray Wardell.
Santorelli took the shotgun snap -- Babylon (2-0) has switched to the spread -- and instead of passing, sprinted to his right and followed his three receivers for a 36-yard gain. Santorelli gained 8 yards rushing on each of the next two plays before an incomplete pass.
Brian Los Kamp, who along with Wardell had the two Babylon touchdowns, gained 4 yards up the middle and Santorelli added another two, bringing up fourth-and-4. Too long to go for the first down, but not too long for Malhas.
The Knights (0-2) had tied it at 14 with 6:47 left when their quarterback, Matt Shanerman, made a huge play of his own. Hit hit Steve Orkiszewski over the middle on a third-and-6 for a 56-yard touchdown. Shanerman had also connected with Mike Tufano on a 15-yard TD in the first quarter that tied it at 7.