Casey Nolan helps East Islip rebound from only loss
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To East Islip, last week was only a fluke and this was the week to leave the opposing defense floundering.
East Islip quarterback Casey Nolan shook off two first-half interceptions -- including one returned 45 yards for a touchdown by Brian Drinkwine for the game's first score -- to lead the Redmen to at least 35 points for the fourth time this season. Nolan's 15-yard touchdown pass to Mike Lee with 6:06 left in the game gave East Islip a 35-14 lead and capped a 10-play drive that ate up nearly six minutes.
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"It was incredibly important for everyone's morale," Nolan said of the win. "We just wanted to come back and show everyone that we can still play. That one game was just a fluke."
Nolan ran for 68 of his 79 yards in the second half, including two rushing touchdowns, both on quarterback keepers. Andre Deegan had his third 100-yard rushing game in four weeks. He totaled 115 yards and two touchdowns -- one of 37 yards -- on 16 carries.
East Islip scored on its first three second-half possessions, the first on an eight-play drive culminated by Nolan's 20-yard run that made it 21-7 with 7:29 left in the third quarter. On the ensuing possession, East Islip safety Steve Walsh made a spectacular interception when he leaped to deflect a pass then fell down and snatched the wobbling ball to his chest after it ricocheted off his leg.
"I got very lucky, I know I got very lucky," Walsh said. "It hit my hand, hit my leg and then just ended up in my chest, so I'll take it."
It took East Islip four plays to go 33 yards, with another Nolan TD run making it 28-7.
Smithtown East quarterback John Daniggelis scored on a keeper on the final play of the third quarter to pull the Bulls within 28-14, but East Islip countered by keeping the ball for the first 5:54 of the fourth quarter.
"We just kind of made up our mind in the second half to go bread and butter," East Islip coach Sal J. Ciampi said. "We made the decision at halftime that that's what we were going to do and it worked out."
Daniggelis, a sophomore, had his hand in the Bulls' only two offensive touchdowns -- his 7-yard run and a 28-yard pass to Andrew Federico on a fourth-and-8 with 3:47 to play. Daniggelis finished 15 of 23 passing for 159 yards.
"He's a good athlete, we just got pressure on him," Walsh said of Daniggelis. "We made him make quick decisions and we were able to [contain]."
Nolan, Daniggelis' counterpart, also had to make quick decisions in the read-option, which blistered the Smithtown East defense in the second half.
"I went out with a clear head, calm, and played the game," Nolan said. "We were just getting under the other team's skin."
To the Redmen, the second-half dominance was no fluke.