It was certainly a lot easier in 1969. High School football coaches didn't have to think much about extra-point attempts. You went for one point -- and they'd either run it, pass it or kick it. Oh, it was so simple back in the day.
However, 43 years ago the National Federation of High Schools, the governing body of interscholastic athletics, added an option to the extra-point attempts in football games. They gave coaches the option to try for a two-point conversion.
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Mayhem! Confusion! Indecision! Stress!
So what's the point? Do you go for one or two with the game on the line? Do coaches agonize over such decisions? Sure do.
Well, through the first few weeks of the season we've seen two coaches go for the gusto.
Two weeks ago, Sachem North coach Dave Falco watched his team squander a huge lead against Bay Shore. The Marauders scored first and took a 62-55 overtime lead before North answered with a touchdown to get within 62-61. Falco never wavered ordering his team to go for two and the win. He was rewarded when Trent Crossan scored on the two-point conversion run for a 63-62 victory.
"Never a doubt," he said. "I wanted it over."
Yesterday, in an epic battle of CHSFL powers, undefeated Chaminade erased a 17-point deficit and trailed St. Anthony's 24-23 with 1:15 left in the game. Flyers coach Stephen Boyd called timeout.
So what was on the line for Boyd and his Flyers? An undefeated season, the end of a 17-game losing streak to St. Anthony's that spanned 13 years and an immediate surge of gratification and confidence.
Boyd went for two. No hesitation. No second guessing.
Chaminade was stopped.
"I believe in my guys and I'd do it again," Boyd said.
The number of undefeated teams is dwindling quickly. There were an unusual amount of unbeaten teams left on Long Island football heading into week four of the regular season. There were 28 unblemished records to be exact.
There were four head-to-head matchups of undefeated teams. West Islip, Seaford, Plainedge and Babylon survived those encounters with big wins. Newfield, West Hempstead, Hewlett and Mount Sinai did not and fell from the unbeaten ranks.
And then there were the upsets. Carey beat Wantagh, 33-23; Baldwin dumped Massapequa, 38-29; Whitman beat Smithtown East 35-32; and Commack denied Ward Melville, going 4-0 for the first time since 1974, by a 17-14 score.
Two previously unbeaten teams lost by one point. Huntington was edged by Amityville, 20-19, and Chaminade lost to St. Anthony's, 24-23.
That leaves 18 undefeated teams searching for the perfect season. Next week offers a Nassau IV showdown between Seaford at Roosevelt Saturday at 3 p.m., and Middle Place travels to Kings Park at 2 p.m. Saturday. And at least another two teams will fall into the loss column.
The visitor sideline swelled throughout the early moments of Friday's West Islip-Newfield clash of unbeatens. Newfield was carrying Long Island's second longest current win streak at 10 games, the longest in school history.
West Islip, after one year and a playoff berth in Division I, was back in Division II and traveling to a place it had never lost.
A forecast of heavy wind and rain could have kept this throng down but instead they came out in droves to support the Lions. They left with this -- West Islip, a proud football program steeped in tradition, pounded Newfield, 28-14, and is ready to make a run at the Long Island Class II championship.
Junior quarterback Sam Ilario is a special athlete, who accounted for four touchdowns, two on the ground and two passing. He is surrounded by playmakers, including the shifty Dan Johnson and the speedy Nick Aponte. The Wolverines boast a rugged defense -- but the All-Long Island type of hitting was coming from the other sideline -- and that would be Aponte -- who came up for run support with bone rattling hits. He's a guy to watch -- one of the very best two-way players around.
There's been a long line of great running backs in the 37-year history of Bellport. There was Rodney Cooke in the '80s, Opuku Johnson and William Griffin in the '90s, Hansen Award winner Edwin Gowins, Travis Houpe and Desmond Dent in the 2000s.
Senior halfback Nate Chavious etched his name in lore when he ran for a school-record 341 yards and scored four touchdowns on 30 carries in yesterday's 35-20 win over Rocky Point.