There were no special celebrations on the field Saturday, no exuberant hugs from players or ice-water dousing of Freeport coach Russ Cellan after his 200th career victory, 35-27 over host Plainview JFK. "Nobody knew. It was just another day at work," Cellan said. "I like to keep it low key. Our goal is never about personal stuff. "
That's why Cellan did not mention the approaching milestone to his players. "It really wasn't a thought. It was a tough game and we didn't need any extra distractions," Cellan said.
Victory No. 200 wasn't decided until 5-8, 155-pound quarterback Rashad Tucker used his improvisational skills in the fourth quarter. With Freeport trailing 24-21, Cellan called a pass. "Nobody came open and he just started moving," Cellan said. Tucker raced 64 yards for the go-ahead score with 5:04 left and added a 1-yard scoring run later in the fourth quarter. He ran for 109 yards and four scores and added 119 passing yards with another TD. "Rashad can make a busted play look like a thing of beauty."
The same can be said for Cellan's coaching career, which began with a three-year stint at St. Dominic. He has spent the last 30 years at Freeport, and fondly recalled his first victory in 1986 at the school where he has won four Long Island championships. "We played Uniondale in my first game here. The program was on an eight-losing streak. We beat them 27-14. That's something you always remember," he said.
Cellan might remember yesterday's, too, as he became only the ninth coach in Long Island history to win 200 games. "It is pretty special. I'm honored to be in the company of those great coaches," he said. "I've had a lot of great coaches and great players, and tremendous support from the Freeport community. I'm the lucky one."