One of the great comebacks in Suffolk football history unfolded Saturday at Clifton LaPlatney Field in Bay Shore. You had to be there to believe it.
Sophomore halfback Isiah White's 15-yard catch and dash for the end zone with the winning score capped an unfathomable 30-point rally as Longwood erased a 27-point third quarter deficit and came back for a stirring 30-27 victory over Bay Shore in a Suffolk I opener.
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The winning score came on fourth-and-3, the second Lions touchdown to come on fourth down during the comeback. White caught a short pass from Kyle Corona, followed two blocks on the edge and outran the secondary to the end zone.
"I could feel the momentum shift late in the third quarter," said Corona, who engineered four straight scoring drives, including three in the final 8:47. "They scouted us well and shut us down in the first half but our coaches made some key adjustments and we made big plays at the end. Our guys were in great condition and there was never any quit in the team."
Bay Shore quarterback Jake Sheets had thrown for two scores, a 35-yarder to Joel Nunez and a 42-yarder to McKinley Skinner, and rushed for another as the Marauders built the 27-point third quarter lead.
"Our guys believed in the process and each other and played hard for 48 minutes," said first-year Longwood coach Aden Smith. "What an incredible comeback."
Longwood's first score came when White capped a 12-play, 68-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring run with 2:45 left in the third. The run served to avert the shutout -- but something much more was brewing. The score on fourth down didn't sound any alarms on the Bay Shore sideline. But it should have.
Bay Shore went three-and out for the first time and Corona then directed a 10-play, 56-yard drive as Elijah Green scored on a 2-yard run to make it 27-14 with 8:47 left. Now there was concern on the Bay Shore sideline and for good reason.
"We were fired up and they were gassed," White said. "We were feeling it."
"We were in control," said Bay Shore coach Jim Giattino. "We were playing real well and then a complete momentum shift. What a heartbreaker."
On the next series, Longwood stopped a fourth down conversion try and the Lions took over at their 25. "Our defense came up with a big stop in our end of the field," Corona said.
On first down, Corona hit Serenity Bishop with a 25-yard pass and three plays later Dyshawn Taylor broke two tackles and scored on a 14-yard run to make it 27-21 with 4:50 left.
"I followed a great block," Taylor said. "And then I had to drive through a tackler or two and into the end zone."
Taylor's scoring run set up White's heroics on the final play of the game. To get to White's run, Longwood needed a spectacular diving 12-yard catch by wideout Rich Wickwire for a first down at the Bay Shore 21.
"The throw came in low as I crossed the middle and I had to dive," Wickwire said.
Said Corona, "It was a great catch, he saved me. He made the play of the game."
Every play in the final 15 minutes held special meaning in an unlikely and unforgettable win.