The guy with the best hands on the team -- at least according to his quarterback -- wasn't about to let another pass slip through his hands.
Harry Lowe, Massapequa's 5-7 receiver, outjumped an East Meadow cornerback in the end zone on a beautifully thrown 29-yard pass from Paul Bentz for the winning score in the No. 5 Chiefs' 43-29 win over No. 4 East Meadow on Saturday in the Nassau I quarterfinals. The game was played on the snowy turf at Roslyn High because the grass field at East Meadow was unplayable.
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Bentz hit Lowe in the right flat on the ensuing two-point conversion to give Massapequa a 36-29 lead with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter. Midway through the third quarter, Lowe would have had a walk-in touchdown, but he dropped Bentz's third-and-20 pass over the middle.
"I was wide open, it was unbelievable," Lowe said. "I don't know. I just couldn't come up with it. But I was lucky enough to catch [the touchdown] down there."
Massapequa was playing without tailback Jack Korber, who leads the team with 11 touchdowns, after he broke his wrist against Farmingdale two weeks ago. That put the onus on Bentz to lead the offense, and he came through with 210 yards and three touchdowns on 10-for-17 passing and 67 rushing yards on 13 carries. Bentz's favorite target was Craig Berge, who had five catches for 107 yards. But with the game on the line, the quarterback knew he could trust Lowe.
"He's got the best hands on the team," Bentz said. "I knew he'd make up for it."
Massapequa (6-3) will play No. 1 Farmingdale next weekend at Hofstra in the semifinals, but the Chiefs first had to beat the team that ousted them from last year's playoffs, East Meadow, for the second time this season.
The Chiefs led 21-0 after Nick Capuana's 14-yard touchdown run up the middle with 3:03 left in the first half, but East Meadow fullback Billy Andrle's two 1-yard TD runs made it 21-14 at the 8:18 mark of the third. The touchdowns were Andrle's 21st and 22nd of the season in eight games.
But Massapequa responded in only four plays, the last Paul Dilena's 2-yard jolt with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
East Meadow quarterback Chris Buschi threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Bender on the first play of the Jets' ensuing drive to make it 28-21. Then, with 10:40 left in the fourth quarter, East Meadow (6-3) took its first lead, as Buschi ran it in from 10 yards and then hit Chika Ewulu on the conversion pass to make it 29-28.
"That made me feel even worse," Lowe said of EM taking a brief lead. "All my teammates got behind and told me to keep my head in the game and you'll make another big play."
He did, as Bentz's third touchdown pass of the game capped a nine-play, 69-yard drive, on which Capuana picked up a first down on fourth-and-3 from the East Meadow 38.