Martelli's pass to Capoziello wins it for VSN

North Valley Stream quarterback Anthony Martelli scrambles and North Valley Stream quarterback Anthony Martelli scrambles and looks for an open receiver with under 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter during a game against Seaford. (Nov. 17, 2012) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

advertisement | advertise on newsday

It took Valley Stream North one minute and 16 seconds to span 31 years.

Plenty of time, if you ask Anthony Martelli.

James Capoziello corralled a 6-yard play-action pass from the rolling Martelli -- Capoziello waited in the right corner of the end zone and came down with the high lob untouched -- as fourth-seeded Valley Stream North came back to defeat top-seeded Seaford, 21-17, and reach the Nassau final for the first time since 1981. Capoziello's interception with seven seconds left sealed the win.

"This is an extraordinary feeling for me and my teammates," Capoziello said, beaming every time he took a breath. "There is no feeling like it."

The Spartans will play Roosevelt at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra.

Seaford had taken the lead with a 22-yard field goal by Matthew Murphy with 1:54 to play, capping an 11-play, 49-yard drive. Seaford (9-1) had held the ball for 5:01 and Martelli saw the score as an opportunity.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"They hit that field goal with under two minutes left and we practice that every day," Martelli said. "I looked at the offense and said, 'That's way too much time for us.' "

With the seconds ticking away, it was Martelli's job to make time stop. He unleashed pass after pass, including a 13-yarder to Stephen Giuliante, a 31-yarder to Bill Patsos (186 yards, 21 carries) and the eventual game-winner to Capoziello with 37.9 seconds left that capped a drive of 1:16. Time really did seem as if it were stopping.

"I wasn't really thinking much" after that, Martelli said. "I looked right at the scoreboard and it says 21-17, I looked at the fans, I didn't know what to do. Billy knocked me down. You don't know what to do. It's pure adrenaline."

Seaford was dominant in the first half, controlling the ball for 16 minutes, 40 seconds of the 24-minute half and cashing in on Austin Quiroz's 1-yard dive in the opening seconds of the second quarter, the result of a 20-yard run by Nick Fischetti that brought the Vikings to the Valley Stream North 17.

Four more plays, including Fischetti's runs of 9, 3 and 4 yards, helped cap the 15-play, 65-yard drive, which lasted 6:08. Fischetti scored his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run with 8:13 left in the half.

"We were still confident," Martelli said, even though Valley Stream lost to Seaford earlier in the year. The Spartans eliminated Seaford in the quarterfinals last year.

"We felt it was our destiny to get back here and play them on this field," Martelli said.

Patsos' 1-yard run with 7:36 left in the third drew the Spartans (7-3) to within one score. Capoziello remedied the deficit on the next possession: On the move and with a defender on his back, he corralled a deep pass with an over-the-shoulder catch for a 60-yard touchdown that tied the score at 14 with eight seconds left in the third quarter.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Both of Capoziello's catches resulted in touchdowns. Martelli went 6-for-15 for 139 yards.

It's been 31 years since Valley Stream North has gone this far. For now, Martelli plans to soak this one in. "This is definitely one of the best feelings," he said. "But wait till next week."

You also may be interested in: