Forget knocking -- Manhasset's Kevin Overlander was pounding at the door, trying not once, twice, but three times to sneak past Floral Park's denying linemen. For the quarterback who amassed 362 yards in the air, it was a few measly inches on the ground that were giving him trouble.
After an incomplete pass, Overlander managed 1 yard on a rushing attempt, and nothing in his next. Down by four on fourth down with inches to go, the Indians senior gave it one last attempt: diving over center, again getting knocked down as he came up. This time, he fell the right way.
Overlander sneaked in a hair past the goal line with 8:59 left to play to give Manhasset a wild 29-26 win in the nearly three-hour Nassau III opener. The rattled Knights threatened with a minute left, but strong defense, including a sack by Chris Howell and Nick Zenobio's stop of big-time running back Ronnell Jones on the final play of the game, sealed the victory for Manhasset.
Jones had only 11 carries, but two of them were huge. After being snuffed on or around the line of scrimmage in his first four attempts, the senior ran up the middle and broke away with the blazing speed that long has been his trademark. His 64-yard score with 9:20 left in the second quarter drew the Knights to within 14-13 and seemed to invigorate the lagging offense.
Jones staged a repeat performance on Floral Park's next drive, this time pinballing off two linebackers before again taking off up the middle for a 57-yard TD, enough for the five-point lead with 6:25 to go.
With 3:33 left in the first half, Overlander faked a handoff and sneaked in for a 7-yard touchdown and a 22-19 Manhasset lead. That would be short-lived, as quarterback Connor Vidasolo, on a rare pass, found Michael Nolan in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.
Manhasset threatened twice in the third quarter, but a would-be, lead-supplying 50-yard touchdown pass to Jon Stefan was called back because of a holding penalty. Later in the drive, Jones intercepted Overlander's pass in the end zone, taking off for a 50-yard return before being forced out of bounds by the scampering quarterback. Floral Park wasn't able to score, but it did manage to give back the ball on the 3-yard line to start the fourth.
But Overlander, who made his biggest statement in a two-foot span, made his most consistent statements on a wide-open field: finding Dylan Meyer for an 83-yard pass into double coverage. Meyer, who had 10 catches for 203 yards and a touchdown, broke a tackle by Michael Nelson and dragged Jones for about 7 yards to the 2 to set up the winning score.