Plainedge rolls past Floral Park
So many weapons, so little time.
No. 1 Plainedge crammed all of its points into the game's first 27 minutes, displaying a deep and balanced attack in crushing No. 6 Floral Park, 41-16, Saturday in a Nassau III semifinal football game at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.
The Red Devils (9-1) will face two-time defending county champion Lawrence Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Hofstra. Floral Park finished 6-4.
"It's great to be able to feel confident running or throwing all the time," Plainedge quarterback Nick Frenger said. "We have the guys who can execute no matter the situation."
Scoring situations occurred early for Plainedge. On the Devils' first possession, Frenger lofted a perfectly thrown deep ball to Kevin Walker for a 40-yard touchdown.
John Gullo made the first of his two interceptions on the next series and Davien Kuinlan took a pitchout, circled left end, lowered his shoulder to bowl over a would-be tackler at Floral Park's 38-yard line, and completed a 52-yard TD jaunt.
Gullo picked off another pass on the next series and on the very next play, Gianfranco Soriente took a pitchout and turned right end for a 51-yard touchdown. Dylan Burns' extra point made it 20-0 with 4:38 left in the first quarter. The rout was on.
"Having Franco and Frenger as four-year starters makes things really easy for the rest of us," said sophomore Kuinlan, who gained 133 yards on just 11 carries. "The offensive line played great and our receivers blocked downfield. It's a great feeling to be a part of an offense like this. We've got so much experience."
When he wasn't throwing blocks or making interceptions, Gullo ran crisp pass patterns. He caught five of Frenger's passes for 66 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter. "We've been building a great chemistry all season," Gullo said. "He's so accurate. He knows where we are and where he should put the ball."
Frenger was 9-for-12 passing for 145 yards and two scores. The senior quarterback also ran twice, both for touchdowns, of 41 and 4 yards in the second quarter, the latter capping a 95-yard drive. Plainedge had 262 yards rushing and 407 yards of total offense.
"John runs great routes and runs hard. All of our receivers do. They know we run a lot but they don't mind. They buy into our offense."
After Frenger's TD pass to Gullo with 9:03 left in the third quarter, the starters watched the rest of the game from the sidelines.
They had done their part and set up what seemed to be an inevitable rematch between No. 1 Plainedge and No. 2 Lawrence, the two-time defending Nassau II titlists and last year's Class III Long Island champion. The Red Devils beat Lawrence, 36-20, in Week 4.
"All year it was our goal to be here," Kuinlan said. "We had a feeling it would be [Lawrence]."
Added Frenger, "The only thing in our way is Lawrence. They're the team that stopped us the last two years and that has resonated."