Ryan Hofmann made a name for himself last season when he led Lindenhurst to the school's first outright Suffolk I football title as a junior.
Last night, he was on fire in the season opener at Ward Melville. Hofmann completed 25 of 40 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns, all to Steven Ramirez, in a 28-13 win before a crowd of about 1,700. "Steven made some great catches and our timing was right on," Hofmann said. "The line gave me time and the receivers ran excellent routes."
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The teams waged a defensive battle in the first quarter. But Hofmann ignited the Bulldogs on the first possession of the second quarter. He mixed the run with some spot-on throws, completing all five passes for 64 yards in a 10-play, 92-yard march that consumed 5:01.
Hofmann capped the drive when he rolled right and fired a well-timed down-and-out pass to a wide-open Ramirez for the score. William McKenna added the point-after kick to make it 7-0 with 9:15 left in the half.
Not to be outdone, Ward Melville quarterback Matt O'Hea too his team 85 yards in four plays, punctuating the drive with a beautifully thrown 61-yard touchdown pass to John Corpac. Corpac made an over-the-shoulder catch in stride for the score with 1:19 left in the half. The extra-point kick was missed and the Patriots trailed 7-6.
With 1:16 left, Hofmann went back to work from his 31-yard line. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 61 yards and found Ramirez with a 9-yard fade for a touchdown on the final play of the half for a 13-6 lead.
"We have confidence in Ryan's ability to put the ball in the right spot," Lindenhurst coach Nick Lombardo said. "And that was a perfect throw and a heck of a catch in the corner."
Lindenhurst extended the lead on the first possession of the third quarter when halfback Joe Barber broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown run. Austin Perri, the holder on the extra-point attempt, scooped a poor snap and ran for a two-point conversion and a 21-6 lead. Barber totaled 142 yards on 22 carries.
Ramirez's third touchdown came on a 29-yard dart from Hofmann with 8:06 left in the third quarter for a 28-6 lead.
O'Hea, who completed 19 of 37 passes for 297 yards, made it 28-13 when he found Nick Cervone on an 81-yard scoring pass with 3:23 left in the third. It was as close as they would get.