There was a lot of tossin' and turnin' Saturday for MacArthur, but the Generals didn't have any trouble sleeping Saturday night.
Sometimes it was toss left. Sometimes it was toss right. Most times it was Vin Martino taking the pitchout and once the 5-9, 170-pound senior got outside, he turned upfield for big gain after big gain.
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Martino got 159 of his 184 yards in the first half when the Generals set the tone on their way to a 38-21 victory over host Wantagh in Nassau II football. They led 28-7 at the half and 35-7 after three before Martino went to the bench with what he said were "cramps in both calves."
"Usually, we're a counter-and-blast team, but the toss was working," said Martino, who scored on a 16-yard run in the second quarter. "I had a big hole on every play so you know my offensive line was blowing people out."
MacArthur coach Bobby Fehrenbach acknowledged that the success of those outside runs influenced his strategy. "I coach by feel. If something is working, you stick with it," Fehrenbach said. "We can throw if we have to, but Martino can really run the ball and those toss plays were working so we stayed with it. Our offensive line did a great job."
The guys in the trenches for MacArthur included two pairs of brothers -- Ryan and Dan O'Shea, and Joe and Phil Razza. Along with fifth starter Kyle Zangrillo, they allowed Martino, fullback Dan Joyce (eight carries, 46 yards) and Martino's fourth-quarter replacement, Jared Wolfe (10 carries, 40 yards, one touchdown), to help the team compile 281 yards on the ground.
"Without those guys, I'm nothing," Martino said.
Others contributed to MacArthur's successful return to Nassau II after spending last year with the big boys in Nassau I. Quarterback Jimmy Kelleher, who is attracting some recruiting interest from Division I-FCS schools, threw a pair of touchdowns to Marc Arboleda in the first half.
Wantagh pulled to within 14-7 after a 1-yard scoring run by Kyle Sliwak concluded a drive that featured a 67-yard pass play from Robert Tucker to Bruno Surace.
But the Generals responded with a three-play, 60-yard drive that featured a 30-yard run by Martino and his 16-yard scoring run on a bolt up the middle. MacArthur then assumed total control on the ensuing kickoff when a Wantagh fumble was scooped up by Mike Maringelli and returned 18 yards for a touchdown. "I thought that was the big play," Fehrenbach said.
Martino agreed. "After a play like that, or a great block, I get crazy," he said, adding that he "likes it a lot" when he gets to carry the ball in bunches.
MacArthur made it 35-7 on a 4-yard run by Wolfe, normally the team's top receiver, and 38-7 early in the fourth quarter when Justin Norcini nailed a 23-yard field goal.
With both teams utilizing their bench, the Warriors scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
"They ran the ball well. We couldn't stop that one play," Wantagh coach Keith Sachs said. That one play made the game anything but a toss-up.