Anthony Lucarelli, the Half Hollow Hills West quarterback, can hurt a defense in so many ways. He can throw to a variety of receivers, including big man Cameron Jordan. He can hand off to high-scoring halfback Alexander Filacouris and let him run. Or he can tuck it and run himself.
"It always depends on what the defense is willing to give me," Lucarelli said. "If they drop seven or eight in coverage we run it. If they play man and stuff the box, we throw it."
Saturday, he chose to do a little bit of everything.
Lucarelli completed eight of 13 passes for 153 yards and a score as host Half Hollow Hills West downed West Islip, 35-7, in a Suffolk Division II game. He added 62 yards rushing as the Colts won for the sixth straight week and improved to 7-1 to lock up the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. West Islip (6-2) finished with the third seed.
"They were dropping everyone in coverage early so it opened up our running game," Lucarelli said. "And our offensive line was just outstanding opening holes."
Filacouris took advantage of the room to run. He finished with 191 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 30 and 50 yards in the fourth quarter.
"He made some great cuts and followed his blocks," Lucarelli said. "Our down field blocking was really good."
Hills West opened the game with an eight-play, 61-yard drive capped by a Filacouris 8-yard touchdown run. Filacouris keyed the march with a 13-yard reception to the Lions 34.
"We made an early statement," said Hills West coach Kyle Madden. "This was for homefield advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs."
The Colts added to the lead when Deyvon Wright scored on a 7-yard run with 1:35 left in the half. Ryan Barone's extra-point kick made it 14-0. Lucarelli kept the drive moving on a pivotal third down scramble. He broke the pocket and went right down the home sideline where he picked up two open field blocks by Jordan and Wright for a 24-yard gain to the Lions 7.
"Deyvon finished the drive with another hard run," Lucarelli said. "He's a special kind of athlete. And he's catching on to our system and he'll be dangerous."
West Islip, which was held to 59 first-half yards, went three and out to start the third quarter, and a short punt gave Hills West possession at the Lions 37. Two plays later, Jordan made it 21-0 with a one-handed touchdown grab. Jordan was blanketed by defensive back Antonio Alicea but managed to reel in a pass over the defender's outstretched arms for the 27-yard score with 8:14 left in the third quarter. "I just went up and got it," said the 6-5 Jordan, who has 13 touchdown receptions.
The Hills West defense stifled West Islip behind the solid play of Dan Nam Kung, A.J. Leva and Ahmaad Crowell. And after Dylan Carrino returned the first kickoff to the Colts 20, the special teams led by Brandon Ozley, shut down the Lions. Ozley's open field tackle on Carrino at the 47 on a fourth quarter return prevented another long run.
"We played a great all around game," Madden said. "That works for me before the start of the playoffs."