Long Island quarterback Joe Capobianco (11) waits to go into...

Long Island quarterback Joe Capobianco (11) waits to go into the game in the first half of the 19th annual Empire Challenge. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Freshman quarterback Joe Capobianco (Oceanside) has made quite an impression in his first two starting assignments for the Merrimack College football team. Capobianco, Long Island's all-time high school leader in touchdown passes and total passing yards at Lawrence, threw for six TDs and 412 yards last week in a 75-2 win over Pace.

His encore performance Saturday was a beauty. Capobianco led Merrimack on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives in a 19-17 comeback win over LIU Post in a Northeast-10 game at Martone-Mejail Field in North Andover, Massachsetts.

Capobianco checked out of a deep post play and fired a short out to junior Armond McRae, who went 26 yards for the winning score with 1:48 left. His second scoring pass of the quarter erased a 17-13 deficit. The drive lasted 2:06 and went 50 yards in seven plays keyed by a 14-yard strike for a first down to Jere Brown (Freeport). Brown finished with six catches for 130 yards.

"Watching all the game film and looking for the defense's tendencies pays off," Capobianco said. "I checked it down at the line and McRae made a great play."

The touchdown put Merrimack (2-1, 2-0 NE-10) back in front and it was left up to the defense, which had six takeaways, to seal the win.

LIU Post senior quarterback Steven Laurino, who completed 20 of 39 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown and three interceptions, was sacked and threw three straight incompletions on the final possession before Merrimack ran out of the clock. "Our lines won the game for us," said Capobianco, who completed 21 of 39 passes for 256 yards. "The D-line made some big time plays."

The LIU Post defense was equally good. Former Thorp Award winner Anthony Brunetti of Bayville recovered a fumble at the LIU Post 1-yard line, and intercepted a Capobianco pass midway through the third quarter at the LIU Post 20.


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