Bailey Kolovich only had one defender to beat and he was willing to go airborne to make sure he did.
The Islip running back left his feet and jumped into the end zone to finish off a 60-yard touchdown run with 1:22 left in the third quarter. The run padded the Buccaneers’ lead, highlighting the team’s strong ground game and cementing a 42-14 victory over Hauppauge in Suffolk III on Saturday.
“I had to make a play,” said Kolovich, who finished with 149 yards rushing on seven carries. “I had to change the game around.”
Islip (2-1) got out to a fast start, taking a 28-0 lead into halftime after Joe Juengerkes connected with Justin Ashman on a 65-yard pass in the final seconds of the second quarter.
The Buccaneers didn’t miss a beat after the break. Valentino Rosselli capped a 9-play, 49-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run on Islip’s opening possession of the third to make it 35-0. It was a ground-and-pound approach that served Islip well all afternoon.
“The strength, we thought coming into the year, was our offensive line,” said Islip coach Jamie Lynch. “The guys up front did a great job.”
Hauppauge (2-1) refused to go quietly. Joe Esposito got the Eagles on the board with a 44-yard run with 4:30 left in the third quarter and the defense held strong on Islip’s ensuing drive, blocking a punt out of the Buccaneers’ end zone for a safety.
Hauppauge still wasn’t done.
Esposito connected with Sean Semon on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 1:43 left in the third to cut Islip’s lead to 35-14.
“Hauppauge was coming in flying,” Lynch said. “They had two good wins over really good teams and they were physical. They’re a quality team.”
Kolovich already had one touchdown, a 35-yard run late in the second quarter, but he knew he could do more. He took the handoff with 1:22 in the third, looked up field and immediately hit a second gear. Kolovich pushed through the defensive line, dodging would-be tacklers and, with one Hauppauge player nearby, sailed into the end zone for the score.
It was enough to stall any hint of a Hauppauge comeback and give Islip back control of the game.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my o-line,” Kolovich said. “They got some great blocks, moved [Hauppauge’s] big boys, so I made some cuts and put on the speed.
Islip finished with 350 yards on the ground, a performance the Buccaneers hope will become the theme of the season going forward.
“They’re really starting to mesh together,” Lynch said. “For us to be where we want to be at the end of the year, this was a must-win for us.”