After Jeff Williams called it one of his better catches, he and co-captain Terrell Brown gave each other a look and started laughing. Why not? There was plenty to smile about in Freeport last night.
Williams' shoestring catch of a 12-yard touchdown pass extended the Red Devils' lead to 16 in the third quarter and sent Freeport to a 39-25 win over Syosset in a Nassau Conference I semifinal football game before a crowd of 2,200 at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium.
Junior quarterback Isaiah Barnes rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and threw two touchdown passes, completing six of eight for 139 yards. Dan Olivier added two touchdown runs.
With Freeport ahead 13-10, the Red Devils scored three straight touchdowns, taking a 33-10 lead on a 37-yard run by Maurice Irby, the pass to Williams and a 69-yard run by Barnes.
"He had a big game, as did some of our other guys," Freeport coach Russ Cellan said of Barnes. "But I have to give Syosset credit because they made some big stops in the first half and kept it close."
On the big throw to Williams, Barnes was hit hard as he threw and barely got enough on the ball to reach Williams, crossing from right to left in the front of the end zone. He reached down and made the catch at toe level.
"I ran a post and he made a nice throw under pressure," Williams said. "It's great to make big plays, but the key to winning is doing it again and again."
Freeport opened the scoring after Jalil Burton made the first of his two interceptions and returned it from the Braves' 23 to the 4. Two plays later, Olivier, who later had a 35-yard touchdown run, scored on a 2-yard run. Edwin Sandoval's kick made it 7-0 after 46 seconds.
Syosset (5-5) failed to move the ball on its next two possessions. Freeport's next two drives were stopped on fourth-down tries deep in Braves territory, but it only seemed to delay the inevitable. "We didn't hang our heads," Brown said. "We just needed to execute better."
Logan Fischer's 25-yard field goal brought Syosset to within 7-3. Barnes hit a wide-open Jere Brown for a 55-yard touchdown pass for a 13-3 lead, but Dan Ventricelli threw the first of his two touchdown passes, an 8-yarder to Nick Bilianis. Irby's run made it 20-10 at the half.