Matt Ilchuk couldn't gather his thoughts.
Just a few minutes had transpired since his 70-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed Bay Shore's 41-32 Suffolk I victory at Central Islip Saturday. It was the first pick-six of his career.
"I'm at a loss for words a little bit right now," he said.
The cheek-to-cheek smile and glowing eyes said enough.
Ilchuk jumped a short route near the right sideline and picked off Livingstone Harriott's pass. Nobody touched him as he sprinted to the end zone.
For the sophomore, it was a sufficient reason to forget about last week, when Lindenhurst targeted him for two scores in Bay Shore's 14-0 loss. Coach Craig Blatter said Ilchuk never hung his head.
"I told him, 'Matty, try to be a little more aggressive, and trust your athletic ability,' " Blatter said. "He did it. You could see that right there. He's a young kid. This is awesome for him."
Ilchuk also scored Bay Shore's first touchdown, trimming Central Islip's first-quarter lead to 8-7 on a 16-yard pass from Steven Button.
"It feels nice to be able to help the team on both sides," he said.
In between Ilchuk's touchdowns, Bradley Pierre went to work.
The Bay Shore running back recorded four scores and 214 yards on 39 carries. He had a long run of 45 yards.
Every time the Marauders needed a big play, it seemed, Pierre answered the bell.
"When you've got a horse like that," Blatter said, "you ride him."
Three minutes after Central Islip tied the game at 14 early in the second quarter, Pierre broke free for a 23-yard rushing touchdown to put Bay Shore ahead 20-14 with 8:25 left.
"I was waiting for my teammates to clear because I knew it was a counter," he said. "Once I saw grass, I knew to go straight ahead. Central Islip isn't green, so just keep running. Protect the ball. Keep moving forward. That's it."
With 11:02 left in the game and Bay Shore facing second-and-9 from Central Islip's 13-yard line, Pierre broke a tackle and made two hard cuts to evade the Musketeers and reach the end zone. That rush gave the Marauders a 34-26 lead.
"I was going toward the edge, and my teammate Mahlik Hinds set a key block. It was just great," Pierre said. "I read it off him and went to the hole. He did what he had to do, and I thank him so much for it. I couldn't have done it without my teammate."
While Pierre dominated the ball for Bay Shore, Harriott kept Central Islip within reach. The quarterback completed 12 of 28 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 159 yards and two scores.
That one interception was the only blemish on his day behind center.
"He's the difference in the game. That kid's fantastic," Blatter said. "We had him bottled up, and he was running and throwing. He's a fantastic football player."