Matthias Eato was so confident that "trap right" would work, he told Bay Shore coach Jim Giattino to call it on the first play from scrimmage Saturday.
Seventy-five yards later, Eato was in the end zone. "We knew that play would work. I saw it was open on film," Eato said. "That's why I asked coach to call it."
After that, there was no hesitation to call his number and Eato answered in grand style. The 5-8, 190-pound senior rushed for 226 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries, added a fifth score with a pick-six for 34 yards, and returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 87 yards to set up the host Marauders' final touchdown in a 42-17 victory over Patchogue-Medford.
"An amazing day for an amazing player," Giattino said.
Eato's spectacular performance allowed Bay Shore (4-4) to clinch a playoff berth in the regular-season finale for the second straight season. Pat-Med finished 3-5 and would've been in the playoffs with a victory.
But Bay Shore made sure that wouldn't happen right from the start. Jaquan Moore raced 96 yards for a touchdown with the opening kickoff before most of the Homecoming Day crowd was seated.
Eato made it 21-3 early in the second quarter when he made his interception return and made it 28-3 with a 16-yard scoring burst later in the period. "This was a do-or-die game and we had the right mind-set," Eato said.
Giattino pointed to Eato and linebacker Ousmane Camara, the tackle leader all season for Bay Shore, and said, "When we were 1 and 4, these two were the cogs. They were the guys who willed us into the playoffs."
The Raiders, who were led by the passing combination of Jack Keough (13-for-29, 211 yards) to Connor Coughlin (8 catches, 117 yards), cut it to 28-10, when Tyler Conlon picked up a blocked punt at the Bay Shore 2 and rolled into the end zone for a touchdown with 4:29 left in the third quarter.
After an exchange of punts, Eato made certain Patchogue-Medford would not continue its rally. He broke loose for a 53-yard run to the Raiders' 17 and finished the drive with a 10-yard scoring run.
When Patchogue-Medford made it 35-17 on Keough's 10-yard run off a quarterback draw, Eato again had the proper response. He doesn't usually return kickoffs, but he was the deep man as the Marauders sent in their "hands" team expecting an onside kick. But the Raiders kicked it long and Eato made them pay, bobbing and weaving on an 87-yard return, before being dragged down at the 3. "I was a little tired," Eato said.
After a one-play breather, Eato returned for an acrobatic 1-yard dive into the end zone to conclude scoring and cap what he called, "the best all-around game of my career."
Camara referred to Eato as "Mr. Hansen," lobbying for his teammate to win the Newsday award given annually to the best player in Suffolk. "It's a relief to have him on our team," Camara said. "I take care of the defense and he takes care of the offense."
Both took care of business for Bay Shore Saturday.