William Floyd's Stacey Bedell is brought down by Sachem North's...

William Floyd's Stacey Bedell is brought down by Sachem North's Alex Katos. (Nov. 19, 2010) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It was his running that carried Floyd into the lead. It was his hitting that preserved it. In spectacular fashion, Stacey Bedell's performance was a home run.

The junior running back galloped for 242 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns, including a 49-yard scoring run with 3:36 left that gave the Colonials a 14-point lead. He tackled Jesse Scanna at the 4-yard line as time ran out in Floyd's point-a-minute, thrill-a-minute 41-34 victory over Sachem North Friday night in the Suffolk County Division I championship game at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.

The victory improved Floyd to 9-2 and into a Long Island Class I title game against Freeport next Friday at noon at Hofstra. Sachem North, which had beaten Floyd, 40-6, during the season, fell to 10-1. It's the second straight season that the Flaming Arrows won 10 straight before losing to Floyd in the county championship game.

"I can't even put into words how I feel," said running back/linebacker Luke Miller, after a long embrace with Bedell near midfield. "Two great teams in a battle to the last second."

Quite literally. After Bedell's breathtaking run, in which he somehow popped out of the pile in the middle of the field and burst free for a 41-27 lead, Sachem North gamely rallied.

Dalton Crossan completed a 57-yard drive with a 10-yard scoring run with 1:58 left. The Arrows couldn't recover the onsides kick, but on Floyd's first play after, Bedell had the ball stripped by Mike Andreassi, who also recovered at midfield.

Nine plays later, including a couple of timeouts and spikes to stop the clock, Sachem began the game's final play with 0:03 showing and the ball at the Floyd 15. Scanna took a pitch and tried to turn the corner, but Bedell got him out of bounds. Scanna then ripped off his helmet, and burst into tears as Floyd's players celebrated wildly on the field.

"That last drive was crazy," said Bedell, who also scored on runs of 22, 64 and 1 yards. "I knew we had to step up and make a defensive play."

Miller (17 carries, 81 yards) had made two of them earlier. He forced one fumble and recovered to set up two Floyd scores, as the Colonials led, 14-7, at halftime. It was the first time Sachem North trailed at halftime all season.

That the Flaming Arrows were unable to overtake Floyd was no fault of quarterback Angelo Armine. While Scanna, Andreassi and Crossan - the Big 3 all season - were held to a total of 133 yards, Armine had a spectacular career night. He rushed for 243 yards on 21 carries, including runs of 66 and 49 yards.

But North had no answer for Bedell, who was especially dangerous when he got to the edge. "One on one - that's my specialty," he said, flashing a grin. His performance helped Floyd win the Suffolk title for the eighth time in the last 10 years.

At one point, there were four touchdowns in 4:28 in the third quarter: A 22-yard run by Bedell; a 29-yard run by Andreassi; a 64-yard run by Bedell and a 43-yard run by Crossan. Crossan had a 74-yard run wiped out earlier in the period by a penalty.

The fourth quarter had fans on both sides of the stadium standing and roaring, mostly for offensive plays as Floyd ran for 327 of its 374 yards of total offense and North ran for 376 of its 389.

Bedell made sure the Arrows didn't get another four yards that might have tied the game. "I just had to calm down and play my game, " Bedell said of his slow start.

His was the calm before the storm.

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