Jason Seiter and the Bethpage football team’s offense kicked off the first three quarters of their season-opener tirelessly searching for answers.
The fourth quarter finally provided them.
After committing a total of four turnovers prior to halftime and being shut out over the opening three quarters, the Golden Eagles overcame a sluggish start with an impressive fourth-quarter performance to secure a 16-7 Nassau III home victory over Lynbrook on Saturday afternoon.
“When we fell behind we didn’t put our heads down,” said Seiter, who completed 6 of 14 passes for 209 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and added eight carries for 24 yards. “It says something about us how we were able to come back and get a good win.”
With 7:39 remaining and the score tied at 7, a Lynbrook punt pinned Bethpage at its own 9-yard line. Seiter promptly completed a short pass toward the right sideline to Matt Groom, who shed two tackles and rumbled into the end zone for the go-ahead score and a 14-7 Golden Eagles advantage.
“I’m not the fastest guy, but I thought I had a good angle and that and that I was going to take it home,” said Groom, who had four receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown.
T.J. Hart sacked Owls quarterback Joey Castillo on the ensuing drive in the end zone for a safety to extend the Bethpage lead to nine with 6:38 left.
The Golden Eagles’ offensive woes began on the game’s opening possession with a fumble at their own 42-yard line, but their defense forced a punt. Buckling down and overcoming the offense’s struggles was a theme throughout the day. The lone Lynbrook score came on a 1-yard touchdown run by Castillo with 5:12 left in the third.
Seiter threw two interceptions in the first half. The first occurred on a 4th-and-goal throw into the end zone as time expired in the first quarter. Steven Hendrickson later picked off Seiter at the Lynbrook five-yard line on the final play of the first half.
Lynbrook’s most dazzling takeaway of the first half resulted in a touchdown that was immediately rescinded. After a scintillating 91-yard fumble recovery touchdown run by Jonathan Cabral-Martin six minutes before the half, an illegal blocking penalty called the score back.
Bethpage broke through and knotted the score at 7 with a 4-yard touchdown run by Jack Raia early in the fourth. Chris Greco led the Golden Eagles with 41 of the team’s 133 total rushing yards.
Though it wasn’t the prettiest win, Bethpage head coach Erwin Dill understood there were still plenty of positives for a team looking to rebound from its 28-0 Nassau III semifinal loss to Wantagh last season.
“Our defense continued to play really well,” Dill said. “When you don’t play your best and still win, I think that’s a sign of a good team.”