It was a moment the majority of football brothers can only live out in the backyard.
But for Garrett and Shane Gibbons, this was reality at its finest. Trailing by four with less than 40 seconds left in No. 4 Massapequa’s Nassau I quarterfinal playoff game against No. 5 Oceanside, Garrett lined up at quarterback and made some magic by throwing to Shane for a 20-yard touchdown that propelled host Massapequa to a scintillating 31-28 victory.
“I glimpsed and saw Shane,” Garrett said. “We’ve been doing this since we were 3 years old. I just let the ball out and this place went crazy, it was awesome.”
Oceanside had upset Massapequa, 31-27, on October 29.
Considering that Garrett — who also had a 5-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter — had run the wildcat offense with each appearance, Oceanside anticipated a quarterback keeper and defended the run. But he had other plans, as he rolled to the right, stopped on a dime and lofted the ball down the right sideline to Shane, who hauled in the game-winning touchdown pass — his first reception of the afternoon — without a single defender in sight.
“I honestly felt like the ball was in the air for 10 minutes,” Shane said. “It was crazy. I saw how open I was and knew that if I catch it the game’s over.”
Everything leading up to the memorable final moments nearly matched in craziness. Back-to-back fumble recoveries that led to two quick touchdowns at the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth gave Massapequa (7-2) a much-needed jolt and gave the Chiefs a 24-21 lead. Before the two miscues, Oceanside’s defense — led by Jake Lazzaro’s two first-half interceptions — had limited Massapequa to just 10 points.
Lazzaro also was unstoppable offensively in the first half, with three touchdown receptions and 184 receiving yards.
Oceanside (4-5) temporarily took the air out of the stadium after receiver Derek Cruz threw a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1:47 remaining to take a 28-24 lead.
Massapequa then executed the two-minute drill almost flawlessly, driving 72-yards behind a combination of Gibbons and starting quarterback Kenny Galvin for the winning score.
“We knew we had a shot,” coach Kevin Shippos said.
Massapequa will meet No. 1 Farmingdale in a semifinal Thursday night at Hofstra University.
But until then, the Gibbons brothers just want to soak up the backyard dream that came to fruition.
“It’s surreal,” said Shane of throwing the winning touchdown to his brother. “These are the moments you play for.”