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Matthew McGurk, big plays lead Commack to win over Brentwood

Commack's Matthew McGurk scores a touchdown in the

Commack's Matthew McGurk scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter during a Suffolk Division I football game against host Brentwood on Saturday. Credit: Bob Sorensen

McGurk, McMahon & McKay. Nope. It’s not a law firm in Commack.

Instead, it was three members of the Cougars football team who all came up with huge efforts on Saturday.

Seniors Matthew McGurk and Tristan McMahon hooked up on two passing scores, and Jake McKay returned an interception 45 yards for an early second-half touchdown as Commack scored 28 unanswered points to earn a 35-13 Suffolk Division I victory and spoil Brentwood’s Homecoming.

"We just had to stick to our game plan," Commack coach Joe Reggio said. "We wanted to be able to run and throw the football. . . . We gave them that second touchdown, but then we settled down and got back to being balanced."

Commack (2-1) opened the game with a nine-play, 80-yard drive and took a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard TD run by Ryan Carlos (6 carries, 23 yards). Brentwood answered with a 13-play, 65-yard drive and knotted the score on a 2-yard scoring run from Jo’vanny Brown with 1:13 left in the first quarter.

Members of the Cougars kick return team thought the ensuing kick had reached the end zone for a touchback, but the ball bounced at the Commack 2 and was recovered by Jayden Lucate.

Three seconds later, Randy Ramnarace scored from 2 yards out. The extra point was blocked by Domenic Pirraglia as Brentwood (1-2) led, 13-7.

After that, it was all big plays for Commack. McGurk threaded the ball amongst a trio of Brentwood defenders and found McMahon on a 35-yard TD pass with 20.9 seconds left as Commack led 14-13 at halftime.

McKay made his presence felt early in the second half. The 6-1, 205-pound junior linebacker/running back picked off a Brentwood pass, weaved his way through traffic near midfield and ran along the Commack sideline for a 45-yard, pick-6 as the Cougars led 21-13 just 1:45 into the second half. He later added a second interception.

"That was the turning point of the game to me," Reggio said. "When I saw him make that run, I said, ‘Holy cow!’ "

Then, McGurk put the finishing touches on Commack’s second win of the season, and sixth in the last seven meetings with Brentwood.

The senior quarterback, in his first season as a starter, connected on a 27-yard touchdown pass to McMahon (4 catches, 84 yards) with 1:08 left in the third quarter on a curl-and-go route that Commack drew up during halftime.

McGurk later showed his athleticism on a 45-yard scoring run with 5:49 remaining in the game.

"We have to build off this win," said McGurk, who accounted for three scores, was 12 of 16 passing for 202 yards, and added 60 yards rushing on five carries. "We have to play better in the first half. We’ve struggled with that. But from now on, we have to come out strong and not let up."

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