The youngest guy in the Commack lineup made the two biggest plays in the season opener. And the final play, the game-winner, will be forever known as the Brady Crunch.
Sophomore defensive back Ryan Brady blitzed and cut his way through the heart of the Sachem East front and tackled senior halfback Adriel Robinson to stop the Flaming Arrows' two-point conversion attempt as Commack held on for a 14-13 comeback win Saturday in a Suffolk Division I football game.
It was Brady’s fifth tackle and the timely defensive gem blew up the Sachem East running play before it could get started.
“We shut down their running game,” said Commack senior captain Saul Leon, who had seven tackles. “Brady timed the play perfectly and got into the backfield – and that was it.”
It was Brady’s second big contribution in overtime. Moments earlier, he had given the Cougars the lead when he caught a 5-yard scoring strike from senior quarterback Aidan McCarty. Senior Kieran Hendry added the point-after kick to make it 14-7.
“It was an out and up and I just turned and waited for the ball,” said Brady, who caught a team-leading eight passes for 55 yards. “It was a perfect throw and I was wide open.”
McCarty, who completed 21 of 40 passes for 244 yards, scrambled to his right and away from the Sachem East pressure, scanning the field for an open receiver.
“He was all alone, uncovered,” McCarty said. “I just had to get it there.”
Commack responded on their overtime possession. Robinson rushed for eight yards and then four before senior Ryan Paolella scored on a beautiful cutback run for an 8-yard touchdown to make it 14-13.
“They blew up our ‘A’ gaps and were pinching hard in a tight formation,” Sachem East coach Phil Torregrosa said. “We had no answer for their inside speed and we missed too many assignments.”
Both teams played inspired defense throughout a first half that saw limited offense and finished in 57 minutes in a scoreless tie.
“Our defense was great early, but we did allow some big plays later in the game,’’ Commack coach Jeff DiLorenzo said. “When we needed stops we came through. But we really had no answer for their blitz package and it’s something we have to work on.”
Sachem East appeared to have scored on the final play of the first half when they blocked a Liam Walas 35-yard field goal attempt as time expired. The ball was scooped by a Sachem East player in a scrum and lateraled to senior defensive back Ryan Micheli, who ran 70 yards for the touchdown.
The officials huddled to discuss what was an inadvertent whistle and the touchdown was waved off.
“At least they admitted the mistake to us, but it did cost us a touchdown,” Torregrosa said.
Sachem East would get on the board in the fourth quarter. Senior halfback Antonio Camacho burst over right tackle, waited for a block and bolted down the middle of the field, where he split the converging secondary and took it 83 yards for the touchdown. Tyler Bard added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 10:55 left in the game.
With 3:16 left, McCarty led the Cougars on a five-play, 62-yard drive, capped by a Dennis Morley 35-yard touchdown reception with 1:33 remaining. Morley caught an 8-yard pass and broke through two tacklers to score.
“I wasn’t letting Sachem East beat us,” McCarty said. “But they were fast and played their hearts out. I got hit every time I threw the ball, but in my head I wasn’t giving up. And our guys made the plays.”
Hendry’s kick tied it at 7 to force overtime.
“It was a defensive battle,” said Commack junior linebacker Jake Shaw, who had six tackles, including three for a loss. “We made the last big one.”