One more first down was all Drew Guttieri needed to seal Connetquot’s win.
Guttieri rolled around the end, dodged a tackle and burst into the open field. The Connetquot quarterback turned the third-and-10 run into a 52-yard gain.
As Guittieri blew past the Newfield secondary and headed for the end zone, he abruptly slid at the Wolverines' 38 with under a minute to play. The heady senior knew Newfield was out of timeouts and the win was secured.
Guttieri finished with 375 all-purpose yards and three touchdown passes as Connetquot beat host Newfield, 21-12, Saturday in a Suffolk Division II football game before a crowd of more than 1,300 at Nick DeCillis Field in Selden.
“He’s a warrior, plain and simple, the leader of this team,” said Connetquot coach Mike Hansen, whose team will be a 5 seed in the playoffs starting next week. “He’s a smart kid and that was an example of a guy who was thinking on the field.”
Guttieri completed all three of his passes on Connetquot’s 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. He capped the march with a 55-yard scoring pass over the top of the defense to a sprinting James Mastro. Cole Bunnici added the kick for the 7-0 lead with 5:13 left.
“He put that one right on the money,” said Bunicci, who had seven catches for 110 yards and a score. “It was a beautiful throw and getting that lead is so important.”
The scoring strike came after a resilient Connetquot defense stopped Newfield after a 17-play, 51-yard march that lasted 10:03 to the Thunderbirds 20-yard line. Guttieri knocked down a fourth down pass in the end zone to end the threat.
“I saw the receiver cross the face of the defense and it was an on the spot throw,” Guttieri said. “I timed it well and batted it down.”
Newfield (5-3), which will be a 7 seed in the playoffs, had a passing touchdown and a first down negated by holding calls on the drive.
“They had some bad penalties,” Hansen said. “And that really hurt them.”
On the next possession, Newfield moved quickly down the field on a 24-yard run by Devin Aviles and a leaping 23-yard catch by Kyle Siemieniewicz to the Thunderbirds 21. But the drive stalled.
Connetquot then opened a two-score lead in bizarre fashion. Guttieri hit Bunicci for 31 yards into Wolverines territory and only a touchdown-saving tackle by Angelo Franzese prevented another long score with 53 seconds left in the half. Newfield’s EJ Dougherty followed with a quarterback sack for a loss of 10 yards and Franzese snuffed a screen pass for a loss of five.
Connetquot called a timeout with 33 seconds left. Guttieri then threw downfield to Mastro, who was blanketed at the goal line. The pass was tipped by the defender and bobbled by Mastro before he secured the catch in the end zone for the 14-0 lead with 25 seconds left.
“That was a game changer,” Guttieri said. “James had great concentration to make that play.”
The Newfield defense provided a needed second half spark for its offensive unit. The Wolverines batted down a fourth-and-12 pass in the red zone, and forced a turnover on downs at their 33.
On the next play, quarterback Maxwell Martin ignited the crowd when he darted into the line and split the secondary for a 67-yard touchdown run. The lightning-quick senior got Newfield within 14-6 with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
“He’s very athletic and got into the open field,” Hansen said. “We’d made the big plays on defense up to that point. But that run gave them life.”
Martin wasn’t done. He torched the Connetquot defense again on the very next possession.
Martin went over the right side of the line and cut back to the middle for a 75-yard touchdown run. In two consecutive offensive plays, both on first down, Martin made Connetquot’s 14-point lead disappear.
Martin’s two-point conversion pass went incomplete and the Wolverines trailed, 14-12. Martin finished with 211 yards on 18 carries. He also threw for 90 yards.
Connetquot made it a two-score game when Guttieri shuffled a pass to Bunicci for an 8-yard touchdown over the right side with 4:37 left in the game.
“Real good win before the playoffs,” Bunicci said.