Connor Cassidy is big on visualization. “I like to watch from the sidelines before I even step on the field and envision what will happen,” the Cold Spring Harbor senior said.
It would’ve taken quite an imagination for Cassidy to envision just how well things would go Thursday night. The No. 1 Seahawks scored the first four touchdowns, two by Cassidy, and beat No. 5 Carle Place/Wheatley, 39-7, in a Nassau IV semifinal at Hof stra’s Shuart Stadium.
“My line does a great job. It seems like the holes are getting bigger and bigger as the season goes on,” said Cassidy, who rushed for 199 yards on 17 carries and scored on runs of 68, 8 and 42 yards. “I’m a patient runner, and patience is the key for the whole team. We believe in each other.”
No wonder. The Seahawks improved to 10-0 and have outscored their opponents 298-73. They advanced to the Nassau IV final next Thursday at Hofstra against Seaford. CPW finished 6-4.
The game quickly turned in the Seahawks’ favor on the second possession of the game when CPW chose to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Wild Frogs’ 48. Tommy Milana returned the line-drive kick 75 yards for a touchdown, cutting to the outside and racing untouched down the right sideline.
“Tommy has done it a couple of times this season,” Cold Spring Harbor coach Jon Mendreski said. “He’s dangerous back there. It got us going.”
Cassidy kept the Seahawks soaring. On their next possession, he burst up the middle for a 68-yard score. “We just call it run blast,” Mendreski said. “Connor followed his blocks. He’s a good athlete, a quiet kid and one of the hardest workers in the weight room.”
Cassidy demonstrated some of that strength when he took a hard hit and bounced off the tackler to score on an 8-yard run early in the second quarter for a 20-0 lead. The Seahawks made it 26-0 with their defense getting into the act as Richie Striano returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown.
The Wild Frogs finally broke through when Luke Caliendo burned the CSH defense with a dazzling 65-yard run. Caliendo added the kick to make it 26-7. But the Seahawks put the game away before halftime by driving 64 yards in 11 plays, with quarterback Teddy Bentley running it in from the 3 with eight seconds left in the half.
Cassidy broke loose for a 42-yard scoring run on the first play of the fourth quarter. “It was an option to the weak side,” Mendreski said. “Connor made it look easy.”
Or maybe it was just the way he envisioned it beforehand.