Sachem East's Connor Farrell is seen during a break in...

Sachem East's Connor Farrell is seen during a break in the action during the Suffolk I football quarterfinal on Saturday Nov. 8, 2014 at Sachem East High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

After his first interception of the season stopped a first-quarter Northport drive in the red zone, Sachem East linebacker Connor Farrell made sure to point to his coach, Mark Wojciechowski, to acknowledge that yes, indeed, he had been paying attention.

"Coach told me in practice to get him a pick," Farrell said. And just to show that he was really paying attention, Farrell made another interception to stop another Northport drive in the second quarter.

Interceptions are a bonus for Farrell, a hard-hitting 6-2, 230-pound senior captain. What truly defines his game are tackles, and he made 12 of them Saturday to lead a spirited Sachem East team, playing its first home playoff game in school history, to a difficult 13-10 victory over Northport in a Suffolk I football quarterfinal.

"I definitely said that in practice and yeah, I saw him point at me," Wojciechowski said with a laugh. "He's come close so many times this year, with balls going off his hands. I couldn't be prouder of a player. He's stepped up his game so much this year. He is without a doubt the player that every guy on this team follows."

The third-seeded Flaming Arrows (8-1) will follow Farrell into another home playoff game on Saturday against No. 4 Lindenhurst. Northport finished 5-4 and suffered several more injuries Saturday in a season full of them.

"Never seen anything like it," Tigers coach Kip Lukralle said, noting that Saturday's fallen included star running back/linebacker James Gerdvil (ankle), top lineman Rob Fontana (shoulder) and starting quarterback Andrew Smith (who aggravated a leg injury that kept him out much of the season).

Most damaging was the loss of Gerdvil, who had rushed for 92 yards on 13 carries and led a defense that held Sachem East scoreless in the first half. Gerdvil suffered his injury on defense two minutes into the third quarter and was carried from the field on a stretcher.

Sachem East proceeded on a 10-play, 90-yard drive that concluded with Josh Hanna's 13-yard scoring run. Hanna gained 111 of his 121 yards in the second half. A missed extra point left the Flaming Arrows trailing 7-6.

Northport had two chances to pad its lead when it got the ball deep in Sachem East territory. A shanked punt gave the Tigers possession at the Flaming Arrows' 7-yard line, but Farrell made one tackle on a sweep and Jack Johnson made another at the goal line. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Northport fumbled the snap. Sachem East had held.

The Flaming Arrows were tested almost immediately, however, when Northport recovered a fumble at Sachem East's 11. This time Drew Alfano (10 tackles, one interception) and Vin Riha came from the secondary to make key stops, forcing Northport to settle for a field goal and a 10-6 lead.

"It's our house and we took it to them on the goal line," Farrell said. "I kept telling our guys to play with heart and not let them score."

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Still, the Flaming Arrows needed some offense to secure the win, and that came from senior quarterback Javon Abraham, a transfer from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens -- which doesn't have a football team. Abraham concluded a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown run with 7:01 left.

"Coach called a boot right and wanted me to use my legs to get outside," he said.

It was his first year of high school ball after years in city park leagues. "It was a big, big transition for me to play at a high school," said Abraham, who moved here in February.

He then embraced Farrell and said with feeling, "I love these guys so much."


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