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Conor Colasurdo leads Carey to repeat LI Class II title

The Carey football team celebrate their victory over

The Carey football team celebrate their victory over East Islip after the Class II Long Island Championship on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at Stony Brook University. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

When Carey's Conor Colasurdo looks back on the final 24 games of his high school football career, he will see perfection. He will see that his team went 12-0 in successive seasons, punctuated by the school's first two Long Island Class II championships.

Colasurdo helped make that a reality Sunday, forcing a fumble that set up the go-ahead score and returning a punt 57 yards for a third-quarter touchdown. Those plays ignited Carey in a 41-7 win over East Islip before more than 4,500 fans at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.

"We never lost our focus and always kept it one opponent at a time,'' Colasurdo said of the winning streak. "We knew East Islip had a size advantage, but it didn't matter. Our D-line dominated up front and we shot through the gaps for big plays all game. They couldn't move the ball at all -- we shut them down.''

Carey (12-0) extended Long Island's longest winning streak to 24 with another complete performance. Special teams contributed two second-half touchdowns, the defense held East Islip to 13 yards rushing on 29 carries and the Seahawks' offense rolled up 299 yards. Carey scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to break open a 13-7 game.

"It's a special group,'' coach Mike Stanley said. "We had guys like Conor, who is so much more than just a linebacker. He's a complete football player. And we had great team chemistry.''

Swirling winds helped both teams gain favorable field position in the first half. Carey took advantage of a 7-yard punt into the wind and went 27 yards in eight plays, capped by Nick Spillane's 2-yard scoring run. Paul Koprowski's kick made it 7-0 with 11:13 left in the half.

East Islip (8-4) returned the favor, taking over at midfield after a punt into the wind went for no yardage. Quarterback Jack Hannigan, who suffered a knee injury on the game's second play, launched a 55-yard pass to John Sihpol, who caught it in stride at Carey's 3-yard line. East Islip then used a full-house backfield and halfback Sean Karika followed a horde of blockers over the right side for a 3-yard touchdown run. Jake Piacenti's extra-point kick made it 7-7 with 8:42 left in the half.

Hannigan's big throw on third-and-18 had given East Islip its first first down of the half. To that point, Carey had held the Redmen to 8 total yards in 11 plays.

"Our defense did a great job,'' Carey tackle Anthony Catapano said. "And we moved them on the offensive side. We knew they'd be physical but we were more physical, and that was our goal. We moved them around up front and our backs ran well.''

Carey's defense helped the Seahawks take the lead for good. Colasurdo stripped Hannigan after he scrambled out of the pocket, and Anthony Lucito recovered at the East Islip 48 with 4:06 left in the half. A nine-play, 48-yard drive capped by Mike Catanese's 2-yard run gave Carey a 13-7 lead.

"That was a huge play,'' Stanley said of Colasurdo, "but his punt return was even bigger.''

Colasurdo fielded a punt at his 43 and weaved through would-be tacklers, following two blocks down the visitors' sideline for a 57-yard touchdown. Catanese hit a wide-open Spillane for the two-point conversion to make it 21-7 with 8:43 left in the third.

"I followed some great blocks, especially Spillane's hit, which sealed the outside,'' Colasurdo said of his first punt return for a touchdown.

The defense never rested. Carey turned in seven sacks, and Anthony Milan blocked Piacenti's punt into the end zone, where Mike DeLeo recovered for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

"We swarmed the ball,'' Stanley said. "And we made the big plays.''

And the streak goes on.

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