Three times late in the second quarter Carey quarterback Dan Conte delivered a long pass to Tyler DeMeo, who got separation from his defender. And three times the connection failed — one was a flat-out drop and the other two were tipped away at the last instant.
DeMeo was frustrated but not gun-shy. “I knew I could beat my guy. I was disappointed I didn’t catch the other ones but I knew if Dan kept putting it on the money I would catch it,” the 5-8, 150-pound senior said.
Two times in the second half, Conte delivered long passes to DeMeo, who got separation from his defender. And two times the play resulted in touchdowns that sent Carey to a 33-24 victory over Elmont Saturday in a Nassau II semifinal at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
“It’s been a good play for us all year and we had to go to it,” Carey coach Mike Stanley said. “We couldn’t let them keep too many guys in the box.”
On the first play from scrimmage after Joshua Milfort St. Cyr’s spinning 32-yard touchdown run put Elmont ahead 18-12, Conte hit DeMeo in stride for a 73-yard touchdown. DeMeo’s extra point put the Seahawks ahead for good.
The duo hooked up again on the first play after an Antonio Roselli interception, this time for a 35-yard touchdown that made it 33-18. “The line held it up and I just let Tyler do his thing,” said Conte (6-for-8 passing for 130 yards and the two TDs). “At halftime we just told him to calm down and execute. We knew he’d get open again and we knew he would catch the ball.”
Carey (8-2) will face Garden City for the conference title next Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Hofstra. Elmont finished 7-3 and pushed the Seahawks with their effective air attack. Aaron Ruthman completed 24 of 40 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns to Chester Anderson (nine receptions, 94 yards.)
The Spartans were unable to rally because Carey went back to its staple — a reliable running game — to take seven minutes off the clock with a fourth-quarter drive of 11 running plays and a pooch punt. Elmont used up the remaining 2:56 to score, with Anderson catching a 6-yard TD pass from Ruthman on the game’s final play.
Conte (20 carries for 99 yards) had six carries on the dagger drive, three for first downs. Shaheim Taylor-White (23 carries, 119 yards) was effective earlier as the offensive line of tackles Joe Randazzo and Frank Porcasi, guards Matt Langstrand and Dylan Nagy and center Mike Worsley dominated.
DeMeo made five catches for 117 yards and despite the drop, Stanley didn’t hesitate to re-dial his number. “He’s a gamer,” Stanley said.
A game-changer, too.