For Seaford, it was something different, something strange. No, not the second-quarter fake punt that led to a touchdown. That was just real cute. But trailing at halftime, the first time all season that the Vikings had trailed, that was the real deal.
“We weren’t used to that. We were really fired up,” quarterback/defensive back/punter A.J. Cain.
Cain was able to rally the Vikings with his passing, running and slick ball-handling and Danny Roell was a force with his relentless running that produced 170 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns as Seaford defeated Locust Valley, 28-14, Saturday night at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium in a Nassau IV semifinal.
The Vikings (10-0) will face the North Shore-Carle Place/Wheatley winner next Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Hofstra.
“We got up off the canvas,” Seaford coach Rob Perpall said. “They overcame adversity and that makes me so proud as a coach because it means they bought into the program. They proved it to themselves that they could do it.”
Cain’s 18-yard dart to Luke Farrant for a first down off a fake punt early in the second quarter was the key play in a drive that ended with Roell’s 1-yard dive and a 7-0 lead. “We’ve been practicing it all week and coach trusted us to use it,” Cain said.
But the Falcons (5-5) responded to the trickery with some straightforward offense. Francisco Anile hit Nick Jantzen with a 29-yard pass to tie it with 3:08 left and hit Keenan Herlich in the left corner of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown with 38 seconds left and a 14-7 halftime lead.
Roell provided an instant spark when he returned the second-half kickoff 35 yards to the Locust Valley 49. He carried five times on the ensuing drive, which ended with Cain’s 1-yard run around right end to tie the score. “I told the coach I had it,” Cain said of the play call. “I just faked it to one of the best running backs on Long Island [Roell] and had it easy.”
Taking a lead was more difficult. The Vikings didn’t move ahead until early in the fourth quarter, when fullback Nick Calandra barreled in from the 1 to make it 21-14.
Locust Valley threatened to re-tie it but Carter Skretch broke up a pass in the end zone and Seaford put the game away with a nine-play, 64-yard drive that ended with Roell’s 19-yard scamper around left end. He carried five more times on that drive.
“I love carrying the ball a lot and I love the contact,” Roell said. “I didn’t like it that we were down at halftime, but I liked it that we were motivated to come back.”