Even on the sunniest of days, the football field at William Floyd High School can be treacherous with its uneven grass and numerous dirt spots. When it rains, the best-laid game plans of coaches can go slip-sliding away. For opposing coaches that is.
“We love this. It’s a big advantage for us,” mud-and-grass-stained Floyd center Greg Amato said, pointing at the field after anchoring an offensive line that was superb in a 28-6 victory over defending Long Island champion Longwood in a Suffolk I football game Saturday. “They’re used to turf and we’re used to mud.”
In improving to 5-0, Floyd dominated both lines of scrimmages, but it was the offensive line that had coach Paul Longo smiling afterward. “They allow us to eat up the clock and keep the other team’s offense off the field,” Longo said. “When you eat up five or six minutes on every drive, it helps your defense. This is one of the best lines we’ve ever had.”
That’s quite a compliment considering that Floyd has won five Long Island championships. Amato’s unit also includes left tackle Rocky Davis, left guard Keith Berberich, right guard Bryan Carney, right tackle Nick Golde and tight end Nick Gioia. Their hard work allowed Nick Silva, a tough 5-7, 185-pound sophomore, to rush for 103 yards on 20 carries, including touchdown runs of 13 and 10 yards, and another sophomore with moves, Jordan Clinton, to carry 16 times for 59 yards and a 20-yard touchdown pass from Robert Taiani, who also threw a 20-yard scoring pass to A.J. Ray in the second quarter that produced a 21-0 lead never threatened.
“We take a lot of pride in our performance,” said Amato, a three-year starter. “We were definitely getting a good push. Their line was good, but today ours was better.”
That superiority began on the Colonials’ first drive of the game that featured short bursts from Silva and Clinton that got the ball to Longwood’s 5-yard line. On fourth down, Longo dug deep into the playbook for a trick play that began with Taiani taking the ball in an option set and handing off to Michael Bradley. He rolled right and found Keith Winfrey in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Bradley also excelled on a defensive unit that surrendered just one touchdown by Longwood (3-2) on a 30-yard run by quarterback Jordan Harris on the final play of the first half.
Floyd put the game away by beginning the third quarter with a 65-yard drive comprised of 11 running plays and concluding with Silva’s 10-yard run.
“We knew it would come down to the offensive line,” Silva said. “We said we would do it and we did.”
Pretty good forecast after all.