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Floyd’s defense the difference in semifinal win against Longwood

William Floyd defensive back Keith Winfrey (8) tackles

William Floyd defensive back Keith Winfrey (8) tackles Longwood quarterback Jordan Harris (17) for a loss during the second half on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Floyd defense quickly set the tone for what would be a long afternoon for Longwood in Saturday night’s Suffolk Division I semifinal playoff game.

The Colonials forced a three-and-out on Longwood’s opening possession and then drove 95 yards in five plays, capped by Nick Silva’s 1-yard scoring run, to take the lead for good in a 28-0 victory in Mastic Beach.

Floyd (9-1) will meet Ward Melville (6-4) for the Suffolk Division I title at Stony Brook University on Friday at 7 p.m.

Paul Longo’s Colonials will play in the final for the 12th time in the last 16 seasons and 13th time in the last 19. Floyd, which captured nine Suffolk titles in Longo’s previous 12 finals appearances, had never won a playoff game before he took over as head coach in 1995.

Silva, who scored two touchdowns, keyed the 95-yard drive with an 80-yard run to the 1. After he scored, Sebastian Paniccia kicked the first of his four extra points.

“It was a real good start for us,” Longo said. “We were running basic isolation plays and our offensive line executed very well.”

Junior halfback James Taitt scored on a 16-yard run to make it 14-0 with 3:06 left in the first quarter. Taitt went over the left side behind big blocks from Rocky Davis and K.J. Berberich on fourth-and-2. The touchdown came after a short punt set up the Colonials at the Longwood 36.

Silva finished the first quarter with 98 yards on five carries, running mostly behind center Greg Amato, guard Brian Carney, tackle Nick Golde and tight end Nick Gioia.

“We had great field position,” Longo said. “And we took advantage of the opportunity.”

The Colonials sealed the win with two touchdowns in the third quarter. Silva scored on a 51-yard run and A.J. Ray returned an interception 40 yards for a score.

“A.J.’s interception return was a thing of beauty,” Longo said. “He leaped way up there and made the interception and then made some incredible moves to make it to the end zone.”


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