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Terrance Edmond, Freeport dominate Oceanside to win Nassau I title

Freeport quarterback/defensive back Terrance Edmond and wide receiver/linebacker Arnold Cruz talked about what went well in the air and on the ground after winning the Nassau I football championship at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium on Saturday. (Credit: Newsday / Melissa Kramer)

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Freeport’s Terrance Edmond recalled the bus ride back from the loss to Oceanside in the 2017 Nassau I title game. The junior quarterback said that during the trip, the Red Devils vowed to hold their pain close for the next year with a mind to “never experience it again.” And in the rematch Saturday, he made certain that would be the case.

Edmond rushed for 216 yards and four touchdowns and threw for two more to lead Freeport to a 42-0 victory over Oceanside at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. The Red Devils (11-0) won their eighth Nassau I championship and second in three years.

“November 18, 2017 — that day set a fire in all of us,” Freeport senior Justin Lescouflair said. “Everyone who was on that team got the fire to work as we never had before. And all that hard work adds up. We knew today we were going to come out and put on a show.”

Freeport has seemed to be on a collision course with Suffolk I champion Floyd since the start of the season, and they will meet in the Long Island Class I championship game at noon on Saturday at Hofstra.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and we knew — the coaches knew — this was a special group,” coach Russ Cellan said. “And I told them early on that this team will go as far as it wants to go. The sky is the limit . . . When we say ‘as far as it wants to go,’ we don’t mean Nassau.”

Edmond scored on runs of 55, 57, 3 and 40 yards. He was 2-for-6 passing for 54 yards, with the two completions a 17-yard touchdown pass to Arnold Cruz in the first quarter and a 37-yard TD pass to Cruz in the second.

“He’s one of the few ninth-graders we’ve brought up,” Cellan said of making Edmond a starting wideout in 2016 before moving him to quarterback last year. “He did OK as a 10th-grader running the show. But I told him in the offseason, ‘This will be the year that you face the same guys you played against in junior high and it’s time again to separate yourself from them.’   ”

Consider it done. Edmond has run for 815 yards and 12 touchdowns and passed for 651 yards and 10 TDs.

“The speed he’s developed is incredible,” Lescouflair said.  "He burst it out today and that’s what we needed.”

The recipe Freeport followed looked awfully familiar as it scored three touchdowns in the first quarter to break open the game. The Red Devils have outscored opponents 208-13 in first quarters and have not trailed all season.

“It definitely scares them a little bit,’’ Edmond said. “We like to jump on teams and stay on them. That start can hurt teams.”

Edmond ran for the 55-yard touchdown on the second play of the game, hit Cruz for a 14-0 lead near the midpoint of the quarter and ran 57 yards for a touchdown with 4:04 left in the quarter.

He said the impact on the Sailors (8-3) was visible. “You could tell by their body [language]. They weren’t moving the same as they had when the game started,” he said. “We took something out of them.”

Three of Edmond’s TDs came from running behind the right-side blocking of Jaden Jackson and Makhai Jinks. Freeport also held Oceanside to 54 passing yards.

Freeport may have been looking for a little payback and a Nassau I title, but with those in hand, there still is the matter of beating Floyd.

“This isn’t what we set out to do,” Lescouflair said. “We set out to win the Long Island championship. Just making it there isn’t enough.”

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