There was nothing left for Garden City’s Christian Sullivan to do as he walked off the turf at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium on Saturday.
The 6-5, 255-pound senior made 15 tackles, but he and the other Trojans could not do enough to make Garden City the first program to win four straight Long Island football titles. The Trojans lost to Lindenhurst, 14-13, in the Long Island Class II championship game.
“We weren’t the biggest, or the toughest, but we played smart,” Sullivan said. “They were just a little better than us.''
Garden City (10-2) took a 13-0 lead on a 25-yard run by Pierce Archer (53 yards, seven carries) with 9:47 left in the third quarter, but Warren Dixon blocked the PAT in what proved to be a key play for Lindenhurst (12-0).
Lindenhurst’s Jaden Barber scored on a 5-yard run late in the third quarter and added a 55-yard touchdown run with 5:36 remaining in the game. Nick Antos' second PAT gave the Bulldogs a 14-13 lead.
After the teams traded possessions, Garden City tried a flea- flicker on a first-and-10 play from its 20, but Lindenhurst's Matthew Newman intercepted a pass intended for Jack Downey near midfield with 1:43 to play. All that was left was for Lindenhurst to take a few kneeldowns.
“We tried to take a shot for a big play there,” Garden City coach Dave Ettinger said. “It’s one of those plays where it’s either the greatest call or the dumbest call.”
Although Garden City led 7-0 at the half, Lindenhurst dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 16:18 to Garden City’s 7:42. (Lindy ended the game with a 29:19-to-18:41 advantage.) The Bulldogs’ interior line imposed its will against a tough Trojans defense.
“They controlled the clock on us,” Sullivan said. “It’s hard to score when you don’t have the ball.”
While the finish wasn’t what the Trojans wanted, it was an incredible journey for them just to reach Hofstra.
Garden City had its Long Island-record winning streak snapped at 42 games when it lost to MacArthur, 27-7, on Oct. 26. (Floyd also had a 42-game streak that ended in 2008.) But the Trojans rallied to beat Manhasset, rolled to playoff victories over East Meadow and Mepham, and avenged the loss to MacArthur with a 16-14 triumph in the Nassau Conference IV championship game last week.
“We weren’t even supposed to be here,” Sullivan said. “We wanted to go out with a win. I love every single kid on this team. We worked so hard just to get here.”