Third-and-23, your best passing quarterback is injured and time is running out.
“There are no great plays you can call in that situation,” Half Hollow Hills West coach Kyle Madden said. “I knew we had the option pass in our pocket.”
But the element of surprise was gone because the Colts had to throw it deep. So when wide receiver Cam Jordan came in motion, took a handoff and rolled right, his target, Jeff Terry, was double-covered. Jordan’s pass was tipped by Matthew Granville and intercepted by Trevor Yeboah-Kodie to seal Garden City’s 13-6 win in the Long Island Class II championship game Sunday at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium.
“It had worked before,” said Jordan, the Syracuse-bound receiver who caught a touchdown pass from Gerald Filardi with 6:55 left. “I saw Jeff had a step but it just didn’t work out. We probably wouldn’t have tried it if Gerald didn’t get hurt.”
Filardi injured his non-throwing shoulder on the previous play, forcing the attempt at trickery from the Colts’ 41-yard line with 1:15 left. “We needed some kind of option to hold off the defense,” Madden said.
That wasn’t the only offensive play that failed Hills West, a high-scoring team that managed only 156 yards and was scoreless for the first three quarters. Terry returned an interception 42 yards to the Trojans’ 16 with 5:16 left in the third quarter, but on fourth-and-goal from the 9, Filardi connected with Jordan 5 yards short of the end zone. “We left some plays on the field,” Madden said.
The Hills West defense played well, allowing only 167 yards and forcing Garden City to settle for two first-half field goals.
“I give our defense credit for keeping it close,” Madden said of a unit led by Tunde Alaketu (5 1⁄2 tackles) and Cherrod White and Ahmaad Crowell (five tackles each). “We talk about it all the time. This is a game of five plays that can go either way. They made their five plays and we made about three.”
Jordan (three catches, 68 yards) and Filardi (8-for-19 passing, 152 yards) teamed up on one of them, an 11-yard TD pass on a corner route that made the final minutes exciting.
“It was nothing special,” Jordan said of the scoring play. “Just me doing me.”
Madden’s fondness for senior Jordan, a star of the Colts’ county championship basketball team, was evident. Just before the team left LaValle Stadium, the coach embraced his player and said, “I love you, man.”