Locust Valley QB (green jersey) #12 Joe Jacobi calls a...

Locust Valley QB (green jersey) #12 Joe Jacobi calls a play during first half action in Locust Valley. (Oct. 15, 2011) Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Joe Jacobi threw a 30-yard touchdown on his first pass of the game, the Locust Valley defense forced three fumbles and made three interceptions and the Falcons defeated previously unbeaten West Hempstead, 25-6, Saturday in Nassau IV.

Yet despite the impressive performance, coach Matt McFarland gathered his 6-0 squad underneath the goal posts after the game to deliver this message: I'll tell you when I've seen the best of you, and I haven't seen it yet.

A scary thought, but for Locust Valley, maintaining its momentum during the season isn't about embracing any individual star, but rather letting the team jell as it progresses.

The stats from Saturday's game at Locust Valley show a team that is walking the talk. Chris Appell had 16 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown, and a catch for 16 yards; Nick West had 16 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown; Jacobi was 6-for-11 for 103 yards and two touchdowns; five different players caught a pass.

"We've always been a family, that's the thing about this group," Appell said. "We've always been really tight. We always hang out together. We're never alone, and we've bonded. It's like playing with your brothers out there."

The approach has led the Falcons to already double their win total of a year ago, when they went 3-5. They've already gone up against the best Nassau IV has to offer and come away unscathed.

"There's not a single individual on this team," McFarland said. "The kids are buying into it, and they come to work every day."

If the tired cliche of a working class team is that they bring their lunch pails to work, then Locust Valley might be the lunch pail kids.

"We have to continue to work hard, play hard and be dedicated," Jacobi said. "It's just about discipline."

Despite the success, McFarland's postgame speech looked ahead to the challenges Cold Spring Harbor will bring this week and the areas they need to improve to remain on top.

What they did Saturday was make West Hempstead (5-1) pay for its mistakes. Three fumble recoveries led to three touchdowns, and the Falcons' offense use of a hard count prompted West Hempstead to jump offsides three times in the first half.

A fumble recovery by Tyler Fallon led to Locust Valley's first touchdown, a 30-yard strike from Jacobi to Alex Rawa with 5:05 to go in the first quarter. John Piscitello's fumble recovery in the second quarter led to another Jacobi touchdown, this time with a 29-yard pass to Tom McNamara with 7:49 left that gave Locust Valley a 19-0 lead.

With West Hempstead on the 19 yardline and driving in the final minutes of the first half, Rawa intercepted a pass to keep the Rams scoreless.

"I was expecting a much closer game," Jacobi said.

Chris Appell scored on a two-yard run with 3:19 to go in the third quarter to give Locust Valley a 25-0 lead. That drive started with a fumble recovery.

West Hempstead finally broke through on Michael Petrizzo's seven-yard touchdown run with 11:51 to go in the fourth quarter. The Ram's other bright spot had been Justin Boatwright, who had 14 carries for 114 yards, including gains of 21 and 39 yards.

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But Locust Valley continued to drop the hammer as West Hempstead attempted to come back. Each of the Rams' two drives following their touchdown ended with a Locust Valley interception, with Bobby Heney and Fallon making the grabs.

And to think, this isn't even their best yet.


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