Amityville knew it was about to play a high-stakes game. And not just because it was homecoming. With a win, the Warriors would solidify a spot in the Suffolk football playoffs. With a loss, their season would be over.
“I had a lot of deep emotions coming into the game knowing it could potentially be my last football game at Amityville,” senior quarterback Jala Coad said. “I was coming out here with my brothers for potentially the last time, and I knew we had to bring it.”
And bring it was exactly what Coad and Amityville did.
Coad rushed for 122 yards on 15 carries with three first-half touchdowns to lead Amityville past Wyandanch, 33-6, Saturday in Suffolk IV. The win clinched the first playoff berth for Amityville since 2012, according to coach Billy Kretz.
Coad scored his first TD from 1 yard out with 8:01 remaining in the first quarter, one play after Wyandanch snapped the ball over its punter’s head on fourth down. His second score came just four minutes later on a 14-yard run for a 14-0 lead. With 3:11 remaining before halftime, Coad scored for the third time on a 2-yard run to give the Warriors a 20-0 lead at the break.
“Jala has started every game for us since the third game of his freshman year,” said Kretz, who became coach in 2014. “I am very lucky to have him. We share a very special bond.”
Running back Ian Christie added 80 yards and a score on 10 carries and Deonte Palmer scored Amityville’s final TD on a 35-yard punt return.
The Warriors’ defense was a force all game long, led by seniors Jahmere Jones and Deonte Wilson. Jones had 15 tackles (seven solo), and Wilson added nine tackles and a sack.
“It took me until my senior year just to make it to the playoffs, and I feel accomplished,” Wilson said.
Amityville (3-5) will be the number No. 8 seed and will travel to No. 1 Babylon (8-0) for a first-round Suffolk playoff matchup next week.
“It means a lot for us as a program, we have been fighting every single day,” Coad said. “We aren’t done though, and we just have to keep pushing, stay humble and stay focused.”