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Jason Seiter airs it out to lead Bethpage in critical conference win

Jason Seiter, Bethpage quarterback, right, scrambles for a

Jason Seiter, Bethpage quarterback, right, scrambles for a gain as Dion Kuinlan of Plainedge looks to grab his foot for a tackle during a Nassau Conference III football game. Oct. 21, 2017. Credit: James Escher

As the offensive and defensive quarterback for Bethpage, Jason Seiter knows all about the high-risk, high-reward nature of putting the ball in the air.

He doesn’t get to do much throwing out of the Golden Eagles’ old-school wishbone and as a safety he dropped his best chance at an interception earlier this season. So Seiter was delighted to make the most of his air balls Saturday.

He threw two touchdown passes, both to Frank Ragusa, and made an interception that set up the game-winning score in the Bethpage’s 28-21 victory over rival Plainedge before a homecoming crowd of more than 3,000 in a key Nassau III football game. Both teams enter the final week of the regular season 5-2.

“I had dropped one earlier against Hewlett [in Week 3]” Seiter said. “This time I saw the ball in the air and just grabbed it.”

Seiter turned it into a 27-yard pick-6 but the touchdown was nullified by a penalty. However, Bethpage took possession at Plainedge’s 14-yard line and six plays later Jack Raia plunged in from the 1 for the final touchdown of the game.

“It was my first interception of the season,” Seiter said, then paused and added with a laugh, “It was our team’s first interception, too. What a perfect time for it.”

The Golden Eagles doubled their season’s total moments later when linebacker Ryan O’Neill, a force all afternoon in shutting out the Red Devils in the second half, made another key interception. “We saw a screen coming and the pass was deflected into the air and I grabbed it,” said O’Neill, who is 6-3, 232. “Not too many guys my size get a chance to do something like that.”

Not too many Bethpage quarterbacks recently have attempted 10 passes in a game, but Seiter did on Saturday, completing five for 92 yards, including TD passes of 27 yards and 17 yards to Ragusa. The second one, on which Ragusa made a diving catch, tied the game at 21 on the last play of the third quarter. “We ran the same play last year and it didn’t work,” Ragusa said. “This time I saw the ball, dove and I got it.”

Ragusa also caught a 6-yard pass from Seiter on fourth-and-3 that allowed Bethpage to run out the clock. “It was a great call. A first down wins the game,” Seiter said. “I’m glad they are letting us air it out a little more than usual.”

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