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Kozlakowski spearheads Lynbrook's defensive gem

Lynbrook High School #9 Mike Kozlakowski, left, closes

Lynbrook High School #9 Mike Kozlakowski, left, closes in on Lawrence running back #8 Ryan Fredericks in the fourth quarter. (Nov. 19, 2010) Credit: James Escher

Mike Kozlakowski remembered what it was like to be on the other side - to hang his head and trudge off the field while someone else gets to play another day. It wasn't something he wanted to relive and Friday, the defensive end outright refused to let it happen.

Kozlakowski had six tackles, three of Lynbrook's five sacks, two pass breakups and four tackles for a loss of 31 yards as Lynbrook won, 39-14, Friday night, limiting Lawrence to its second-lowest point total all year and advanced to the L.I. championship only one season removed from the Owls' 41-7 Conference III final loss at Lawrence's hands.

"I was here last year," said Kozlakowski, who also had seven carries for 79 yards. "This was our time to finish this off. The atmosphere drove me to it . . . We had a different mind-set. We came out with swagger."

Swagger by way of preparation. After losing to Lawrence, 23-22, in late October, Lynbrook knew it had to rejigger its game plan. "We scouted all week," Kozlakowski said. "They did a great job. [It gave us] this drive. The drive from my team, everyone drove me on every single play."

He wasn't the only one to get in on the fun. Brandon Cheney and Connor Daly made sacks, and linebacker Luke Spitzer had two tackles, two fumble recoveries, a pass breakup and two interceptions. After Travis Lock's 15-yard TD run gave Lynbrook a 26-14 lead, Spitzer picked off a pass by Samson Bialostock for an 11-yard return to the 21.

"We just wanted it more," Spitzer said. "There was a lot of scouting. They moved me off of safety and to linebacker."

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