TODAY'S PAPER
Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
SportsHigh SchoolFootball

Field goal with no time left by freshman Alex Chillemi gives Massapequa Long Island Class I title

Massapequa's Alex Chillemi (32) kicks the winning field

Massapequa's Alex Chillemi (32) kicks the winning field goal with no time on the clock at the Long Island Class I championship football game against Whitman at Hofstra on Friday, November 26, 2021. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Massapequa freshman Alex Chillemi hadn’t kicked a field goal all season.

Not that he had missed that many. He had attempted only one, against Farmingdale.

And here he was, standing at the Whitman 10-yard line with two seconds remaining in the Long Island Class I championship game at Hofstra University on Friday. How that for pressure?

As the deafening roar of the crowd of more than 5,000 rose in anticipation, Chillemi lined up to kick — and was iced by a Whitman timeout.

The goalposts shook in the 30-mph crosswinds as the 14-year-old kicker jogged over to Massapequa coach Kevin Shippos.

"Coach told me to relax," Chillemi said. "And trying to ice me actually gave me some time to feel a little less nervous."

The snap was good. The hold was good. And Chillemi drilled a 20-yard field goal as time expired to send Massapequa past Whitman, 38-35, in a wildly entertaining game.

It was Massapequa’s first Class I title in 27 years. Oddly enough, in 1994, Bill Martin kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired for a 23-21 win over Connetquot.

"You can’t ice 'Chill' because I have ice in my veins," said Chillemi, who was successful on 55 of 57 extra points this season. "I knew what I had to do. It was the perfect snap and hold."

Long snapper Ryan Fountain delivered a spiral to holder Joe Fazio, who placed the ball on the turf for Chillemi’s game-winning boot.

"It was wild all around us with the crowd and I just canceled everything out and concentrated on the snap and placement," Fazio said.

Massapequa (11-1) earned its third Class I title in four trips. It was the first trip to the Long Island Championships for Whitman (11-1) , which came back from 20-7, 27-14 and 35-21 deficits to tie the score at 35 with 4:10 left.

"We’ve been hunting for an LIC for 27 years," Shippos said. "And we pulled our freshman kicker up to varsity on the third day of practice and he’s been great all season. He has that calm and cool demeanor. I had no doubt he’d make the kick."

After Massapequa quarterback Ryan Heidrich threw his fourth touchdown pass, he caught the two-point conversion pass from Ryan Fountain for a 35-21 lead. Whitman quarterback Nick Bottoni (18-for-34, 246 yards) threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Tyriek Mays-McKoy and 78 yards to Brandon Ivy to tie it.

Heidrich, who completed 19 of 26 passes for 249 yards overall, threw three touchdown passes as Massapequa scored on all four of its first-half possessions.

Luke Ciolino's 3-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 62-yard march for a 7-0 lead, but Whitman immediately tied it on an 80-yard touchdown run over left tackle by Allen Evans III with 7:39 left in the first quarter. Evans finished with 301 all-purpose yards.

"We knew they had a high-powered offense," Shippos said. "They’re so explosive. And game tape doesn’t do Evans any justice. He’s an incredible back."

Heidrich fired a 44-yard touchdown pass to Mike D'Alessandro for a 13-7 Massapequa lead.

Heidrich completed six of eight passes, including a 20-yard dart to Luke Ciolino for the touchdown on fourth-and-4, to give Massapequa a 20-7 second-quarter lead. That capped an 11-play, 86-yard march that consumed 7:03.

"We executed the game plan," said Heidrich, who completed 14 of 16 passes for 181 yards in the first half.

Evans brought Whitman within 20-14 with a spectacular 74-yard kickoff return, but Heidrich answered with another methodical scoring drive. He hit Ryan Fountain with a 12-yard touchdown pass to cap a 15-play, 80-yard drive that produced a 27-14 lead.

Bottoni drove the Wildcats to the 18 before the Massapequa secondary batted four passes incomplete in the red zone. Jake Ciolino knocked down a pass intended for Chris Silverio on fourth down at the goal line.

"We stopped two drives in the red zone in the first half, and that was the difference," Jake Ciolino said. "Coach [Mike] Spina had the game plan."

Evans opened the third quarter with a 65-yard TD run to make it 27-21.

And three touchdowns later, the outcome was left to a freshman kicker who was ''Chill."

More high schools