The game had reached an intersection.
Roosevelt faced fourth-and-goal at the 1 on the first drive of the second half. It trailed Lynbrook by eight.
But the Rough Riders had a rough ride from there -- false start, forcing a field-goal try; high snap, forcing the holder to make a run for it, but he only reached the 3. And Lynbrook proceeded to march 97 yards for a crushing touchdown.
“That was definitely a big turning point,” said Michael Fagen, the Owls’ senior quarterback, who capped the drive with a 6-yard run, part of a 192-yard, two-TD rushing day.
Lynbrook really reached a big turning point a while ago. The Owls’ regular-season closing, 15-6 win on Homecoming day at Roosevelt Saturday gave them a running start into the Nassau III playoffs with three straight victories and four in the last five games.
“I took over June 9, so I’ve been trying to install a new O, a new D, new special teams,” Lynbrook coach David Yaker said. “We knew it was going to be a process. We just kept telling the kids, ‘Trust the process.’ … And now we are playing our best football.”
The seventh-seeded Owls (5-3) will play at No. 2 Wantagh in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
“From the start, we’ve gotten so much better since then,” senior receiver/safety Ryan Shapiro said after contributing a first-quarter interception to this win. “We were playing with the top teams in our conference, so that means we can play with anybody.”
The eighth-seeded Rough Riders (3-5) will play Friday night at No. 1 Plainedge, which beat the Rough Riders, 34-0, in Week 3.
It was just 8-0 at halftime in Week 8. Fagen ran the ball in from the 3 early in the second quarter. He ran in the two-point try, too.
Then came that turning point. Fagen ran seven times on a 12-play drive to a 15-0 lead. He passed credit to his line for his running success this season -- Jake Lunati, Thomas Byrne, Michael O’Hagan, Ralph Caputo and John Difiore, plus Tyler Denker and Ramon Calderon in heavy formations.
“Without them, I’d be nothing,” Fagen said.
Bakail Talmadge, who ran for 104 yards and threw for 67, found BJ Norman for a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth for Roosevelt’s points.
“I would say youth has shown itself too often this year,” coach Joe Vito said. “Hopefully, in the future, we can rectify that.”