Nick La Rosa of North Shore charges toward the end zone...

Nick La Rosa of North Shore charges toward the end zone during a Nassau IV football game against Malverne on Saturday, October 30, 2021 in Glen Head. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Nick La Rosa sounded disgusted Saturday, flashing back to that day in the spring when Wantagh came to North Shore for the Nassau IV championship game and left with first prize.

"That game, they danced on our logo after they won," said La Rosa, a Vikings running back/linebacker. "So we’re going to use that anger, use that energy, and fire back."

They won’t be firing back at Wantagh, which moved up to Nassau III. But La Rosa said the Vikings are "hungrier than ever" after losing in the final. They looked ready to take on whatever awaits them, beating their visitors from Malverne on Saturday, 26-14, to finish the regular season at 6-2.

"Listen, that’s been something we’ve discussed all year — job’s not done," North Shore coach Dan Agovino said. "It was a long drought for North Shore to get there. We’re not happy about [just] getting there."

Malverne coach Kito Lockwood, who got 143 yards passing from Farvens Ulysse and 110 rushing from Norman Brown, embraced the thought of possibly getting a rematch in the quarterfinals after going 4-4. But whatever the matchup, Lockwood said being one of the eight in the field would be "a motivational tool for kids to work harder in the offseason."

Besides, he said, "Anything can happen in the postseason."

The Vikings won this one behind three juniors on Senior Day. La Rosa ran for 60 yards and two scores and recovered a blocked punt and a fumble to set up touchdowns. Quarterback Peter Liotta ran for 73 yards and threw for 58 and a TD. And Nick Livoti ran for 80 yards.

"Our offense did really well," Liotta said. "It started clicking in the first quarter."

La Rosa capped the first drive by bursting through the middle for a 5-yard score. Malverne had to punt on the ensuing possession. Reece Ramos blocked it and La Rosa recovered. On the next play, Liotta hit David Berlin for a 24-yard touchdown.

Malverne’s second possession ended with a fumble. La Rosa returned it 8 yards to the Mules’ 21. Dan Quigley, the senior QB/linebacker who was returning from an injury and played a limited role, ultimately carried it in from the 4. It was 19-0 late in the first quarter.

Brown scored on a 6-yard run for Malverne in the third quarter. But North Shore countered on the next possession, with La Rosa running 20 yards for six points.

"That’s huge," Agovino said of the response. "That’s what coaches ask for."

The Mules didn’t score again until late when Brown raced 39 yards.

"They were the preseason No. 1 seed," Lockwood said. "We knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park."

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