Matt Devlin's 2-yard touchdown catch gives West Babylon upset win
When Matt Devlin dropped a sure winning touchdown pass at the 2-yard line with 1.4 seconds left, the West Babylon senior never dropped his head.
Moments later, on precisely the same pass pattern, quarterback Clifton Melhado then drilled the ball to Devlin in the end zone for a 16-yard scoring strike as time expired Saturday to give the visiting Eagles a shocking 20-19 victory over host West Islip in a game that, literally, was one for the history books.
West Babylon (5-4) became the first No. 8 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed since Suffolk County went to an 8-teams-per-league playoff format in 2008. It has never happened in Nassau, which has used that format since 2004.
"There was pandemonium. It was the most thrilling game I've ever been a part of," exclaimed West Babylon coach Al Ritacco.
In knocking off the Lions (8-1), West Babylon had to drive 70 yards with 2:31 remaining. Leaije Sidberry made two of his six receptions, for gains of 11 and 18 yards, and Chris Lubin (108 yards on 15 carries) contributed several important runs.
But it appeared that was all for naught when Devlin couldn't hang onto Melhado's initial red-zone throw on a seam route. "I'm thinking," Ritacco related, 'There it is, we've got it,' and then you see the ball on the field and we've got to do it again."
West Babylon called a timeout and Ritacco decided the same play would work again. "One of our coaches told Matty in the huddle, 'We're coming right back to you again and you're going to win the game for us,' " Ritacco said.
Melhado came up huge as well, completing 20 of 31 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns while adding 52 yards rushing and another score.
"Clifton was worth his salt today," Ritacco said. "It was an unbelievable turn of events. It was an Eagle day!"