Matthew Eberhart of the Baldwin Bruins rushes the ball for...

Matthew Eberhart of the Baldwin Bruins rushes the ball for a third-quarter touchdown against the Massapequa Chiefs during a Nassau I semifinal at Hofstra on Nov. 13, 2014. Credit: Mike Stobe

So much for the preseason seeds in Nassau I, where the only thing you could expect this season was the unexpected.

Baldwin, the preseason No. 8 seed, continued its magical ride with a 35-0 victory over No. 7 Massapequa Thursday night in a Nassau I semifinal at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium as Matt Eberhart rushed for 171 yards and four touchdowns.

The Bruins, the No. 1 seed entering the playoffs, improved to 10-0 and will face Syosset, a No. 6 seed that continued its own unlikely journey by defeating East Meadow in the first semifinal, 36-30.

Syosset knocked off No. 3 MacArthur last week. Massapequa did its part in providing some surprises by defeating No. 2 Farmingdale last week. The Chiefs finished 5-5.

The Bruins used a relentless ground attack that produced 340 yards. Eberhart scored three touchdowns in the second half when Baldwin broke it open.

On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Eberhart broke outside for 39 yards. Three plays later, he bolted 15 yards with a pitchout around left end for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

After a failed fake punt by Massapequa set up the Bruins at the Chiefs' 47, Eberhart again excelled, running for 12 yards and a first down. Two plays later, he cut back on a pitchout for a 26-yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead.

Chris Debique, who carried nine times for 115 yards, got into the act on Baldwin's next drive. His 26-yard dash launched a 72-yard march that ended with Eberhart's 5-yard scoot around right end. Eberhart and Debique limped off the field with injuries in the fourth quarter and did not return once the Bruins had built a 35-0 lead.

Baldwin led 14-0 at the half. Eberhart scored from 28 yards midway through the second quarter, and Thomas York threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jared Warner with 52 seconds remaining. The Bruins elected not to run out the first-half clock and clicked on a rare long pass. It was a surprise in a season full of them.


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