Kickers live for that moment when they can lift their team to a last second victory. Saturday was a day to remember for kicker Matt Smith. The Bay Shore senior drilled a 28-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining as the host Marauders edged Half Hollow Hills West, 30-28, in a Suffolk II football game.
For Bay Shore, it was a wonderful end to a brilliant homecoming day.
"It was an emotional week for our community," Bay Shore coach Jim Giattino said. "We buried a loved one in former Bay Shore great Corey Swinson and this program and community needed a lift."
One might think Smith would be feeling a great deal of pressure with the game on the line. But that was not the case.
"I lined up like I was kicking an extra point and kicked it nice and easy right through," Smith said. "I'm happy I could help out the team. My teammates were all supportive of me leading up to the kick."
It was a game in which Half Hollow Hills West battled back from a 13-point second-half deficit to forge a 28-27 lead on the strength of a Raymond Lyte 23-yard touchdown run with 1:12 left.
"We talked to the team all week about fighting back and not giving up because we felt we gave up against West Islip," Giattino said. "They rallied behind each other for that final minute."
Backup quarterback Steven Button, playing in place of injured starter Ryan Mazzie, connected on a gutsy hook-and-ladder play for 37 yards. Button hit wide receiver Cordell Nix on a short hitch route. Nix lateraled the ball to wide receiver Simeon Eato, who raced down the visitors' sideline for the big gain to the Colts' 24.
After two short runs and a neutral-zone penalty, the ball was placed at the Colts' 11 to set up Smith's winner.
"We knew he would make the kick," Giattino said. "The kids tease him. He's the captain of the soccer team and only shows for practice a couple of minutes every day. They call him Matty Ice."
Bay Shore (2-1) also had a standout performance from wide receiver Jaquan Moore, who had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 62-yard touchdown run, where he broke numerous tackles, in the third quarter. Moore's interception and 64-yard return on the final play of the game sealed the win.
"He had a game for the ages," Giattino said. "His punt return tied the score at 14 at the half. He scored with no time left on the clock -- it was amazing."
Half Hollow Hills West dropped to 1-2. Colts quarterback Anthony Lucarelli threw for three touchdowns, including two to Joshua Connor, the second score getting the Colts within 27-21 early in the fourth quarter.
"They played us tough," Giattino said. "And it came down to our kicker."
With Vinny Messana