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Michael Proios proves elusive for Mepham

Mepham quarterback Michael Proios scrambles  during a  Nassau 

Mepham quarterback Michael Proios scrambles  during a  Nassau  II  football semifinal  against Carey at Hofstra  on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Credit: James Escher

Michael Proios was twisting in the wind. But that was a good thing.

The slippery, skilled Mepham quarterback ran for a touchdown, threw two scoring passes and was elusive in and out of the pocket in leading the No. 2 Pirates to a 33-13 victory over No. 5 Carey on Friday night in a Nassau II semifinal at Hofstra.

Mepham (8-2) will face No. 1 Garden City on Friday at Hofstra in the Nassau II championship game. Carey finished 5-5.

Proios, who had 109 yards on 13 carries, faked a toss and sliced through a big hole on the right side to go 66 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage. The Seahawks answered when Dominic Rutigliano hit Nick Giacalone on a quick slant over the middle, which became a 54-yard TD pass when Giacalone made a juggling catch between two defenders and broke free.

Proios, who went 11-for-19 for 138 yards, was at it again in the final 1:28 of the half. He made a slick look-left, pivot-and-pass-right move, connecting with Jack Gibbons for a 31-yard gain. Proios then rolled left and hit Anthony Paolino for a 9-yard TD with 57 seconds left. A missed PAT left the Pirates with a 13-7 halftime lead.

Mepham’s defense, led by James Hatcliffe (6 1⁄2 tackles), Matt Hegi (6 1⁄2) and Kevin McCleneghan (six), controlled things from then on. At one point late in the third quarter, Mepham outgained Carey 312-81 from the line of scrimmage. Proios rolled right and hit Anthony Novello for a 12-yard TD pass that produced a 19-6 lead.

Later in the third, the Pirates drove 52 yards to paydirt, with Proios contributing a 2-yard run for a first down after taking a big hit at the line of scrimmage. Michael Estevez did the bulk of the work from there, busting up the middle 11 yards for a score.

Rutigliano drove Carey 71 yards in 10 plays, with Patrick McGrath scoring from the 1 to make it 25-13 after Rutigliano hit Riley DeMeo for 11 yards to the 1.

The Seahawks then recovered an onside kick, but the Pirates stiffened and put away the game with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that included passes of 20 and 21 from Proios to McCleneghan. Nah’jel Sands ran it in from the 2 and Proios had a two-point conversion pass to Hatcliffe.

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