Sophomore Nick Silva burst over left tackle one final time for a first down, and Floyd had sealed its 10th Suffolk football title in the past 16 years.
A juggernaut of an offensive line and the halfback tandem of Silva and James Taitt was too much for Ward Melville on Friday night as the Colonials captured a 28-21 win and the Suffolk I championship before more than 4,200 fans at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium.
Silva carried 25 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns and Taitt added 25 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown. The Colonials rushed for a total of 324 yards.
Floyd (10-1) will meet Freeport (10-1) for the Long Island Class I championship at Hofstra University at noon on Friday.
“It’s always been about our offensive line all season,” Floyd coach Paul Longo said. “They are that tough, hard-nosed blue- collar group that moves people.”
Floyd scored all four touchdowns on the ground. “We have the strongest bond on the line,” Floyd center Greg Amato said. “We’re a brotherhood. We do everything together.”
Guards Keith Berberich and Bryan Carney, tackles Raquell Davis and Nick Golde and tight ends Michael Bradley and Nicolas Gioia pummeled the Ward Melville front. Senior fullback Teddy Galasso, a converted lineman, led the way for Silva and Taitt all night.
“My brother played on the ’05 and ’06 teams and I wanted that same feeling of winning a championship,” Galasso said. “We had a big opening at fullback after graduation so I worked for the position to contribute.”
Ward Melville made its first appearance in the Suffolk I final since 1987. Quarterback Wesley Manning completed 14 of 30 passes for 197 yards and two scores.
“We were beat tonight, but we left it all on the field,” Ward Melville two-way star Eddie Munoz said. “We represented our school well and it’s tough losing a close one.”
Floyd put the game away with a signature drive in the fourth quarter. The Colonials marched 88 yards in 13 plays, capped by Silva’s 2-yard touchdown run for a 28-14 lead with 6:54 left.
“This was everything we thought it would be,” Longo said. “Ward Melville has some incredible athletes. I’m proud of our guys.”
After a scoreless first quarter highlighted by stout defense and two turnovers, the teams traded touchdowns, scoring on four straight second-quarter possessions.
Floyd opened the scoring after defensive back Mack Driver recovered a fumble at the Ward Melville 31. Silva carried four times for 25 yards, including a 2-yard scoring run.
Ward Melville (6-5) responded as Manning fired 13-yard passes to John Corpac and Munoz before finding Dominic Pryor with a 35-yard touchdown toss.
Taitt’s 10-yard touchdown run gave Floyd a 14-7 lead, but the Patriots used a gadget play to tie the score at 14 before the half. Manning fired a 7-yard pass to Pryor, who lateraled to Corpac, who streaked down the sideline for another 37 yards and the TD.