Rain relentlessly pounded the field throughout most of the second half of Friday night’s Suffolk I football semifinal at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium, but the Ward Melville football team didn’t seem to mind. Already comfortably ahead, the Patriots had no problem pounding the ground with their feet and punching their ticket to next week’s final.
Second-seeded Ward Melville took care of No. 3 Longwood in efficient fashion, 28-7. The Patriots (8-1) will face the winner of Saturday’s Floyd-Sachem East game for the Suffolk I title and a berth in the Long Island Championships.
Ward Melville’s Nick Troy rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries and refused to let the soaking-wet turf end his season.
“Running in these kind of conditions, it’s a different kind of game,” Troy said. “You can’t look to break everything. You have to be patient, take good care of the ball and follow your blocks . . . Our offensive line had a heck of a game. They were opening holes so wide. They just played outstanding.”
Ward Melville took a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
After punting on their first drive, the Patriots recovered a fumble on Longwood’s fourth offensive play of the game. Ward Melville then reeled off eight plays that set the tone. Troy’s 33-yard run on second-and-14 set up a 29-yard touchdown strike from Trey Berry to JJ Laap that gave the Patriots a 6-0 lead with 6:05 left in the quarter.
After Ward Melville forced the Lions to punt, the Patriots put together a five-play drive capped by Troy’s 21-yard touchdown run with 1:53 left.
Kyle Rausch’s 5-yard touchdown run and the extra point moved Longwood (6-4) within 14-7 with 9:25 left before halftime.
The Lions drove deep into the red zone late in the first half, but the Patriots’ Dan Cassera intercepted a pass in the end zone with 2:50 remaining in the half.
Troy’s 52-yard run with 2:10 left in the half gave Ward Melville a 20-7 lead. His third touchdown, a 5-yard run with 11:05 left in the fourth quarter, put the icing on an already wet cake.
“I saw a big hole between our left guard and left tackle,” he said. “They drove their men back, pancaked them and sealed their fate.”