Neither the score, magnitude of the game nor down and distance could shake North Shore quarterback Ryan Aughavin.
He orchestrated drives of 52 and 65 yards in the Vikings’ final two possessions, converting touchdowns on fourth-and-13 and fourth-and-7, in host No. 4 North Shore’s back-and-forth 38-34 win over No. 5 Malverne in a Nassau IV quarterfinal football game yesterday.
“The only word I could [use to] describe Ryan is magical,” coach Dan Agovino said. “He’s a magical kid. He makes something out of nothing and his poise is just like ‘Coach, I got this. I’m getting this done.’ ”
Aughavin, who had 136 passing yards on 10 of 25 passing and rushed for 133 yards on 16 carries, found his favorite target, John Magliocco, for an 11-yard TD and the winning score with 1:17 left. Aughavin also had an interception on defense on a desperation pass on the final play.
“It was slow motion,” said Magliocco, who also had a 49-yard touchdown in the second quarter and 11 carries for 69 yards. “My heart was stopped for a little bit but once I made that catch, I looked to the stands and the emotions got to me. I teared up.”
Every time North Shore looked like it was going to pull away, Malverne quarterback Dante Lacroix found Maurice Teachey Jr. for a big play. The duo connected for touchdowns of 61 and 64 yards in the fourth quarter — both times giving the Mules the lead — and a 27-yard score in the second quarter.
After Teachey’s 61-yard touchdown gave Malverne a 28-21 lead on the opening play of the fourth quarter, North Shore drove down the field until O’Neil Smith intercepted Aughavin at Malverne’s 16-yard line. On the ensuing drive, the Mules lined up to go for a fourth-and-2 at their own 24-yard line but after a false start penalty, they decided to punt.
The Malverne punter couldn’t field the snap cleanly, which resulted in a safety to make the score 28-23. North Shore took a 31-28 lead on the following possession when Aughavin passed to James Ledden for a TD on fourth-and-13 and after Brian Tilton’s (122 rushing yards) two-point conversion run.
Teachey’s 64-yard TD gave Malverne a 34-31 lead before North Shore’s final drive. And when it came to finishing that drive, Agovino left it up to the players, huddling them up on fourth-and-7 at the 11-yard line in range of a game-tying field goal.
“When coach wanted to go for the field goal to tie it we said, ‘We’re going for the win,’ ” Aughavin said. “And the offensive line played great; we got good blocks on the outside and scored a touchdown.”
North Shore (6-3) plays No. 2 Carle Place/Wheatley (6-1) Saturday at Hofstra in its first semifinal appearance since 2010.
“It’s just crazy to get there but we want to do something when we’re there,” Aughavin said. “We want to win a couple games and prove something.”