The Vikings came to conquer on Saturday afternoon.
North Shore senior running back Will Scarola said the team was tasked with simple instructions before taking on Mineola: Get out quick, run hard and play up-tempo. So, that’s exactly what they did, cruising to a 33-6 victory in Nassau Conference III.
“We want to take it one play at a time, but we were going full steam ahead,” said Scarola, one of five North Shore players to score a touchdown. “We were confident from the first drive.”
North Shore (5-1) didn’t waste time putting the pregame plan into action. After holding Mineola to three yards on the Mustangs’ first three plays, senior defensive end Andrew Franco broke into the backfield and blocked the punt.
Mineola recovered the ball, but Franco’s rush set the Vikings up at the 7-yard line and, two plays later, with 9:30 left in the first quarter, Forrest Demetri got North Shore on the board with a 5-yard touchdown run.
“I think we had a pretty good idea of what [Mineola was] going to do offensively,” Franco said. “Whenever you’re able to play comfortably, you’re able to play strong and really get after it.”
North Shore continued to bring defensive pressure throughout the half, buoyed by a 13-point lead after James DeSimone’s 6-yard run with 5:01 remaining in the first quarter. But Franco, who said he wished “he could have scooped [the ball] and scored” on his blocked punt, was itching for another chance at the end zone.
He didn’t have to wait long.
Franco returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown with 3:12 in the second quarter, giving North Shore a 19-point cushion heading into the break.
“Jacob Gatcke, the middle linebacker, came on the blitz and got a really good hit,” said Franco, who also recorded a sack. “I made sure I was right next to the running back and I picked it off.”
Jack Ledden padded the lead, evading a handful of defenders for a 65-yard touchdown sprint on the opening play of the third quarter. Scarola’s 34-yard touchdown run with 10:09 left wrapped up the scoring.
Ledden finished with 122 yards rushing on seven carries, and Scarola added 100 yards rushing on seven carries.
“That’s been the thing all year,” coach Dan Agovino said. “We alternate our running backs and spread the wealth. It just shows what a balanced team we are.”
Aidan McMahon scored on a 24-yard touchdown run for Mineola (3-3) late in the game.
Now, the Vikings are looking to keep running toward their next goal, a strong finish to the regular season.
“We’re going to try and win the next two games,” Scarola said. “Then see what happens from there.”