Charlie McKee run for 5 touchdowns and threw for another...

Charlie McKee run for 5 touchdowns and threw for another as Oceanside beat Syosset, 61-33. Friday night.   Credit: James Escher

Charlie McKee’s fierce determination took many forms on Friday night.

It was there when he followed blocks by Miles McGann and Logan Lyson on a 2-yard touchdown plunge early. One could see it again in the second quarter when he was stopped cold at the line and bounced outside to go 22 yards for another score. And once more when he broke away and high-stepped away from diving would-be tacklers on a 41-yard run to the end zone.

Oceanside’s senior quarterback arrived at this season with a lot on his plate. There were county passing records to rewrite and a defense to mount of the Newsday Thorp Award as Nassau’s top player that he earned as a junior. But he has been single-minded for 10 weeks now about accomplishing the coveted prize that has eluded him in two previous trips to the county title game: a championship.

He showed that resolve again as he rushed for 193 yards and five touchdowns and also went 15-for-25 passing for 182 yards and another score as the Sailors amassed 564 total yards of offense against Syosset in a 61-33 Nassau Conference I semifinal victory at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

Senior receiver Ronnie Kraemer caught a 32-yard TD pass from McKee and threw a 32-yard TD on an option pass to Lyson and junior running back Cole Parker emerged as a slippery secret weapon by rushing for 145 yards and scoring touchdowns on runs of 59 and 32 yards.

"I’ve been here for so long and made it to the championship game twice without the ring," McKee said. "I’ve always thought ‘well, I have that next year.’ . . . But this is it: my last year. Me and my guys, we’re going to figure it out, come out next week on fire and finish right."

Second-seeded Oceanside (9-1) and top-seeded Massapequa (9-1) have been on a collision course all season and the impact comes in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. title game at Hofstra. The Sailors have been in four of the past six county championship games and will be going for their third crown and first since 2017. During the last academic year, Oceanside lost the final to ’Pequa in the coronavirus-displaced spring season.

"Charlie keeps doing more and more each week to lead this team and you saw it again today," Sailors coach Rob Blount said. "We’ve saved him and kept him healthy and now we’re turning his 205 pounds loose to run the ball. I think of him as a running back who also happens to be the best passer in the county."

"It’s the playoffs and you have to be able to run the ball," McKee said.

McKee is a record-setting and decorated passer but was much more against No. 3 Syosset (7-3). He logged the first four scores of the game on runs to build a 27-0 lead before taking a 27-7 lead to halftime. His fifth touchdown run, in the third quarter, made it 34-14.

In addition to Lyson and McGann, the offensive line of Anthony Corvino, Ray Diaz, Andre Cagno, Joe Broderick and Justin Alvarez paved the way for Oceanside to roll up 350 rushing yards.

Kraemer and Parker played the role of closers, keeping Syosset from turning it into a game once its potent passing game started to click.

Matthew Ranges was 24-for-39 for 312 yards and four touchdowns, Robert Trapeo caught six passes for 86 yards and three scores and Luca Cutolo had seven receptions for 113 yards for Syosset.

So now Nassau I comes down to a rematch that everyone has wanted to see since Oceanside was the preseason No. 1 seed and Massapequa was No. 2.

"We knew they’d be there at the end," McKee said.

"Massapequa and us one more time?" Blount said. "Let’s get it on."


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