When Valley Stream North returned to practice on Monday, coach Tom Schiavo stood in front of his team and looked at one player -- Billy Patsos. Patsos, a three-sport athlete, is the strong, silent leader of the team, someone who teammates look up to during hard times.
"He's something else," Schiavo said. "When we had our first practice on Monday, we looked at Billy and he looked strong under pressure. We knew that he would have a big game."
And that he did. Patsos ran for five touchdowns and had 314 all-purpose yards in yesterday's 61-40 victory over fifth-seeded Locust Valley in a Nassau IV quarterfinal. Valley Stream North will play Seaford on Saturday at Hofstra.
"Billy is quiet and positive," Schiavo said. "He's a leader and he works hard 12 months a year."
Valley Stream North needed that positivity early in the third quarter. After trailing 33-18 at halftime, Locust Valley stormed back. Matt Vezza'd three-yard touchdown with 3:16 left in the third quarter tied the game at 33.
It was no longer an easy afternoon for the Spartans.
"We had to have faith in one another and continue what we were doing earlier in the game," Schiavo said.
And what they were doing earlier in the game, giving it to Patsos, worked.
Patsos scored three times in the second half. An 18-yard touchdown run with 1:10 left in the third quarter, gave Valley Stream North the lead for good. The Spartans increased that lead to 47-33 after Patsos' 62-yard touchdown run with 10:54 left in the fourth
"Beating a team like Locust Valley is no easy feat," Schiavo said. "The fact that we were able to beat them today showed a lot about our team."