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LIC champion Plainedge in victory formation the entire season

Tom Everding of Plainedge tackles East Islip quarterback

Tom Everding of Plainedge tackles East Islip quarterback Derek Burrell behind the line of scrimmage during the Long Island Class III championship football game at Hofstra University on Friday, November 26, 2021. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Travis Shaver had just finished his wondrous run for 27 yards on fourth-and-25. And so it was time to drain the last seconds off an incredible Long Island Class III championship game-ending, 17-play, 9:04 drive with two last snaps on the Hofstra turf.

But there was something strange about the victory formation. Plainedge had such a good team this season that the ending of the 26-16 win over East Islip was unique. Those kind of snaps had previously been left to the reserves.

"The starters hadn’t got to go into victory formation at all this year because we had a pretty steady year of winning and doing great," said Shaver, the standout senior quarterback/defensive end. "So it just felt really nice to finally end it off like that, with a 12-0 season, undefeated, barely scored upon. It felt great."

It was a September-to-November run to remember.

The Red Devils beat Sayville in 2019 for their first victory in the LIC, then fell in the Nassau Conference III final to Manhasset last spring. Shaver said that loss "was a great motivator." They gained some invaluable experience in that season, too.

"We were a little bit young," said Rob Shaver, the head coach and Travis’ dad. "It’s very similar to our 2019 team that lost in the (2018) Long Island championship. Half Hollow Hills (West) was playing with seniors and we were playing with juniors, and then the next year, we beat Sayville. …

"So I think that one year of experience (last spring) really got us going."

The final scoring totals?

Plainedge 456, Opposition 64.

"I lucked out with the fact that I have three assistant coaches with me right now that all were head coaches in some sport at some point in time," Rob Shaver said of Chris Blumenstetter, Kevin Spellman and Adam Hovorka. "So it’s a huge advantage. …

"And our kids really bought in. It’s really become a program thing. The kids want to be good."

So Thomas Everding, a senior two-way lineman and three-year starter, could see this coming.

"I kind of knew in the summer because we worked out as a team all summer, and the work ethic in the weight room — I knew we were going to have a special group of guys," Everding said.

Travis Shaver led the Red Devils in passing with 1,153 yards and rushing with 784. He ran for 13 touchdowns and threw for seven. Senior Joe Iadevaio ran for 592 yards and eight scores and caught a team-high 39 passes, including eight for TDs. Senior Dylan Pepe rushed for 591 yards and 13 scores. Junior Shane Mosia made 113 tackles from his linebacker spot to top the defense.

It all added up to Nassau and Long Island titles.

"I would say a good more than 50 percent of the team has been playing with each other since we were 4 years old," Everding said. "So this is really special for all of us."

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