Plainedge’s scorched-earth march toward a championship continues.
The Red Devils this season have decimated all who have come between them and their goal of successfully defending the Nassau Conference III crown. On Friday night, it was upstart North Shore’s turn, and Plainedge brought a swift end to the Vikings’ dream season, scoring the game’s first 33 points and rolling to a 60-21 semifinal victory at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
North Shore, which made a sparkling run from a preseason No. 11 seeding to reach the semifinals, scored two touchdowns before the half, but the Red Devils simply proved to be too much.
“Everyone is loud in warm-ups, but we know what we’re going to do,” said Plainedge quarterback Dan Villari, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more.
Plainedge (10-0) will face South Side (9-1) in next Friday’s 7 p.m. county title game. The Red Devils will be playing for their fifth Nassau title in 11 championship games. Plainedge won the teams’ regular-season meeting, 61-13.
“I know South Side is looking forward to a rematch, but we are, too,” said Luke Lombardi, who ran for a 2-yard touchdown and returned one of his two interceptions 40 yards for a score. “We love the energy they bring. They think it’s going to be a game, but it will be over soon.”
Villari rushed for 171 yards and had touchdown runs of 64, 42 and 53 yards. He also was 9-for-11 passing for 136 yards. Dion Kuinlan ran for 72 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown, and had an interception. Joe Cassese had an 81-yard touchdown run and Doug Elsesser and Donovan Pepe had touchdown catches for Plainedge.
James DeSimone was 7-for-17 passing for 136 yards and two touchdowns — 65 yards to Jack Ledden and 15 yards to Aiden Mandell — to lead North Shore (8-2). He was intercepted three times. Forrest Demirti added a 37-yard touchdown run for the Vikings.
Plainedge scored touchdowns on its first five possessions to build the 33-0 lead. North Shore scored twice in the last five minutes of the half to make it 33-14, but Villari took Plainedge’s first snap of the second half 42 yards for a touchdown. Fifteen seconds later, Lombardi was back in the end zone with his interception return.
“I love that when they need to turn it on, they just can,” Plainedge coach Rob Shaver said. “We had a lull at the end of the half and they really responded out of halftime.”