Plainedge quarterback Caden Morra finds some running room during a...

Plainedge quarterback Caden Morra finds some running room during a Nassau Conference III football game against host Wantagh on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Plainedge quarterback Caden Morra thinks about his mom every day. The three-sport athlete is driven by his memories of her toughness in her fight against pancreatic cancer.

Mary Jane Morra died at 48 years old on Feb. 21.

A purple bow in her memory adorns the heels of Caden Morra’s football cleats. He will never forget how she never gave up.

On Saturday, Morra threw for two first-quarter touchdowns and Plainedge cruised to a 35-7 road win over previously undefeated Wantagh in a Nassau Conference III football game.

The senior completed five of six passes for 111 yards and rushed six times for 53 yards as Plainedge, the two-time defending Long Island Class III champion, rolled to its 19th consecutive win. Plainedge (7-0) locked up the top seed for the postseason. Wantagh is 6-1.

“She’s with me every time I step on the field,” Morra said. “I got through her passing with the support of all my friends and family. It’s been hard but I’m playing for her.”

Morra didn’t even play football as a junior. He focused on his lacrosse future and signed to play with the Red Dragons at SUNY Cortland.

“I watched from the stands as we won another Long Island football championship last year and I missed it,” Morra said. “I decided to be a part of it again and it’s been great.”

Morra found Braden Donnellan for a 37-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Donnellan caught the pass at the Wantagh 20 and broke a tackle on his way to the end zone. James Corke added the extra-point kick for the 7-0 lead with 6:34 left in the first quarter. The Red Devils drove 50 yards in six plays.

Shane Mosia recovered the ensuing onside kick and Plainedge took over at the Wantagh 47.

Four plays later, Morra scanned the field and found Mosia all alone behind the defense for a 39-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead. Morra patiently sat in the pocket and checked down from his primary receivers to find Mosia for the score. The offensive line gave him ample time to view the field.

“The offensive line is giving me time to look at different options,” Morra said. “It’s comfortable back there because they’re playing great football.”

Guards Vin Trovato and Marcelo Licata, tackles Vin Cito and Tom Chadwick and center Vin Petzold were solid in pass protection but also paved the way for the Red Devils to grind out 233 yards rushing.

“The onside kick was a good call and it helped them open a two-score lead,” Wantagh coach Keith Sachs said. “We just didn’t play well today. Our job is to see them again.”

Plainedge extended the lead after defensive back Robert Marx returned an interception 15 yards to the Wantagh 18. Four plays later, Mosia scored on a 2-yard run for the 21-0 halftime lead.

Mosia capped a six-play, 60-yard drive to open the third quarter with a 14-yard scoring run. Corke nailed the point-after kick to make it 28-0.

Wantagh avoided being shut out when Tim Hennig took the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and Niko Zervos added the kick to make it 28-7 with 3:46 left in the third quarter.

Plainedge halfback Joe Cassese added a 5-yard fourth-quarter scoring run for the final margin. He had 62 yards on 13 carries and Mosia added 16 carries for 88 yards.

“We have balance in the offense and Caden is a natural leader,” Plainedge coach Rob Shaver said. “We’re happy to have him back.”

Morra was the last to leave the Wantagh field, taking a moment to reflect on another win.

“Mom would have been proud and loved this team,” he said.

More High Schools