Port Washington is back and, with senior quarterback Elliot Avidane in the starring role, it’s looking to make a statement.
The Vikings are again competing in Nassau Conference I after spending the past few seasons playing as an independent in the Hudson River Valley League. So far the re-entry has been silky smooth. Avidane broke through for a 36-yard touchdown run with 1:19 to play and defeated host Plainview -Old Bethpage JFK, 13-10, to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Overall, it's Port Washington’s 12th straight win.
“If we’d had this team in this league last year I feel we’d have made [the playoffs],” said Avidane, who raced for the go-ahead score behind blocks from Christian DeMao and Michael Cichon. “People on the Island maybe forgot about us because we were getting killed in Conference I a few years ago. This team isn’t one of those.”
Kevin Cloghessy, Port Washington’s second-year coach, said people can use the return to playing on Long Island as they will. “The one thing that we’ve tried to instill in these players is that it doesn’t matter what team is on the schedule — there’s a game to win.”
“For us, coming back to the conference is a very big deal,” senior Steven Betsch said. “People think of us as the school that always didn’t win. We’re back and we expect to make noise.”
It certainly seems possible with Avidane clicking like he did Saturday. He rushed 20 times for 94 yards and the go-ahead score and was 8-for-16 passing for 77 yards and a 31-yard touchdown to Donovan McCurty in the first quarter. On the play before Avidane ran for the score, the Vikings had a fourth and four yards to go on the Hawks’ 40. He threw to the left side and found Betsch who dove just past the first-down marker.
“It was the minute when they did not quit,” Cloghessy said. At that moment they might have been tired, but they believed in one another enough to finish the drive. They are resilient.”
The Hawks put them in a position where the Vikings had to be. Plainview-OB evened the score with a 90-yard drive that ended with quarterback Joey Pastier hitting Andrew Albertelli with a 14-yard TD pass. Before halftime the Hawks took advantage of a fumble deep in Viking territory and Albertelli kicked a 29-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead.
Pastier was 13-for-24 passing for 132 yards and Joe Pizzuto ran for 54 yards on nine carries for Plainview-OB.
Port Washington is a thin team and is forced to use many players on offense and defense. They looked tired at times against the Hawks, when they committed turnovers in the second quarter and when they allowed Avidane to get sacked on three straight snaps at the end of the third quarter. But the Vikings reached down when it counted late in the game.
“We expect to win every game because we have no reason not to,” senior Brian Cohen said. “We may not be the deepest team but we’re in great shape. You saw it today.”