Newfield coach Joe Piccinnini stressed running the ball when speaking to his team in the days leading up to yesterday's Suffolk II quarterfinal game against West Islip.
Sprinkling in a pass play every so often was also part of his master plan if the West Islip defense was overcommitting.
That strategy worked for fifth-seeded Newfield (6-3) as senior quarterback Dylan Harned scored two second-half rushing touchdowns for an 18-14 comeback win over No. 4 West Islip (5-4).
Newfield plays at No. 1 Riverhead, a 44-21 winner over Half Hollow Hills West, in a Suffolk II semifinal on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Harned's second touchdown, a 3-yard run with 2:57 left in the fourth that provided the final margin of victory, was set up by two of his passes -- a 25-yard screen to Joe Feliciano and an 18-yard completion to fullback Chris Fajardo.
"We were just running and running hard, so they were stacking the box," Harned said. "When you run it that many times in a row, you seem to forget about the pass."
Before the completion to Feliciano, which came with Newfield facing a third-and-7 from its own 20, Harned was 0-for-5 passing. But that didn't deter Newfield offensive coordinator Nick Adler from dialing up a pass play with the game on the line.
"We wanted ball control," Piccinnini said. "Sometimes, in order to do that you have to mix things up."
Harned had 163 yards rushing and Josh Hanna had 89 yards on the ground and a score.
On defense, Newfield clamped down after a 75-yard scoring run by Max McNicholas gave West Islip a 14-6 lead with 8:21 left in the third.
One of Newfield's big defensive plays came late in the fourth when defensive end Nick Favaloro and outside linebacker Anthony Cami sacked A.J. Illchert for a 5-yard loss.
Other defensive stars for Newfield were Fajardo and Nnamdi Enrike, who had eight tackles each, and Joe Saladino with six tackles and a sack.
"The kids stepped up and did a lot of things we knew they could do," Piccinnini said. "Now they believe in themselves because finally put everything together."
Newfield took a 6-0 lead with 9:03 left in the second quarter on a 3-yard scoring run by Hanna. Newfield got the ball right back when Cami recovered an onside kick, giving his team the ball first-and-10 on its own 49.
Although Newfield couldn't capitalize on its good fortune, those two long possessions lasted7 22 straight plays, taking 9 minutes, 42 seconds off the clock over the first and second quarters.
But the extended time off the field gave the West Islip offense time to regroup.
And the Lions responded as Matt McKeon capped a four-play, 59-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give West Islip a 7-6 advantage with 1:50 left in the half.