Ray Catapano leads Carey to first Long Island championship
The play call was perfect. So was the execution. The result? That was perfect, too.
So when Andrew Ris took a toss from quarterback Ray Catapano, pulled up and delivered a touchdown pass to Nick Spillane late in the second quarter, Carey was on its way to -- what else? -- a perfect season.
Carey, playing before a huge crowd estimated at 6,000 that filled the bleachers on the west side of Hofstra's Shuart Stadium, defeated Riverhead, 20-6, last night to win the Long Island Class II championship in the Seahawks' first appearance.
"This is just unreal," Ris said.
But Carey's superiority was very real. The Seahawks finished 12-0 and were, dare we say it, a perfect combination of offense and defense all year, and last night as well.
They scored all 20 points in the second quarter, spreading the ball around as they usually do, and used a stifling defense to keep Riverhead (10-2) off the board until the fourth quarter.
Catapano, who finished his senior season with 36 touchdown passes and a mere three interceptions, was, typically, in the middle of the offensive action.
He made a brilliant ankle-breaking cutback on a scramble to elude Blue Waves linebacker Ryan Harkin and dart 7 yards into the end zone for the game's first score with 10:26 left in the second quarter. He scrambled again on the two-point conversion try and was rewarded when Spillane hauled in the pass for an 8-0 lead.
The Seahawks then gained some much-needed breathing room with two scores in the final three minutes of the half.
Catapano (7-for-16, 92 yards, one TD) found Ris in the back of the end zone for a 24-yard connection. Then, after a sack by linebacker Conor Colasurdo (81/2 tackles) forced a punt, the shifty Spillane returned the kick 38 yards to the Riverhead 35. Four plays later, Carey coach Mike Stanley went deep into his playbook for a little Black Friday magic.
Catapano took the snap and pitched it left to Ris, a former starting quarterback who had gone in motion. Ris cleverly faked a run and threw to a wide-open Spillane down the left sideline. The 20-0 lead was too much to overcome.
"We repped [practiced] it all year and waited for the right moment," Ris said. "We did a motion-and-toss. It will be in my memory for a very long time."
The entire chilly night will linger in Carey's collective minds. "It's an awesome feeling," Catapano said. "It's an honor to finally bring this back to Carey."
It got a little dicey for the Seahawks in the fourth quarter. After Cody Smith threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Greenidge with 9:21 to play, Carey fumbled and the Blue Waves recovered with 4:54 left. But a 12-play drive ended when Smith's screen pass to Ryun Moore -- who had 88 yards rushing while filling in for Jeremiah Cheatom, who was declared academically ineligible this week -- was stopped short on fourth down. Casey Kloepfer and Nick Conte led the defensive charge.
Spillane, part of a unit that limited Riverhead to 192 yards of total offense, said, "The defense has been awesome all year. We let up under a hundred points, and that's amazing for the conference we play in."
He said the players couldn't help but hear the supportive crowd, which at key moments loudly chanted "Care-y! Care-y! Care-y!"
"We've got the best fan base in all of Nassau County, and tonight it showed," Spillane said.
Added Colasurdo: "We did it for the seniors; we did it for the community. We just did it."
And the ending, of course, was perfect.