Cold Spring Harbor didn’t need to look hard for motivation Friday night. The game was the Nassau IV semifinal and a chance to get back to the county final after losing at that level a season ago. The foe was East Rockaway, which ruined the Seahawks’ unbeaten start in Week 4.
“It was all there for us and we really wanted it,” junior Richie Striano said. “Everyone put in a lot to be ready for this game. We were really fired up.”
The Seahawks turned in a true ensemble performance to overcome the Rocks and a cold, driving rain for a 34-22 triumph at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. The elements had an impact as both teams fumbled three times and CSH couldn’t use its passing attack, but four Seahawks — Striano, Thomas Milana, Ray Costa and Jacob Bruno — ran for at least 50 yards and a TD each.
“We have a lot of weapons offensively and that can make it tough [on opponents],” Seahawks coach Jon Mendreski said. "There’s no one guy that carries us; it can be six guys who could carry us. And the line is a bunch of guys who go both ways. They’ve been awesome. They play four quarters and don’t come off the field and they don’t bat an eye.”
“Everyone can get the ball and, when it’s your turn, you see what you can do with it,” Milana said. “It’s not like a competition because we’re on the same team and rooting for each other.”
CSH (8-2), which advanced to its ninth Nassau IV final, will be seeking its fifth crown and first since 2005. The Seahawks will play defending champion Seaford next Friday at Hofstra.
“It’s been on our mind since the end of last year against Seaford,” Mendreski said. “We haven’t lost the taste in our mouth from that game . . . Our goal is to win one more game than we did last year.”
Bruno rushed for 76 yards and a 31-yard touchdown, Milana ran for 73 yards and a 63-yard TD, Striano carried for 72 yards and a pair of scores, and quarterback Costa ran for 51 yards and a 24-yard TD for CSH.
Jerell Brown rushed for 142 yards and all three of the Rocks’ TDs on 24 carries. Logan Ackerman had 10 tackles, two for lost yardage.
When Brown scored on a 17-yard dash down the left sideline, East Rockaway (6-4) was within 20-14 with 3:42 left in the third quarter. It got the ball back as the result of a fumble but couldn’t cash in and turned the ball over on downs, and CSH struck twice to put it away.
The Seahawks needed only four plays to go 54 yards on the ensuing possession, with Costa rolling right on a keeper and sprinting into the end zone with 8:51 to play. After the Rocks’ next possession ended with a short punt, Striano ran 30 yards for a touchdown for a 34-14 lead with 6:51 left.
Said Striano, “Revenge is always sweet. East Rockaway is a great team with super-tough kids. We came ready for that, we hit hard and we were able to take it to them.”