Ryan Hofmann made a name for himself last season when he led Lindenhurst to the school's first outright Suffolk I football title as a junior.
Last night, he was on fire in the season opener at Ward Melville. Hofmann completed 25 of 40 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns, all to Steven Ramirez, in a 28-13 win before a crowd of about 1,700. "Steven made some great catches and our timing was right on," Hofmann said. "The line gave me time and the receivers ran excellent routes."
The teams waged a defensive battle in the first quarter. But Hofmann ignited the Bulldogs on the first possession of the second quarter. He mixed the run with some spot-on throws, completing all five passes for 64 yards in a 10-play, 92-yard march that consumed 5:01.
Hofmann capped the drive when he rolled right and fired a well-timed down-and-out pass to a wide-open Ramirez for the score. William McKenna added the point-after kick to make it 7-0 with 9:15 left in the half.
Not to be outdone, Ward Melville quarterback Matt O'Hea too his team 85 yards in four plays, punctuating the drive with a beautifully thrown 61-yard touchdown pass to John Corpac. Corpac made an over-the-shoulder catch in stride for the score with 1:19 left in the half. The extra-point kick was missed and the Patriots trailed 7-6.
With 1:16 left, Hofmann went back to work from his 31-yard line. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 61 yards and found Ramirez with a 9-yard fade for a touchdown on the final play of the half for a 13-6 lead.
"We have confidence in Ryan's ability to put the ball in the right spot," Lindenhurst coach Nick Lombardo said. "And that was a perfect throw and a heck of a catch in the corner."
Lindenhurst extended the lead on the first possession of the third quarter when halfback Joe Barber broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown run. Austin Perri, the holder on the extra-point attempt, scooped a poor snap and ran for a two-point conversion and a 21-6 lead. Barber totaled 142 yards on 22 carries.
Ramirez's third touchdown came on a 29-yard dart from Hofmann with 8:06 left in the third quarter for a 28-6 lead.
O'Hea, who completed 19 of 37 passes for 297 yards, made it 28-13 when he found Nick Cervone on an 81-yard scoring pass with 3:23 left in the third. It was as close as they would get.