Sal Ingrassia didn’t want to talk about the Garden City defense.
The senior nose tackle didn’t want to hear about Garden City’s third shutout of the season — a 33-0 decision over Mepham — in the Nassau II championship game at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium on Friday night. He also refused to give much thought to the Trojans’ impeccable 2017 defensive statistics.
“I have to say,” Ingrassia said, “all of that doesn’t really matter too much until we win that [Long Island Class II] title next Friday.”
The Trojans (11-0) will have to wait a week to meet North Babylon at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the final at Hof stra. But the county championship game was all about the Trojans controlling Mepham (8-3) and quarterback Michael Proios (18-for-32, 150 yards, two interceptions).
“He’s a talented quarterback,” said Trojans senior Andrew DeSantis, who played AAU basketball with Proios when the two were youngsters and had four tackles at defensive end. “We wanted to keep them down and get that shutout.”
The 2016 Rutgers Cup champions have allowed only 64 points this year and have surrendered seven or fewer points in nine of their 11 games. That defensive mettle was on display in the first half, as Garden City did not allow Mepham inside the Trojans’ 20-yard line.
Mepham finally cracked through 1:58 into the third quarter after an interception by Michael Estevez gave the Pirates the ball at the Trojans’ 29. They moved the ball to the 3, but on fourth-and-goal, senior captain Matthew Granville and senior Michael Liberopoulos stopped tight end James Hatcliffe for no gain on a reception.
“We let them score on the goal line the last time we played them,” said Ingrassia, who led the Trojans with eight tackles and a sack. “When we got back there tonight, we weren’t going to let them score again.”