West Islip found itself locked in a back-and-forth battle at North Babylon Saturday. Luckily for the Lions, Sam Ilario was on their side.
Ilario ran for two touchdowns and threw for four more scores, including a go-ahead 25-yard strike to Alex Barbera with 25 seconds remaining to propel West Islip to a 42-35 victory in Suffolk II.
"He did everything we asked him to do," West Islip assistant coach Tom Powers said of Ilario. "He threw it down the field, ran tough, and he audibled when he needed to."
West Islip (3-1) took a 28-21 lead into halftime, but by the fourth quarter the lead was gone. North Babylon's Brandon Sobotker, who also ran for a short touchdown in the first quarter, found the end zone twice in the second half, each time from 1 yard to put North Babylon (2-2) ahead 35-28.
Ilario, who finished with 270 yards rushing and broke the career school scoring record with 196 points according to Powers, would have none of it.
Ilario found Kyle Ziegler from 11 yards out to tie the score at 35 with seven minutes remaining. West Islip then pinned North Babylon inside its own 10-yard line on the ensuing kickoff.
The Bulldogs chewed more than five minutes off the clock, driving toward midfield. But another key special teams play swung the game. An errant snap on a punt set up the Lions on North Babylon's 18-yard line.
Faced with a fourth-and-four on the final drive, Ilario found Sean Collins on the 25-yard line, setting up the winning pass to Barbera.
The defense held as Pat Tinelli came away with an interception on the final play of the game.
"Nothing surprises us about Sam," Powers said. "As long as he's healthy and receiving the snap from the center we feel we can score on any play."