The final outcome was no longer in doubt. But Sayville two-way standout Brock Murtha had one more wish on a late fourth-quarter pass in the Suffolk Division III football final against East Islip.
“I read the quarterback’s eyes and saw the ball the whole way,” said the senior, who plays safety and wide receiver. “I said, ‘Please God, let the ball be tipped.’ ”
The ball was deflected and fell easily into the hands of Murtha, who raced 60 yards on the interception return for the closing score as top seed Sayville beat No. 3 East Islip, 28-10, at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium Thursday night.
After he reached the end zone, Murtha raced to the Sayville sideline in front of a boisterous Sayville section and flashed a ‘W’ sign with his thumbs and index fingers.
“It was a very emotional game,” said Murtha, who added seven catches for 74 yards and a score, and 51 yards rushing on seven carries. “I saw all our best friends cheering us on, and I had to end it with the ‘W’ [sign].”
Sayville converted three key pass plays in the first half as part of its 21-0 lead. The Golden Flashes converted a fourth-and-13 when quarterback Jack Cheshire found Nathan Casaburi for 13 yards and a first down, as Casaburi dragged a pair of defenders the final few yards. Five plays later, Cheshire connected with Murtha for a 10-yard scoring pass as Sayville took a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
But the back-breaker came when Sayville started a drive at its 39 with 4:36 left in the first half. Cheshire scrambled to keep a third-and-22 play alive and found Murtha for 43 yards to East Islip's 30. CJ Messina hauled in a 31-yard scoring strike from Cheshire on a fourth-and-11 five plays later and the advantage grew to 21-0 with 1:03 left in the opening half. There was little doubt that Sayville was going to win its Suffolk record 14th county title. The Golden Flashes are 14-10 all-time in finals.
“He’s an awesome player on offense and defense,” Casaburi said about Murtha. “But the key is he happens to do it at the clutchest of times. He makes the big plays in the clutch.”