Sayville quarterback Jack Coan passes the football against Lawrence in...

Sayville quarterback Jack Coan passes the football against Lawrence in the Long Island Class III football final on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Hofstra. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Jack Coan was inconsolable afterward, and understandably so. An epic season, with big wins and broken records, had Sayville on the verge of a Long Island Class III championship -- only to have it slip away.

And the quarterback blamed himself for the Golden Flashes' 40-35 loss to Lawrence Friday night.

Sayville was clinging to a one-point lead deep in Lawrence territory with a little more than a minute remaining. But in a blink, a fumbled handoff was scooped up and the ball -- along with the title -- was headed the other way. Melik Mavruk returned it 82 yards for the winning score with 1:06 left.

"We just messed up," said running back Matt Selts, who ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns. "It was a miscommunication."

It was a zone-read, not unlike what Sayville had successfully run several times. Coan extended the ball to Selts but pulled it back at the last moment. "Matt thought he had it so he clamped down," causing the fumble, coach Rob Hoss said.

"But they shouldn't beat themselves up over it," Hoss added. "Without Jack and Matt, we wouldn't have been here."

Consoling words, but also factual ones. That dynamic backfield tandem was the key to a prolific offense.

Coan, a sophomore, set the Long Island single-season records for touchdown passes (40) and passing yards (3,431). He threw for 315 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score on Friday night.

Indicative of Coan's aptitude and fortitude was this: Sayville still had a chance in the waning seconds. He led a 41-yard drive that got Sayville to the 24 and threw two passes toward the end zone that came within inches of being winning touchdowns.

"He has all the potential in the world and he showed it there," wideout Chris Rupp said. "We're mad right now, but that kid is going to keep doing amazing things."

Teammates gave him pats on the back and offered pep talks. But so soon after a defeat so bitter, for a competitor so fierce, there was little solace.

Nevertheless, a name readily comes to mind: Joe Capobianco, the former Lawrence quarterback, the fellow whose records Coan broke. He, too, felt the agony of an LIC loss as a sophomore -- coincidentally, to Sayville in 2011. And the two seasons that followed ended with Capobianco hoisting championship plaques.

"Jack's going to win at least one," Selts said of Coan. "I'm going to be visiting from college, watching him do it for us. I know it."

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