Eric Schweitzer was holding his left elbow in severe pain. The Babylon running back/linebacker left the game after a 16-yard run with four minutes left in the third quarter and the Panthers down by nine.
Schweitzer returned and had two carries on the same drive, but only played defense after. It's a good thing for Babylon that he did.
Schweitzer was a key part of the Panthers' defensive adjustment Saturday after they were dominated in the first half. Fittingly, the last play before two kneel-downs, the ball was in his hands as he recovered a fumble with 1:14 left in the game to seal a 22-16 road win for Babylon over Mount Sinai in Suffolk IV football.
"I was in a lot of pain," Schweitzer said. "My team needed me to step up and win this game, so I had to get back on the field. It's high stakes, so you have to play through it. It's not as bad now. It would probably be worse if we lost, but since we won it's great. There was no way I was coming out. They needed me out there and I wanted to play more than anything."
The biggest adjustment for Schweitzer was basically playing defense with one arm. "I couldn't really wrap with my left arm," he said. "I figured I would just go for the legs and hold on with my right arm and let the rest of the team come to me."
Jake Carlock scored the decisive touchdown by returning a punt 62 yards to the end zone with 9:25 left in the game, and he hauled in the pass on the two-point conversion to cap the scoring for Babylon (4-0). Carlock juked a defender at the 25 to break free to the end zone.
"I saw the hole open and I just took it and ran," Carlock said. "I thought I had it and then I saw a defender. I juked right and juked left and went back to the right."
Mount Sinai (3-1) dominated the first half and led 13-0 at the break. Billy Tartaglia threw a 29-yard TD pass to Brandon Drumgole in the first quarter and Mark Donadio scored on a 15-yard run early in the second quarter. Running back/linebacker Mike Donadio didn't play with a right hand injury he suffered in last week's game.
Twin brother Mark Donadio had 129 yards of his 171 yards rushing in the first half, but outside of one drive in the second half, Babylon shut down the run.
"We made one adjustment by putting Eric Schweitzer to what we felt was their strong side," Babylon coach Rick Punzone said. "They ran away from the unbalanced so we put him away from the unbalanced and that shut that down. The one play to the outside hurt us in the beginning, but I think we made that adjustment."
Schweitzer took the second half kickoff back 48 yards and capped the drive with an 8-yard run to bring Babylon within 13-7. Mount Sinai answered with a 14-play drive that culminated on a 22-yard field goal by Chris Prestia. On the first play of the fourth quarter, quarterback Nick Santorelli scored on a 1-yard run to bring the Panthers within 16-14.
"I don't know if we could have played worse in the first half," Punzone said. "In the second half was the team I know."