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Sean Moran's leaping catch helps Lawrence defeat Bethpage, 21-15

Lawrence QB Sean Moran runs with the ball

Lawrence QB Sean Moran runs with the ball on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Sean Moran made what was arguably the biggest catch in Lawrence football history in last year's Nassau Conference III final. His catch and run for 38 yards and a first down in the final minute, set up the game winning field goal in a one-point win over Plainedge.

"The Catch" propelled the Golden Tornadoes to the Long Island Class III title.

Moran did it again Saturday -- another key catch that vaulted Lawrence to victory.

Moran started at quarterback but his biggest contribution came at wide receiver when he hauled in a 46-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Fredericks with 3:48 remaining to key the Golden Tornadoes' 21-15 comeback win over Bethpage in a Nassau Conference III opener.

Moran's leaping grab and race to the end zone breathed life into a Lawrence team that looked down and out with just over four minutes to play.

"That really gave us some momentum," Lawrence coach Joe Martilotta said. "We were being outplayed, making big mistakes and had nothing going for us at that point. He's a playmaker and we needed that score in a bad way. It was similar to last year's championship catch."

Moran's touchdown cut the Bethpage lead to 15-13 and seemed to deflate the Golden Eagles. On the ensuing kickoff, Tevine Johnson recovered the onside kick at the Bethpage 39 and Lawrence took control of the outcome. Two plays later, Fredericks, in shotgun formation, took the snap and burst off right tackle for the 36-yard go-ahead touchdown run. With 3:22 left, Lawrence had its first lead at 19-15. Fredericks added the two-point conversion run for the final margin.

"I didn't expect to play quarterback at all," said Fredericks, who rushed for 139 yards on 15 carries. "We practice the two-minute drill with the offense, but that's for when we're behind. We're not used to trailing."

Lawrence trailed because the Bethpage defense bottled up Fredericks and shut down the Golden Tornadoes offense early. The Golden Eagles forced three turnovers in the first half.

Linebacker Brian Seiter recovered Fredericks' fumble on the Golden Tornadoes first drive at the 33 and the Golden Eagles capitalized with an eight-play, 33-yard scoring drive. Seiter capped the short drive with a 6-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-six run around the right end. Seiter added the two-point conversion run for the 8-0 lead with 8:13 left.

Lawrence responded on its next possession. The Golden Tornadoes went 58 yards in nine plays and also scored on a fourth down play. Fredericks threw a 27-yard scoring strike to Johnson. Hiram Fuentes added the kick to make it 8-7 with 3:45 left in the first.

The rest of the first half belonged to the defensive units. Bethpage's Rob Chillianis short circuited a Lawrence drive with an interception and linebacker Yoannis Efstathiou recovered a fumble at the 25 to halt a 71-yard, nine-play march.

Bethpage made it 15-7 when Nick Carlino went over the left side, broke three tackles and ran 62 yards for a touchdown.

"I'm embarrassed at the way we played," said Martilotta of his teams 112 yards in penalties. "It was a chippy game and we had way too many penalties. We have a rivalry and there's some bad feelings between the teams. We have to keep our composure and play smart."

Martilotta's early decision to switch Fredericks and Moran was a game changer.

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