TODAY'S PAPER
61° Good Evening
61° Good Evening
SportsHigh SchoolFootball

Simon Jones has one of five interceptions to lead Lawrence to Nassau III title

Lawrence's Simon Jones returns an interception for a

Lawrence's Simon Jones returns an interception for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the Nassau III championship against Plainedge at Hofstra University on Friday, Nov.r 21, 2014. Credit: James Escher

Take your pick.

Usually it's Lawrence's offense that's the story. On Friday night, the defense stole the show -- along with five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Take your pick-6.

The Golden Tornado defeated Plainedge in the Nassau III championship game for the fourth consecutive year, rolling to a 49-19 victory at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

"Defense and special teams for a change," Lawrence coach Joe Martillotti said. Oh, yes, special teams. Tevine Johnson contributed a spectacular 71-yard kickoff return for a TD in the first quarter.

"I trust everybody," middle linebacker Simon Jones said. No wonder. Five players had the picks, including Jones, who returned his 36 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

The other pick-6, by Marquan Williams, was the play of the night. On a deep pass down the left sideline in the second quarter, Williams made a leaping interception, turned upfield and twisted and cut his way for an electrifying 87-yard touchdown.

"Big plays are definitely contagious," Jones said. "You see someone do it and you're like, 'I wish that was me. I'm making the next play.' "

Lawrence (11-0) earned its fourth straight trip to the Long Island Class III title game and will face Sayville at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Hofstra. It will be the third Long Island Championships meeting in four years for the Golden Tornado and Golden Flashes.

This is Lawrence, so of course the big plays weren't confined to the defense. Jordan Fredericks, limited by a shoulder injury suffered last week, rushed for 93 yards on 20 carries. But his biggest play was a pass.

With one second left in the first half, from the Red Devils' 32, Fredericks took a direct snap, danced in the pocket, rolled left, then pulled up and threw a strike to Sam Locascio in the end zone. The kick made it 28-19, and Plainedge (9-2) never recovered.

Fredericks scored on a 15-yard run in the third quarter and quarterback Sean Moran (119 yards, eight carries) dashed 57 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.

"Way to go, Sunshine!" several Lawrence fans yelled, and Moran -- his trademark long, blond hair spilling out from his helmet -- acknowledged: "That's my nickname. From 'Sunshine' in 'Remember the Titans.' He wore No. 12. So do I."

Davien Kuinlan supplied energy and offense for Plainedge despite walking around in school earlier in the week with a boot on his foot. He looked fine for most of the game, running for 112 yards and passing for 150. But he was picked off twice and was hurried and sacked several other times.

"Simon got him one time in the first half and he stopped running around in the pocket," Martillotti said.

Jones said the game plan called for containment. "We didn't want Kuinlan to get outside. Keep him in the pocket and rely on our secondary." Sound strategy, considering four of the five picks were by defensive backs.

Moran, who also is a starting defensive back, said of his "other" unit: "We have a solid defense. We always make big plays. It seems like we have a pick-6 every week. I don't think we're overlooked at all."

Certainly not Friday night.

More high schools