Down by a point midway through the fourth quarter, the Elmont players and coaching staff remained calm.
"We were happy. There was plenty of time left, we had the wind, we were composed, we had a lot of confidence," coach Jay Hegi said.
"And then we went three-and-out," he said, laughing. "But thank God, our defense made them go three-and-out and the rest is history."
The rest is also Jaquan Smith running 47 yards for a touchdown - his second of the day - to give Elmont a lead it wouldn't relinquish in a 22-7 win at Valley Stream South in Nassau Conference II. Smith finished the day with 20 carries and 160 yards for Elmont (4-2).
"He can run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 [seconds], legit," Hegi said. "He had great blocking, outran a couple kids right down the left sideline. It was picture perfect."
With Elmont nursing a 6-0 lead in the fourth quarter, Valley Stream Central (3-3) finally struck, going ahead 7-6 on Ricky Grosso Jr.'s 1-yard run with 9:00 left.
Smith's touchdown, and Qusarn Caldwell's ensuing two-point conversion, gave Elmont a 14-7 lead. But a one-possession game leaves little room for error.
"We definitely weren't comfortable," Hegi said. "They coached a great game and they played a great game. But we put them deep on the kickoff, so we knew that going into the wind, they would have a tough time scoring."
Maybe, but Elmont wouldn't. Denis Melendez returned a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown with 2:30 remaining to seal the win.
"Their quarterback scrambled, circled back and Kyle Johnson tackled him," Hegi said. "The ball fell out, Melendez grabbed it and he rumbled and stumbled for 33 yards. It was one of those slow-motion plays."