Syosset’s Matthew Ranges crammed many things into a short offseason.
"I did a lot of cardio," he said. "I really worked on the mental part of the game . . . I also started to understand that this is my time."
Time was of the essence for the senior quarterback as his team trailed visiting Farmingdale by six points early in the fourth quarter on Saturday.
Ranges connected on fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 34 and 75 yards, both to Luca Cutolo as Syosset pulled out a thrilling 28-20 victory over the Dalers in Nassau Conference I.
Robert Trapeo knocked the ball away from talented Farmingdale receiver Jordan Smikle in the end zone on the final play of the game to preserve Syosset’s win.
Syosset has won twice in a span of six months after 24 consecutive losses against the Dalers, according to Newsday records.
"We needed to win this game and prove that we can compete in this conference," said Ranges, who had a 4-yard TD run and was 17-for-24 passing for 278 yards and three scores. "Farmingdale is a premier program . . . We knew they weren’t going to go away easily."
The Dalers’ Michael Jankowski Jr. caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Wilson with 9:26 remaining. However, Farmingdale missed its second extra point of the game and led 20-14.
Syosset (4-1) marched 76 yards on seven plays and capped the drive with the 34-yard TD, a gorgeous Ranges to Cutolo pass on a go route. The extra point put Syosset ahead, 21-20.
Farmingdale (3-2) went three-and-out and decided to punt on fourth-and-10 from its own 41-yard line with 3:32 remaining and three timeouts.
It didn’t matter.
Ranges threw a short screen pass to Cutolo who made a move and sprinted 75 yards for a score. The PAT by Robert Crehan made it 28-20 with 3:03 left. Crehan was 4-for-4 on extra points, and added punts of 49 and 30 yards, both in the second half in place of starting punter Trapeo, who rolled his ankle and couldn’t kick.
Still, the Dalers had two more chances. A Farmingdale drive stalled at Syosset’s 36 with 1:47 to go. Then after a Syosset three-and-out, Farmingdale moved to Syosset’s 40 with 10 seconds left.
Wilson heaved a bomb into the end zone in the direction of Smikle, who earlier had scored on a 37-yard jet sweep. However, Trapeo used all of his 6-1 frame to knock the ball down as time expired.
"I saw [Smikle] come from behind me," said Trapeo, who had an interception on the game’s first play from scrimmage and added five catches for 106 yards. "I got my hand through his hands and knocked it down."
Trapeo, who had a 26-yard TD reception in the first half and made a few incredible one-hand catches, was asked what was better — a scoring catch or a big defensive play to end the game?
"A play to end the game," said Trapeo, smiling. "It seals it, so there’s nothing better."