In a possible preview of the Nassau IV final, Locust Valley remained unbeaten with a gritty 33-20 win over Seaford Friday night.
Locust Valley running back Tom Talenti, who had 121 yards on 14 carries, including touchdown runs of 19 and 49 yards, said his line paved the way on every run.
"My goal was to run behind them," he said. "Spencer Matthaei, John Famiglietti, our tight end Charles Savinetti and everyone else played awesome."
It was all about suffocating defense for the Falcons (6-0), who held Seaford back Danny Roell to less than 3 yards per carry (he had 125 on 42 carries).
Locust Valley coach Matt McFarland attributed his defense's ability to bottle up Roell to constantly changing looks.
"We showed them a different defense every time," McFarland said. "If you show Seaford the same defense twice, they know what to do and they'll exploit you."
There were few tricks in this one. The ball rarely exited the hash marks in the middle of the field. It was simple smash-mouth football.
Seaford (5-1) opened the scoring with an eight-play drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Roell. The extra point was missed, forcing the defense to hold a 6-0 lead.
But Locust Valley stormed back with a quick three-play drive aided by a Seaford personal foul. Talenti ran the ball in from 19 yards for a touchdown and Nick Petralia kicked the extra point to take a 7-6 lead.
Seaford struck again on its next drive. The Vikings took nearly six minutes off the clock thanks to power running between the tackles by Roell.
Quarterback Andrew Cain eventually connected with Roell on a swing pass to the left, which Roell ran 19 yards for the score.
Up 14-7 after a successful two-point conversion, Seaford was unable to stop the Falcons' running game. John Pedranghelu took the fifth play of the next drive 36 yards for a touchdown, tying the score at 14.
The Falcons then took a 21-14 lead on their next drive on a 71-yard scoring pass from Tyler Liantonio to Owen Trepeta.
Petralia's 28-yard field goal to open the second half pushed the lead to 10 before Cain finished Seaford's next possession with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 24-20.
Talenti contributed a 49-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter and Locust Valley added a late safety.