An old-school offense for a new-school program.
That’s the success story for Carle Place-Wheatley, which continued its magical football season Saturday night at Hofstra. A 37-22 victory over North Shore in a Nassau IV semifinal put the Wild Frogs in the county championship game — against Seaford at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra — for the first time in the program’s 11 seasons.
“We used to be a spread-option team that threw the ball, but that wasn’t working,” CPW coach Tim Moran said after watching his team run for 408 yards Saturday night. “So now we run what the service academies run: a triple-option double wing.”
The Wild Frogs (8-2), an amalgamation of the two schools’ nicknames — Carle Place Frogs, Wheatley Wildcats — won a playoff game for the first time since the 2006 merger when they beat East Rockaway, 42-12, on Nov. 4.
North Shore provided a much sterner test in the semifinals, leading 22-19 at halftime behind dual-threat quarterback Ryan Aughavin (11-for-14 passing for 208 yards), who was sacked six times as CPW rallied in the second half.
Tziah Albert (157 yards rushing, two touchdowns) put the Wild Frogs ahead for good when he caught a 16-yard pass from Chris Kelly with 5:40 left in the third quarter for a 25-22 lead. In the fourth quarter, Kelly scored on a 1-yard run and Albert broke open the game with a 67-yard TD dash.
Kelly ran the old-school offense smartly, rushed for 95 yards and completed all five of his passes for 61 yards.
“He’s 6-2, 215, and we like to get him going downhill,” Moran said. “It takes at least a couple of kids to bring him down.”
Luke Caliendo (69 yards) and Dom Pascarella (66 yards, including a 42-yard TD) also were productive runners for the Wild Frogs. “We have six great backs and the best offensive line we’ve ever had here,” Moran said.
And he’s been there since the beginning, when CPW went 0-8 and 1-7 in its first two years. Now history is being rewritten, in a series of run-on sentences.