Carey had its entire alphabet working Saturday. From A-to-Z, from Annunziata to Zahradka, it was a letter-perfect performance.
The Seahawks scored the first 38 points and cruised to a 45-7 victory over Mepham in a Nassau Conference II semifinal at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium. Carey (10-0) will face Garden City (9-1) in the county championship at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra. Carey won the regular-season meeting, 26-14, Garden City's only loss. Mepham finished 7-3.
"Our offense is so diverse, teams don't know what's coming," said quarterback Kyle Zahradka, who was 8-for-12 passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, all to wide receiver Steve Marino.
The Pirates tried to harass Zahradka with extra pressure, but that meant man-to-man coverage on the receivers. "I'm always happy to see man coverage," Marino said.
That's because he's so difficult to defend. He averaged 30 yards per reception during the regular season and Saturday he was slightly above that mark with four catches for 133 yards. The 6-foot, 170-pound junior scored on plays covering 23 and 55 yards in the first half and 45 yards on the first drive of the second half. Neither he nor Zahradka saw much action after that.
"Kyle makes great reads, our line blocks it up and he puts it right on the money," Marino said.
The 55-yard TD was the final play of the first quarter and Marino's extra-point kick made it 21-0.
"It was an 8-cut, a post pattern," Marino said. "I looked to beat my man and Kyle laid it out there. I just ran down and caught it."
It was the first time in Marino's career that he caught three touchdown passes in a game. "That's the most fun I've ever had in a game," he said, smiling broadly.
There were smiles all around for the Seahawks. In addition to its potent passing game, Carey rushed for 221 yards, led by Giuliano Bove, who gained 70 yards on four carries, 60 coming on one electrifying run in the first quarter.
"We expected them to bring pressure, so we knew we had to make big plays in the passing game," Carey coach Mike Stanley said. "They make it tough to run on them."
Zahradka was accurate, as he has been all season, and his pinpoint passing eventually opened up the running game. Carey had 307 of its 459 yards of total offense in the first half.
The Carey defense, led by linebacker John Daddino (six tackles), held Mepham to just 168 yards and eight first downs. Daddino also rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown. The reserves got into the act in the second half, with Rob Annunziata concluding the scoring on a 22-yard run.
"At the beginning of the year, I knew we'd be good," Zahradka said, "but I didn't think we'd be 10-0."