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Wantagh tops Roosevelt in Nassau III semifinal on razzle-dazzle pass

Chris Hogan #3 of Wantagh, top, gets congratulated

Chris Hogan #3 of Wantagh, top, gets congratulated by Kyle Graham #83 after catching a pass for a 39-yard touchdown with 1:02 remaining in the fourth quarter of a Nassau III football semifinal against Roosevelt at Hofstra University on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. Credit: James Escher

Chris Hogan caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Wantagh’s 25-20 victory over Roosevelt Saturday, but it didn’t come easy.

The winning play in this Nassau III semifinal at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium started with some razzle-dazzle — a pass from fellow wide receiver Ryan Murphy — and ended with Hogan making the catch under a blinding light with 1:02 left to play.

“I actually had trouble seeing it because it got lost in the light,” Murphy said. “I just thought, ‘I can’t drop this pass,’ and then it just dropped into my hands.”

Quarterback Ryan McCarty set the winning play in motion when he dropped back and threw a screen pass to Murphy, who instead of running, pulled the ball back and fired a 39-yard strike to Hogan.

The winning play, pulled from deep in the Wantagh playbook, moves the defending Long Island Class III champions into the Nassau III final against Lawrence Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Hofstra University.

A 1-yard touchdown run by Kevon Hall with 3:26 left had put Roosevelt up, 20-19, but those who know Wantagh coach Keith Sachs fully expected him to open his bag of tricks.

“People know we have them because we run them a lot,” Sachs said of his gadget plays. “But we practice them everyday like they’re regular plays. We take pride in how we run them and don’t count on just fooling the other team. In the end, it’s not just the trick. We executed it beautifully.”

Patrick Walsh put Wantagh ahead, 13-6, after his second touchdown run of the third quarter, a 35-yard blast with 3:48 remaining. Walsh ran for 129 yards on 16 carries.

Roosevelt’s Hall ran 43 times for 254 yards and three touchdowns, finishing the season as Nassau’s leading rusher with 2,211 yards and 23 touchdowns.

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