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LIC Class III: Westhampton’s lone pass attempt a big one

Westhampton's Tyler Nolan (23) and Nolan Quinlan (9)

Westhampton's Tyler Nolan (23) and Nolan Quinlan (9) celebrate after Quinlan's touchdown catch during the Long Island Class III championship game against Lawrence at LaValle Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

The play call was “Vegas.” The payoff was huge.

On second-and-13 midway through the third quarter, Westhampton rolled the dice and tried its only pass of the game. Quarterback Clarke Lewis faked a pitch to Dylan Laube — what defense wouldn’t bite on that! — and rolled to his right on a bootleg. He found tight end Nolan Quinlan down the middle, well behind the secondary.

“It was wide open. I was just hoping I’d catch it,” Quinlan said. “We worked on it all week. I knew it would be a big play whenever we called it.”

The connection clicked for 64 yards and a touchdown that made it 34-12 with 6:55 left in the third quarter and was just another exclamation point for Westhampton in its 54-26 victory over Lawrence in the Long Island Class III championship game at Stony Brook.

“I knew we were going to use it. We were seeing it was there the whole game,” Lewis said.

But the junior quarterback did not actually view the completion. “The linebacker came at me. I saw Nolan get past the safety and I just threw it. I was on the ground. I didn’t see it. But I heard the crowd roar and I knew.”

The sizable Westhampton crowd was roaring the entire game, mostly because of Dylan Laube’s six-touchdown performance, but the fans and players seemed to particularly enjoy this singular sensation. “We were surprised we got the wind in the third quarter,” Westhampton coach Bill Parry said. “We had practiced the play and we were just waiting for the right time.”

Second-and-long was the right time. “We faked the sweep to Dylan that we’d been running all day,” Parry said. “They were putting nine or 10 in the box. The safety had the choice to stop Dylan or play the pass. He chose to go after Dylan.”

Quinlan, who was part of the blocking unit that opened holes for Laube’s 227-yard effort, had a more visible role on defense. He made nine tackles as the Hurricanes’ defense took advantage of the big lead their offense had provided.

“Once we got up on them, I knew we had it,” Quinlan said. “They had to do stuff they didn’t want to do.”

As opposed to Westhampton, which was able to pretty much do what it wanted, offensively. That included only one pass among its 49 plays from scrimmage.

But it was, in the words of Quinlan, smirking at his pun, “a money play.”

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