The Sayville Golden Flashes came into Friday's Long Island Championship game at Hofstra against Lynbrook seeking their fourth championship in the last past seven years, but number five wasn't meant to be in 2010. The Lynbrook Owls' rushing attack proved to be too much for Sayville as the Owls captured their first Long Island Championship since 1992 with a 42-27 win.
For Sayville head coach Robert Hoss, stopping Lynbrook's vaunted running game was essential for a Golden Flashes win. The Owls' running attack, featuring seniors Travis Lock, Paul Magloire and Mike Kozlawkowski, posed a difficult challenge for Sayville's defense, but the Golden Flashes came into the game with a potent offense of its own centering around junior quarterback Steven Ferreira and sophomore running back John Haggart.
Sayville got a taste of how good Lynbrook's running game is on the first drive of the game when the Owls went 95 yards with Magloire scoring on a 1-yard run, his first of three touchdowns.
But Sayville, as they have done so well this season, answered right back when junior Thomas Hannan took the kickoff back all the way to the Lynbrook 15-yard line. Haggart then scored on 6-yard run to even the score.
Lynbrook took the lead in the second quarter when Kozlakowski scored on an 8-yard run. But Sayville answered again as Ferreira started to heat up. The All-County quarterback found senior wide receiver Josh Tordik from two yards out for a touchdown.
With Lynbrook leading 14-12, the Owls widened their lead when Lock, who had 134 yards rushing in the first half, broke one 72 yards for a score.
It looked as though the first half was shaping up to be a match-up between Lock's speed and Ferreira's right arm. With Sayville trailing 20-12, Ferreira completed an 18-yard pass to junior wide receiver James Rupp and then a 31-yard pass to Tordik. Haggart then scored his second touchdown of the game from seven yards out and when the Golden Flashes complete the two-point conversion, the game was tied 20-20 with 2:36 left in the first half.
With Sayville looking to take the momentum into halftime, Lynbrook caught a big break when Magloire threw up the ball on 3rd and 9. It looks as though Rupp would intercept but the ball was tipped right into the hands of junior Luke Spitzer for a 29-yard gain. Magloire then scored from the 2-yard line to give Lynbrook a 26-20 lead at the half.
"At the end of the half, it kind of looked pretty good. That third and long tipped pass was a killer for us," said Hoss.
In the third quarter, Sayville showed that it had a running attack of its own. Haggart began ripping off big gains and at the start of the fourth quarter, scored from the 1-yard line. The sophomore then kicked the extra point to give Sayville a 27-26 lead with 11:57 left in the game
"Haggart is a really great back. They have a very big offensive line and they started to go to a little bit more of a power-type spread offense, but they always have the ability to throw. We were kind of nervous about everything," said Lynbrook head coach Steven LoCicero.
After the Sayville defense stopped Lynbrook, the Golden Flashes got the ball back, seeking to extend its lead and perhaps lock up the Long Island title. But on 3rd and 4 from the Sayville 36-yard line, Ferreira was intercepted by senior defensive back Bruton Kendall, who ran it back to the Sayville seven-yard line. Lock, who rushed for 174 yards on 19 carries, scored his second touchdown of the game.
After Sayville was stopped on 4th and 2 from the Owls 22, Lynbrook added another touchdown for a 42-27 win and the Long Island championship.
Although Sayville had its opportunity to win the game in the fourth quarter, Lynbrook's rushing attack proved to be the difference. The Owls rushed for a total of 371 yards in the game.
"Defensively, we did a lot better in the second half. We just didn't make the key plays we made all year," said Hoss. "We just fell a couple of plays short and they made a couple of plays better than us. That's what wins football games."
Even with the loss, the Golden Flashes still enjoyed a successful season, winning the . "We're not the most talented football team. But our kids have tremendous heart and tremendous character. They fight all game long," said Hoss. "At the end of the day, I'll take my kids all the time."