For the second straight year, the William Floyd Colonials claimed the Suffolk County Division I Championship, defeating the Longwood Lions 34-14 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University on Saturday.
Floyd remains undefeated this season with 11 wins, as the team prepares for its next challenge versus the Freeport Red Devils in the Long Island Division I Championship at Stony Brook University on Friday, Nov. 29. Freeport, also 11-0, defeated Farmingdale 30-7 last Thursday.
The Colonials scored with less than two minutes off the clock with a long rushing touchdown by quarterback Thomas Verga — bouncing outside to his right, then cutting on a vertical seam and bursting just beyond the reach of two Lions defenders and winning the foot race to the end zone. Later in the first quarter, however, Longwood’s quarterback, Noah Rattmer, managed to answer Verga’s long touchdown run with one of his own — navigating his way through the trench near his own 40-yard line into a vacant second level, then forced left and playing the sideline with Floyd defenders giving chase, though never catching him.
Approaching the midpoint of the second quarter, the Lions found themselves punting on fourth down and long inside their own 10-yard line. Much more unfortunate than punting the Colonials the ball on the Lions’ side of the field, Longwood’s punter mishandled the snap from the center, giving possession to Floyd on the 3-yard line.
That was followed by a 3-yard punch-in by WF running back Tyshawn Lopez shortly afterward, though Floyd missed the point-after attempt.
With just under five minutes left in the second quarter, the Longwood defense came up big after forcing Lopez to fumble on the run in Floyd territory. But the Lions could not capitalize on the momentum shift, as they failed a fourth-down conversion just outside the red zone.
Reclaiming possession approaching the two-minute warning, Floyd’s Verga dialed in a two-minute scoring drive capped off by a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Lopez. Following a successful two-point conversion by the Colonials to make it a 21-7 game with just over 1 minute left before halftime, Longwood’s offense battled its way into incredible field position.
The Lions ran three plays near the goal line but were stuffed at the 1-yard line by the Floyd defense, as time expired and ultimately ended another golden opportunity for Longwood to remain in contention with the undefeated Colonials. If the Longwood offense managed to score touchdowns on both of its short-field opportunities, the second half may have had a more hopeful taste for the Lions.
Instead, Floyd took the reins on the momentum from the monumental stop to close the first half of the game and drove in another score to begin the third quarter. Both teams would score once more, but a three-score lead basically halfway through the contest was enough differential to consider the deal sealed.
The Colonials’ defense was the clear catalyst in this matchup. They not only forced a couple fumbles in opportune situations, but also made clutch, drive-shattering stops with their backs against the wall. As time expired with the scoreboard reading 34-14, Floyd’s coach Paul Longo celebrated his 200th career win.
This Friday’s matchup against Freeport is a rematch from last year for the Long Island title, in which the Red Devils held off the Colonials in a 20-19 nail-biter. It will surely be Floyd’s toughest test so far this year, as the Red Devils have won every game thus far this season by multiple scores. Freeport is currently ranked seventh among Division I teams in New York, compared to William Floyd’s 43rd, according to MaxPreps.