Thanksgiving weekend 2022 was the 30th anniversary of the Long Island Championship. It was also the third time that the Sayville Golden Flashes met the Plainedge Red Devils for the season …
Thanksgiving weekend 2022 was the 30th anniversary of the Long Island Championship. It was also the third time that the Sayville Golden Flashes met the Plainedge Red Devils for the season culmination. In 2015, Sayville beat Plainedge and in 2019, Plainedge defeated Sayville. Round three of the wrath of the titans was expected to be climactic due to both teams’ parallels. Both clubs are undefeated at 11-0 and average over 40 points per game. Both have explosive running backs, quarterbacks with canons for an arm, gritty, hard-nosed offensive lines, and tenacious defenses. Start time was high noon at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook, and due to prior championship matchups and the craving of being the last team standing, the title game had the implications of a Western shootout with gunslingers ready to draw, pondering who would blink first. This season, Sayville quarterback Jake Tripptree and Plainedge quarterback Joe Cassese meticulously governed their offensive juggernauts, giving every opponent much calamity with the Sayville and Plainedge faithful encouraging their teams in merriment. It was very comfortable weatherwise for late November—53 degrees at kickoff with the sun glimmering onto the gridiron, with the Stony Brook Seawolves logo at midfield—and a champion was to be christened.
Sayville wasted no time sustaining their potent offense. On the opening kickoff, Luke Hansen ran 94 yards, waltzing into the end zone just 12 seconds into the game while the home section of the bleachers was boisterous in a pleasingly inauspicious start for Purple and Gold. Owen Burke kicked a successful PAT (point after touchdown) and it was 7-0 in a matter of a heartbeat. Shortly after drawing first blood, Kyle Messina intercepted a Red Devils pass at 2:40 into the first quarter; then, a couple plays later Messina made a 1-yard touchdown plunge, putting his team up by two possessions, and another Owen Burke extra point ensued. The scoreboard read Golden Flashes 14, Red Devils 0 with 8:11 remaining in the first. The torrid offense continued when Tripptree threw a 9-yard touchdown toss to Anthony Contaldi, followed by a third-consecutive successful extra point by Burke, and it was 21-0 with slightly over three minutes remaining in the first period. Just prior to the conclusion of the opening quarter, Benny Sands made a 55-yard catch deep in opponent territory with a four-possession game looming for his team’s dynamic offense. Forty-one seconds into the second period, Tripptree found Michael Milo in the corner of the end zone, throwing an 8-yard laser for 6 points and it was 27-0. Sayville could not have asked for a better start. Later in the second quarter, Plainedge got on the board converting on fourth and 11th in Sayville territory when Caden Morra threw a 20-yard touchdown toss to Vinny Cavaliere. The score at halftime was 27-7. In the third quarter, the Red Devils went for it on fourth down and this time failed to convert, resulting in a turnover on downs as the play concluded with Anthony Morrione making a tackle with 3:19 to go in the third. The Golden Flashes were 12 minutes away from a championship, leading 27-7 with three quarters in the books. Messina made a fumble recovery with 9:51 in regulation and with just over five minutes to go, Ryan Leniec made a sack and victory was almost in their grasp. Messina sprinted 35 yards for another half-dozen points, giving his team 33. As the clock expired, coach Reade Sands was doused in a Gatorade bath, followed by Sands giving a victory speech; then the whole team rejoiced and hoisted the trophy. Sayville 33, Plainedge 7 was the final score in the 2022 Long Island Class III Championship. The Flashes were “golden” for the seventh time, as it was the seventh LIC in the program’s illustrious history. The prior years they reached the nirvana were 1998, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2015. And now in 2022, they etch their names in the history books with an entire autumn of indelible memories capturing lifelong dreams from a blissful and exuberant varsity squad. Tripptree was 18 for 24 with 200 passing yards and two passing TDs. Morrione paved the way, leading the team on defense with eight tackles and reeled in six passes, totaling 59 yards. Messina carried the ball 22 times for 97 rushing yards and on defense made three tackles for a loss of yards. Here’s to another memorable page added to the history books of Sayville varsity football!
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