The road to redemption failed on multiple accounts on Saturday. Not only did Hills West fail to get a win against the only team that beat them in the regular season, but for the second straight year, Hills West lost in the Suffolk County championship.
This game was all about big plays. The problem was Newfield made more of them. A second half blowout resulted in a Newfield victory 58-34. The score, however, does not tell the whole story. The game was a battle all the way up until the middle of the third quarter.
The Newfield team is dominant. They rank number three in Long Island and outscored their opponents 419-63, including a 43-13 win against Hills West in the regular season. Their senior quarterback, Ryan Klemm, had thrown 26 touchdowns to one interception coming into this game. In addition, this team has only trailed twice all season and both of those times were to the Colts.
The Colts were not intimidated and had chances to win this game. Newfield’s defense took control early, causing multiple 3rd and twenties for the Colts. They were also the first ones to strike, scoring a rushing touchdown early in the first by running back Elijah Riley. Riley had a field day, averaging a ridiculous 13.3 yards per carry and scoring four times. The Wolverines failed, however, to get the two-point conversion. This was the first of four failed attempts. These decisions could have proven costly had the game been a little tighter. Hills West was able to get positive yardage mostly due to Lucarelli’s ability to escape the rush. This resulted in a Colts field goal. Newfield again scored late in the first, making the score 12-3.
The second quarter was a very back and forth. This time it was the Colts who were able to get the momentum, and Lucarelli capped off a solid drive with a five yard rushing touchdown, bringing it to a one possession game. Lucarelli finished with 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and completed 10-17 passes for 223 yards. During the Wolverines’ next drive, the inconceivable occurred. On their own 45 yard line, Klemm threw a bad ball in the middle of the field. It was tipped up and swooped up out of nowhere by RB Justin Ottenwalder, who put it in the endzone for a 55 yard touchdown. However, Hills West again answered scoring another field goal to make it only a five point deficit 18-13. With a little over two minutes left in the half, the Wolverines faked a handoff and pitched it back to the wide receiver. He lofted a pass that was read all the way by Ed Gonzalez, who returned it 22 yards to the house. This gave the Colts their first lead of the game. This was a short lived lead, however, as a quick drive lead to a Riley touchdown with 20 seconds left to put them back up 24-20 at the end of the half.
The third quarter opened up optimistically for the Colts with a nice 40 yard pass by Lucarelli. Unfortunately, it was picked off on the next play. It was a slant over the middle that was a little behind and well-covered. Interceptions happen, but anyone who was there could feel that that was the turning point in the game. Two plays after the interception, the Wolverines called the right play at the right time. With only one man to beat, it was a pretty easy 75 yard touchdown for Ottenwalder to put them up 31-20. He finished with three receptions for 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns along with eight carries for 62 yards. On the next sequence for the Colts, Deyvon Wright fumbled the kickoff return to set up the Wolverines with good field position. They capitalized on the opportunity as Riley punched it in putting them up 17.
Two turnovers in a 54 second span is what doomed the Colts. From there, the Wolverines never let up and had no shot to comeback in the fourth. Their offense, especially their rushing attack, could not be stopped. It was a very valiant and gutsy effort against one of the best teams on Long Island. The Colts will look to repeat their run next year with the help of the developing 12 sophomores on the team this year. Cameron Jordan will also be a senior on the team next year. His skills and leadership should lead the team to future success.