Don’t let Matt Anzalone’s size fool you.
Infact, don’t let Island Trees football fool you either.
Anzalone, the 5-foot-3 Island Trees senior running back, ran for a career-high three touchdowns on 10 carries as Island Trees used its size and speed to overwhelm Oyster Bay, 54-7 in a Conference IV matchup Friday afternoon.
The Bulldogs came out with some bite right from the opening kickoff against a significantly undermanned Oyster Bay team, scoring on its first four possessions on touchdown runs from Brandon Cassar (32 yards), Brian Eletti (38 yards), and two from Anzalone (1 and 12 yards respectively) to take a 27-0 lead.
After Anzalone turned the ball over on a fumble recovered by Oyster Bay, the Island Trees senior made up for his misfortune on the Bulldogs’ next possession by using his line to guide him through a hole and towards the endzone on a 26 yard touchdown run to give his team a 34-0 lead.
“I could hide behind them pretty easily and just pop out,” Anzalone said of his small stature. “It gives defenders a tougher time.”
Island Trees wound up scoring on nine of its first ten possessions, and held the Baymen to just 11 yards of total offense in the first half.
“I thought it would be a little closer than it was,” Anzalone said. “I don’t think we were expecting it to be this drastic (of a score).”
The win improves the Bulldogs to 2-4 on the season. But judging by the way Island Trees played Friday, that record could prove deceiving.
“We’re a lot better than our record,” said Anzalone, who scored all of his touchdowns in the first half. “We’ve had a lot of close games and then sometimes we don’t come out ready to play. I think we can make a good playoff run.”
That playoff run will be crucial in the last two weeks in what has been a very competitive Conference IV, in which the top eight teams all come into Week 6 with records of 3-2 or better.
Island Trees is on the outside looking in, but Anzalone is hoping that will change.
“We have to win out from here and hopefully we can make the playoffs,” Anzalone said. “I think we can do some damage.”
Follow Tom on Twitter @MSGV_TLiodice