Floyd claims fourth straight Div. I title
Marc Coles is all about hitting someone, anyone, in an opposing uniform. The unheralded two-way star isn't interested in accolades or stats. He is focused on one goal -- the Long Island Class I football championship.
"Anything short of an LIC is a failure," Coles said. "Our goal since training camp was to win the LIC. And we're one win away."
Coles and his Floyd teammates took a giant step toward that end when the Colonials amassed 484 yards in an offensive explosion for a 61-27 victory over Sachem East Sunday to capture the Suffolk I title at LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook University.
It was Floyd's fourth straight Suffolk I crown. Floyd (9-2), the defending Class I champions, will meet Farmingdale (10-1) for the Long Island Class I crown on Friday at Shuart Stadium in Hofstra University at 3 p.m. Senior quarterback A.J. Otranto made that possible as he threw for 108 yards and three touchdowns.
"I love this game and it's why I get up in the morning," said Otranto, who has 21 scoring passes on the season. "Football is what I live for. I owe my success to the blocking of my offensive line and my backs. Without them I am nothing."
Coles was an integral part of that blocking scheme. He repeatedly picked up blitzing linebackers and gave Otranto time to throw. He also cleared the way for halfbacks Diamonte Corley (10 carries, 164 yards, two TDs) and Chris Faison (10 carries, 140 yards, two TDs) to run all over the Sachem East defense. Floyd scored on nine of 10 possessions in the game, including six straight when they put the game away in the second half.
"They couldn't stop our offense but we allowed them to control the clock for long amounts of time and that kept them in the game through the first half," said Floyd coach Paul Longo. "And I thought Coles had a great game on both sides of the ball."
The Floyd offense was efficient in the first half, scoring on their first three possessions. Otranto found Vantrell Nash for 19 yards and the opening score and added a 23-yard strike to a wide-open Corley for a 14-6 lead with 8:07 left in the half.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, Billy Kaastra returned the punt 31 yards to the Sachem East 30. Two plays later, Faison followed a huge block from Coles and bulled two defenders into the end zone for an 11-yard scoring run for a 21-6 lead with 5:51 left.
Sachem East (6-5) battled back from the two-score deficit with a 15-play, 77-yard touchdown drive. The Flaming Arrows, keyed by two 10-yard passes to wide receiver Brian Balsamo, used 5:28 of the clock and scored when halfback Steve Casali rumbled over the left end for a 12-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds left in the half. The two-point conversion pass intended for Ryan Dippel was knocked away by Kaastra as Floyd held a 21-12 lead.
Sachem East held a big edge in time of possession in the first half, 16:48-7:12 but trailed by nine.
"That was huge for Steven to come up with that touchdown," said Sachem coach Mark Wojciekowski. "But their offensive line was dominating and continued to drive us off the ball in the second half."
Floyd would ride the legs of Corley, who had two 59-yard scoring runs and Faison who added a 16-yard touchdown in the third quarter, to help the Colonials build a 42-19 lead.
"I'm very proud of our program," Longo said. "We were firing on all cylinders on offense, and when they jammed the box we made them pay with our vertical game. It's a nice combination when the run can open the pass. And Coles is the key. Just a great player at fullback and linebacker clearing the way for our backs by isolating defenders and taking them out of the play."
Casali finished with 39 carries for 272 yards and four touchdowns in a workmanlike effort that drew praise from Longo.
"I'm glad we're done playing against him," Longo said. "He's a great player."