Hicksville upends Hempstead in opener
Hempstead took on Hicksville in a game that was everything that a high school football game should be -- filled with big plays, gutsy coaching, and a finish that made both sidelines bite their fingernails. Eventually the Comets of Hicksville came out on top 43-42 over Hempstead in a thriller.
Hicksville jumped out to a 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter with quarterback Mike McIlwee scoring his first of three rushing touchdowns on the day with 3:44 to go in the quarter.
The second quarter was for the defense. Hempstead forced a turnover and when Mark Braithwaite connected with Kabora Blackwell for a 72-yard touchdown reception, the Tigers found themselves with a 12-10 lead. The two teams traded possessions for the next seven minutes, until there was 3:28 left in the half, when Fitzgerald Cherubin made a big play for the Comets taking in a score for a 16-12 lead.
However, with 1:22 left in the second quarter, the next three plays made for a very exciting exchange. First, Hempstead’s Braithwaite picked off McIlwee on his team’s 30-yard line. The next play, Hicksville’s defense came up big as well. A big Comet rush led to Pat Rooney sacking and stripping Braithwaite of the ball, and his teammate Joe Germano hopped on the loose ball. Then to finish the mayhem, the very next play, Chris Durham caught a beautifully placed ball from McIlwee in the end zone for the score. Hicksville took a 22-12 lead to the break.
Trailing 10 points at the half was enough of a wake up call for the Tigers as they scored two touchdowns in the first 10 minutes of the quarter to grab the lead at 26-22. However, Hicksville would respond with a score of their own and grab back a slim 28-26 lead at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter was as good as it gets. Hempstead’s Raekwon Stith scored on a 77-yard touchdown pass. Then Hicksville RB Dan Yates took in a 4-yard touchdown run to make the score 35-34 in favor of the Comets. With 4:10 left in the game, Hempstead again came up with a big play. Tywan Watson caught a 51-yard touchdown to put his team up 42-35.
But that was too much time for the Comets, the offense was calm, cool, and collected as they ran and passed their way to the goal line. With 20 seconds remaining, it was McIlwee rushing the ball in again to setup a simple PAT attempt. However, the offense was able to draw the defense offside, and Hicksville decided that it was their chance to win. The ball placed on the 1-yard line was given to McIlwee again who found end zone once again for the 2-point conversion and that was the ballgame. Hicksville came up with a big 43-42 win to go 1-0 on the young season.