Third time's the charm: Floyd tops in Class I
Stacey Bedell cried before the game . . . for the first time.
Stacey Bedell hurdled a tackler during a game . . . for the first time.
Stacey Bedell exceeded 400 yards rushing in a game . . . for the first time.
Stacey Bedell won a Long Island championship . . . for the first time.
"This is all I wanted. It feels amazing," Bedell said after Floyd held off East Meadow, 54-47, Sunday night at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium before more than 6,000 in the Long Island Class I championship game. Both teams finished 10-2 as Floyd won its fourth LIC title.
"I really wanted this so bad," Bedell said. "I was emotional before the game that I was crying in the locker room because it was my last game."
From the moment Bedell opened the scoring with a breathtaking 80-yard run eight minutes into the contest, it was clear the Floyd senior was going to have a memorable finale. Each of his touchdowns was more spectacular than the next -- the others were runs of 51, 59 and 80 -- as Bedell amassed an LIC-game record 412 yards on 29 carries (14.2 average per carry).
The old mark of 303, set by Omar Palmer of North Babylon in 1999, fell on Bedell's second 80-yard dash. On that third-quarter run, he swept left, turned the corner and raced down the sideline. An East Meadow defensive back had the angle, but Bedell, running at full speed, somehow applied the brakes, stutter-stepped backward and cut back to the middle and into the end zone untouched.
Believe it or not, that wasn't his best move of the night. Late in the first quarter, Bedell took a handoff and darted up the middle. Not much room for mere mortals, but Bedell shook off a tackler, sidestepped another and leaped over a third and into the clear. "That's my first time jumping over someone in a game," Bedell said. "I was going to do anything I could to win."
Bedell, who finished with 39 touchdowns, 2,011 yards and a school-record 72 TDs for his career, was especially motivated because he recalled a tearful conversation he had with his friend, receiver Vantrell Nash, after last year's 62-35 loss to Freeport. It was the Colonials' second LIC loss to the Red Devils in Bedell's two previous seasons. "I told Vantrell to pick his head up and that we would be back. I promised him."
For all of Bedell's theatrics, his promise nearly ended up with another heartbreak. East Meadow rallied twice from 21-point deficits, and tied the score at 47 with 2:34 left in the game on Dylan Curry's 22-yarn run and Rob Healy's two-point conversion run.
Healy rushed for 171 yards and a touchdown and caught a 31-yard TD pass as the Jets actually outgained Floyd on the ground, 444-402. Billy Andrle ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns. Curry ran for 93 and passed for 92.
Floyd won it with a 68-yard scoring drive, with Bedell going 39 yards on the first play and gaining the first 50 yards. On third-and-9 from the 18, A.J. Otranto faked to Bedell, rolled right and hit Corey Banks in the end zone. "Even on third-and-9, I figured they'd be looking for Stacey," Floyd coach Paul Longo said. Davante Smith, who had a 75-yard TD on a kickoff return, sealed the win with his second interception of Curry with 54.7 seconds left.
"Stacey never ceases to amaze me," Longo said. "He comes to play in big games. We needed every one of those yards on that last drive, and he must've been exhausted. But he came through."
For the last time.