Pierre, Sachem North upend No. 22 Connetquot
With several Sachem North starters on the sideline with an assortment of season-ending injuries, the Flaming Arrows delivered a message: Hey, don't forget us!
Malik Pierre ran for two touchdowns, passed for two on the halfback option and returned a kickoff for another score as Sachem North jolted previously unbeaten Connetquot, 49-28, Friday night at North.
North was the host team even though it was a Connetquot home game on the schedule, because the Thunderbirds' renovated home field is not yet complete. Clearly, though, the Flaming Arrows were comfortable on their own turf.
Especially Pierre. He carried 18 times for 201 yards, including touchdowns of 62 and 4 yards, returned a kickoff 89 yards for a score, and threw halfback option passes for touchdown of 23 and 6 yards to Matthew Ward. He also made a crucial interception in the end zone to snuff out a Thunderbirds drive late in the first quarter, returning it 31 yards. Kevin Bragaglia concluded the ensuing drive with a 6-yard scoring run that put Sachem North (6-2) ahead to stay, 21-14, on the first of Brian Morris' seven PAT kicks.
Connetquot (7-1) will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in Suffolk I. North enters the playoffs with renewed hope, even though stars such as Trent Crossan and Tyler Andreassi were among those enthusiastically cheering on the team in street clothes on the sideline and will not return for the playoffs.
"Expect some wrinkles from us tonight," North coach Dave Falco said before the game, and wrinkles there were.
The most obvious were the two halfback option passes from Pierre that produced touchdowns to Ward. Then, to start the second half, Sachem North, which ran for 370 yards, surprised Connetquot on the first play from scrimmage with quarterback Mike O'Donnell throwing deep to Ward for 55 yards, setting up Pierre's 4-yard scoring run that made it 35-21.
Bragaglia contributed 83 yards on 17 carries, including touchdown runs of 6 and 1 yard. He also intercepted Brian McKean, who was 12-for-20 for 213 yards, with three touchdown passes to Tyler Nason on plays covering 58, 52 and 41 yards.
But on a night of big plays, Sachem North had the most and the biggest. Suffolk I beware.