Glenn wins second-straight Class IV LIC
When John Glenn football crumbled into a celebratory pile after Friday's 56-21 victory over Roosevelt, the team, in unison, held up two fingers.
It could have been for the Knights' second straight Long Island Class IV championship. It could have been a V-for-victory. Or it could have been for Glenn's 1-2 punch.
Because while Tom Forsberg, who wears No. 1, scored a game-changing four touchdowns, it was Nick Wagner (No. 2) who set the record books on fire.
Wagner had a Long Island Championships-record three interceptions, including a 68-yard pick-six, the longest interception return in the tournament's 20-year history. And he became the first player to return a punt for a score in LIC history.
The defensive back/wide receiver added a team-high six tackles, two catches for 93 yards and a carry for 21 yards at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.
"I had no idea ," said Wagner, who was in turn amused, disbelieving and gregarious. "I'm just really happy . . . I was trying to make big plays. It was nice to have my name up there."
Glenn (11-1) went ahead 35-0 with 8:03 left in the second quarter, helped by a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Rich Czeczotka on Glenn's opening drive and 3-, 15- and 1-yard touchdown runs by Forsberg. The running back amassed 88 yards on 18 carries and added three catches for 17 yards. Czeczotka went 14-for-20 for 142 yards and added 110 yards on the ground, including a 25-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
"It's indescribable," Forsberg said. "Last year, to win the LIC as a junior, it felt great, but this feels even greater. This is my last game putting on football pads. It's an unbelievable feeling to go out on top."
And, after Forsberg scored twice in the first quarter, Wagner was quick and imaginative in his own production.
On fourth-and-13 in the opening seconds of the second quarter, Erin Parker booted a 28-yard punt to Wagner, who snagged it at the 40, cut right and streaked 60 yards up the sideline untouched for a 28-0 lead with 11:39 left in the half.
After Forsberg's 1-yard score, Roosevelt (9-3) responded with a 6-yard TD around right end by Parker, who later threw a 21-yard TD pass to Marquell Saunders and scored on a 67-yard run.
Parker's first touchdown was something of an aberration for the Glenn defense, which held Roosevelt to a yard of offense in the first quarter and amassed 139 yards on five interceptions. Glenn mostly contained Parker -- who has the Nassau record for most rushing yards in a season -- in the first half, although he finished with 154 yards.
"They watched a lot of film," Glenn coach Dave Shanahan said of his players. "They were able to jump certain routes. And our D-line got some pressure to force some hurried throws. That definitely helped our defensive backs . . . We wanted everyone to build a wall around [Parker] and close it in, because he can [get past you] you every single time."
In the last minute of the first half, Parker, in at quarterback for Rob Sweeney, unleashed a throw intended for Saunders on a deep out route. Saunders fell, but Wagner, in at safety, was there with waiting hands. His 68-yard return was his second record of the day and gave Glenn a 42-7 lead.
Even then, he was unsure of the result. "[I felt better] when the clock hit zero," he said. "We knew we were going to win after we were up by a couple touchdowns with five minutes left, but you're never too sure. You don't want to take it for granted."
While that may be the case, the second half did turn into a long coronation: Forsberg's 4-yard touchdown run followed by Wagner's third interception (and third record) of the game. The clock finally hit zero, and again, the Glenn Knights were declared champions. Easy as one, two, three.