Sarra: Northport is the real deal
The score resounded across Long Island as if everyone was left in disbelief. It was three weeks ago when Northport upset Sachem North, 33-10, in a Suffolk I football game. The Tigers were responsible for the surge in Twitter hits and Facebook posts. The sixth-seeded Tigers had dismantled the Sachem North defense and shut down the Flaming Arrows' offense -- albeit without superstar halfback Trent Crossan, who'd scored eight touchdowns against Bay Shore earlier in the season.
With Crossan out of the lineup, the Tigers' second straight road win was dismissed as one of pure luck "because Crossan didn't play."
So back-to-back wins over Bay Shore and Sachem North weren't enough to make believers out of anyone. And a third consecutive road win over Lindenhurst, which had struggled, still hadn't caught anyone's attention.
Now, Northport has everyone's attention. The Tigers marched into Mastic Beach on homecoming and took apart Floyd, which was on a five-game win streak. If the jury was out on Northport -- it is no more.
"We didn't go to Sachem hoping we could compete," Northport coach Kip Lukralle said. "And I know we surprised some people. And we play against the people who line up against us. Our players firmly believed they would win at Sachem."
The beat goes on at Northport. Four straight road wins, including two over the first and second seeds in the division, has got to make believers out of those who were skeptical of the Tigers' rise.
"We're loving life right now," Lukralle said. "Our line coach Dave Wilson has our guys up front playing so well. And we knew we had excellent players at the skill positions."
Quarterback Sean Gilroy, a lefthander with great poise and remarkable composure, is the best passer in Lukralle's 27 years. Halfback John Trainor missed all of last year with a shoulder injury suffered in lacrosse, but he's playing at a high level, as is senior linebacker Alex Egglinger, the key to the defense.
"We told them at halftime at Floyd that we didn't come to win a half," Lukralle said. "We came to win a game."
If you weren't a believer in Tigers football, you should be now. It was Northport's first win against Floyd since 1995.
They're a team to reckon with.
How about Mercy football?
The private Catholic school in Riverhead is having quite the season. A combination of running the ball effectively and the passing of quarterback Asaiah Wilson helped Mercy beat Stony Brook, 27-14, late Friday night. The win enabled the Monarchs to record the school's first six-win season since 1986. Wilson threw for 114 yards and two scores and he ran for another. Halfback Reggie Archer had 162 yards, including a 57-yard scoring run. A win against East Hampton (2-5) on Friday at 7 p.m. will guarantee the Monarchs a home playoff game.
Some streaks go one way and others, well, go the other way. Northport football is living large with five straight wins after opening the season with two losses. Newfield opened the season with three victories and ran the school's longest win streak in 54 years to 10 games. The streak was snapped by West Islip and the Wolverines never recovered, losing four straight. A loss next week against North Babylon and the defending Long Island Class II champions are in danger of missing the playoffs.
Some teams are running by committee. Ward Melville is enjoying a 5-2 season and guaranteed itself a playoff spot -- for the first time since the power rankings began in Suffolk in 1992. In yesterday's 41-36 win over Patchogue-Medford, the Patriots shared the wealth as Brendan Hegarty, Jake Biro and Brendan Dooley each rushed for more than 100 yards. Hegarty had 162, Biro 155 and Dooley had 103 and two scores in only four carries . . . Lawrence quarterback Joe Capobianco is enjoying quite a season. The record-breaking junior threw for 357 yards and five touchdowns in a 63-0 win over unbeaten Plainedge. His 99-yard scoring pass to Jordan Fredericks on a shovel pass tied a Long Island record. He's thrown 23 scoring passes this season. The L.I. record is 34 by Oceanside's Tyler Heuer.