Otranto, Floyd take down Sachem East
They call it threading the needle. It is an art when a quarterback can throw a football into the tightest of spaces and find his receiver. Thus, the ball becomes the thread, thrown in an almost impossible space.
Floyd quarterback A.J. Otranto fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Banks between three defenders in the end zone to break a tie at 14 and propel the Colonials to a 27-14 win over visiting Sachem East Saturday in a Suffolk Division I football game. The fourth-quarter scoring pass came on the heels of Steven Casali's 5-yard touchdown run, which had tied the score at 14 for Sachem East.
"He made a perfect pass," Floyd coach Paul Longo said. "We responded well after they tied the score. I thought our defense played well and we were resilient. "
Otranto sat in the pocket as the defense raged around him and patiently waited for Banks to clear the safety and find an open spot in the end zone. Banks made a leaping catch as the ball came through the secondary. "It was all about concentration," Banks said. "There were all these arms and then there was the ball. It was a great throw."
Floyd (1-1) added another fourth-quarter score after the Colonials capitalized on a Jonathan Martinez interception off a tipped pass with 3:59 remaining. Four plays later, Diamonte Corley scored on a 4-yard run to seal the win.
"[Corley] was a spark that the offense needed," Longo said. "But this game was won with our defensive effort. Sachem has one of the best backs on Long Island and we contained him, somewhat. No one is going to completely stop him."
Sachem East's super back Casali gained 146 yards with two touchdowns on 25 carries and he made Floyd pay for its second turnover of the first half.
After a Ken Whigham interception, Casali took a toss at the Sachem East 43, swept around the left edge and split two defenders on his way to a 57-yard touchdown run to give the Flaming Arrows a 6-0 lead with 10:53 left in the half.
After the teams traded possessions, Otranto directed a methodical 11-play, 90-yard scoring drive, capped by a leaping touchdown grab in the back of the end zone by Martinez. Chris Hurtado added the extra point for a 7-6 lead.
This drive -- if Floyd is to make a significant run at another Long Island championship -- will be recalled as a benchmark as it came after four possessions that netted 23 yards, two punts and two interceptions.
Floyd opened the second half with another long drive. The Colonials went 83 yards in 13 plays and consumed 7:47 before Otranto scored on a 2-yard run for a 14-6 lead.
Sachem East responded with a seven-play, 79-yard drive punctuated by a Casali 5-yard scoring run. Wolff keyed the drive with a 27-yard pass to a diving Brian Balsamo. Casali added the two-point conversion run around left end to tie the score at 14.
It was the last time Sachem East threatened as middle linebackers Mark Coles and Dashawn Morton shut it down from there with help from outside backer Miguel Brennin.
"Brennin is our emotional leader," Longo said. "And having him out there energized the defense. This was not easy."