Lawrence crowned Nassau Conf. III champs
With three Fredericks brothers prepared to run wild in yesterday's Nassau III championship game, Lawrence quarterback Joe Capobianco might have been considered the team's fourth option. Not anymore.
The sophomore set a Nassau County playoff record with 333 yards passing and tossed four touchdown passes to lead the Golden Tornado to a 64-34 victory over Plainedge at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium. Lawrence (10-1) will face the winner of today's Sayville-Westhampton game next weekend at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.
"People thought the Fredericks brothers would take the game over, but we just passed the ball," said Capobianco, who completed 11 of 18 passes. "My line gave me like 10 seconds to throw. I knew the receivers could get open. I just had to make my reads."
He did that so well that he set the record on a play where his receiver, Ryan Fredericks was . . . yes, indeed, the fourth option. "It might've been the shortest pass he threw but maybe it was the best because he checked down three times," Lawrence coach Joe Martillotti said. "It was the fourth read."
Capobianco surpassed the Nassau playoff record of 273 yards set by Syosset's Chris Kupec on Nov. 14, 1970, with a little dump pass to Fredericks. The senior and oldest of the varsity brother act darted and danced away from a couple of tacklers before breaking loose for a 62-yard catch-and-run play that put Lawrence ahead 51-34 with 9:28 left in the fourth quarter.
That play was part of a spectacular second-half offensive explosion that included 31 unanswered points after Plainedge (7-4) took a 34-33 lead early in the third quarter on a 77-yard pass from Nick Frenger to Tyler Manez. "Originally, I was the blocker," Fredericks said of his second touchdown. "But coach said big-time players make big-time plays. I was hoping he would dump it to me."
The Fredericks' brothers were hardly invisible. Tyler, a junior, carried 18 times for 114 yards with three touchdowns. Jordan, a freshman, caught three passes for 54 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass, and added a 26-yard TD run.
"It's an awesome feeling to win this championship playing with my brothers. I'm a senior and I wasn't losing this game," said Ryan, who wasn't particularly surprised at the Golden Tornado's offensive explosion. "I'm kind of used to it. We're a very good second-half team."
With a very confident young quarterback who would love to slug it out with Sayville's record-setting quarterback Steven Ferreira. "I hope we play Sayville. I'll break my own record next week with 400 yards and we'll win the LIC," Capobianco said.
Capobianco was partial to junior wide receiver Ed Robinson, who caught four balls for 147 yards, including scoring passes of 18 and 67 in the second quarter, helping Lawrence grab a 33-28 halftime lead. "The first one was a post-corner and Joey made a nice throw," said Robinson, who made a leaping catch. "The other was a slant and I just stopped and turned it upfield. They really keyed on the Fredericks brothers, who have been unstoppable all year. We knew we could pass on them."
Plainedge showed some firepower of its own, with Ralph Caccavale rushing for 109 yards and Frenger (14-for-38) throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns. But Frenger also had three interceptions as he was forced to play catchup for most of the second half. The teams combined for 990 yards, with Lawrence getting 624 of them.
"Sixty-four points is a lot, but I think we're capable of that every week," Martillotti said.