Long Island Varisty Football Championship Garden City vs Bellport
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DEFENSE SHINES, BUT TROJANS ARE EDGED BY BELLPORT IN LONG ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE 7,500 AT HOFSTRA by Jake White
Two heavyweights battled on the turf at Hofstra last Friday night, and when the final bell rang, there were no knockouts, just a narrow decision for the Bellport Clippers, 8-0, over the Garden City Trojans for the Long Island Class II Championship.
Both traditional powers came into the game with 10-0 records, having averaged nearly 40 points per game while giving up less than a touchdown. A crowd of about 7,500 turned out to see the long-awaited title game which featured two of the Island's legendary coaches, Tom Flatley of Garden City and Joe Cipp of Bellport, matching wits and game plans.
If good pitching stops good hitting as the cliché says, then good defense stops good offense, too. Neither team was able to do what they wanted with the ball and in the end, it was one play that decided who was number one. With 7:47 left in the second quarter, Bellport halfback Ed Gowins took a handoff on a straight dive play and quickly burst through the line. Two GC linebackers had a shot at him, but he broke their tackles and raced 74 yards to the endzone with the help of one final block at the 10 yard line.
The Trojans pass defense was rock solid, holding the Clippers to 3 completions out of 11 tosses and just 21 yards. Bellport did rush for just over 200 yards, but never seriously threatened except for Gowins' run. Nose guard Sean Locurto and taclke Nick Mancusi came in for special praise from coaches on both sidelines.
Bellport's defense was even a little better, using their superior size up front to limit the normally potent Trojan running game to 72 yards. Steve Carroll completed 6 of 11 passes, but for just 42 yards, and his fourth down completion to Justin Lynch was stopped just inches short of a first down, ending GC's last hope.
It was a great season for Garden City which swept through ten games to win the Nassau Conference II title, setting a scoring record in the process. But the players and coaches wanted more. "I got a Long Island plaque two years ago," said defensic end Chris Breslin. "But that one didn't feel like mine. I wanted to win it as a senior."
TROJANS WILL BE RANKED STATE'S NUMBER ONE CLASS A TEAM
Highly reliable sources indicate that when the final New York State Sportswriters Association Football Poll comes out on Thursday Garden City will share the top spot in Class A with Amsterdam High School (11-2) which beat Geneva in the State Championship game in the Syracuse Carrier Dome. The reasoning, we are told, is that Amsterdam lost twice to Class A teams while Garden City was unbeaten against "A" competition and lost only to "AA" Bellport in a very close game. Bellport will be ranked 4th in the state in AA.
EXTRA POINTS: Justin Lynch finished with 114 points scored, the second highest season total in GC history behind Coach Steve Finnell who set the mark of 127 in 1990....Chris Ciquera scored 72 and finished with 24 career touchdowns which ties him with Justin Lynch as the school's 5th all-time career scorer with 144 points....Ciquera rushed for 1,103 yards in his career (14th all-time), Lynch had 1,049 (21st all-time)....By the way, Justin has a fan in legendary Farmingdale caoch Don Snyder who said, "he really knows how to follow his blockers!".....Big crowds for the county and L.I. playoffs, at least five were over 5,000, but the biggest was GC vs. Bellport.