It took exactly seven seconds for Lynbrook’s Luke Spitzer to put his stamp on the conference III football quarterfinals against Division Saturday afternoon.
The senior took the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, setting the tone for a 33-13 Owls victory to earn Lynbrook a spot in the Class III semifinals next Saturday at Hofstra.
“He’s a special one,” Lynbrook Head Coach Stephen LoCicero said of Spitzer. “He does it all. They don’t come around too often like Luke.”
The opening return was just the first of four Spitzer touchdowns. After falling behind 7-6 midway through the first quarter, he found Anthony Rainone for a 20-yard touchdown pass. A two-point conversion put the Owls ahead 14-7, marking the final lead change of the afternoon.
Lynbrook’s defense came up big at the most important of moments. Rocco Scibelli intercepted Division quarterback Dylan Cardno late in the fourth quarter, squashing any chance of a Blue Dragons comeback.
“They came up really big,” LoCicero said of his defense, who intercepted two passes. “They executed a scheme that the coaches put together that was terrific, (but) the kids were the ones who were successful out their. We’re really proud of them.”
Hero: Spitzer - He simply could not be stopped. After taking a Division punt to the Blue Dragon 45, the senior scored on a 45-yard run with 8:52 left in the third quarter. Two Spitzer touches, six points. That was very much the story of the afternoon. He also let loose a few deep punts, pinning Division on the negative side of the field.
Turning Point: Lynbrook’s Matt Trotta intercepted Cardno in the red zone with 5:15 left in the first half. Three minutes later, Rainone caught a touchdown pass from Alex Weingarten, giving the Owls a 20-7 lead.
Quotable: “Anytime you win a playoff game, and you win 33-13, it’s an entire team effort,” LoCicero said.
“We were worried about big plays and we gave up big plays,” Division coach Ray Weidlein said. “They’re a good team. They beat us and they deserve to go to Hofstra.”
Bottom Line: The game was determined by big plays. When Lynbrook needed one, they got one. When Division needed one, they fell just short. After the Blue Dragons answered Spitzer’s opening kickoff return with a 76-yard touchdown of their own, Lynbrook adjusted defensively and prevented similar strikes by keeping opposing receivers in front of them. Those kind of in-game adjustments win playoff games.
Key Stat: Rainone caught two touchdown passes for Lynbrook.
Who’s Next: Lynbrook advances to the Class III semifinals at Hofstra, Saturday, Nov. 12. Time and opponent TBD as of Saturday night.
Nassau County Class III Quarterfinals
L- Spitzer kickoff return (Kick no good)
D- Cardno pass to Muller (Kick good)
L- Spitzer pass to Rainone (2 pts good)
L- Weingarten pass to Rainone (2 pts failed)
L- Spitzer run (2 points failed)
D- Cardno pass to Pedersen (2 points failed)
L- Spitzer run (Kick good)