Owls Upset Lawrence but Fall Short of County Title

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Owls Upset Lawrence but Fall Short of County Title

-Photo Courtesy of Christian Squitieri

-Photo Courtesy of Christian Squitieri

-Photo Courtesy of Christian Squitieri

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With their backs against the wall, clinging to a 2-point lead, the varsity Football team held on for dear life as senior captain Jonathan Cabral-Martin knocked away what would have been a game-tying Lawrence two-point conversion pass attempt, preserving a thrilling win for the Owls. Despite being a much lower seed than Lawrence (the Owls were ranked seventh heading on the road to play the second-seeded Golden Tornadoes), Lynbrook came out with a win and advanced to the second round of the Nassau County Conference III football playoffs.

As a team, the Owls put up more than 500 total yards on offense, with upwards of 400 coming on the ground. Cabral-Martin led the team with 250 rushing yards on the day to go along with three trips to the endzone. It helped that the offense dominated the line of scrimmage for the vast majority of the contest. Junior wide receiver Jake Belmont commented, “We were able to win as an underdog because we didn’t act like it. We decided to win despite what might normally be expected of us in that game.”

The opening frame of the contest was marked by ineffectiveness on behalf of both offenses, as both teams struggled to put points on the board early. From the first snap, however, the Lynbrook defense was locked in. Junior Dominick Barbuto led the way with 18 tackles and a sack, with junior Kyle Serro recording a sack as well as recovering a fumble. Senior Tyler Heaney also recorded a sack to accompany the outstanding defensive efforts of Jonathan Cabral-Martin, and fellow senior Jordan Camilo. The Owls’ defensive display during the first half gave the offense momentum, enabling them to finally reach the endzone. According to junior linebacker Danny Dalrymple, the defense knew it needed to make a statement if the Owls wanted to have a chance, as getting into a shootout with a talented Lawrence receiving corps would likely have spelled defeat. Dalrymple explained, “We realized how important it was to get ahead against Lawrence and not let their playmakers beat us; it was a great team effort.”

The Owls burst out of the gate in the second quarter, exploding with three touchdowns (one more than they scored during their previous meeting with Lawrence) and breaking the game wide open. Heaney, who also plays running back for the Owls, started the scoring bonanza off with a 12-yard run. The continued efforts of the Owls defenders kept the offense rolling on the field. This led to offensive success for the Owls, as Jonathan Cabral-Martin scored two of his three touchdowns during the quarter: the first a 28-yard score, and the second a four-yarder, which was capped by a Heaney run to convert the 2-point attempt.

The Lynbrook offense picked up right from where it left off at the start of the second half, with Lawrence unable to hinder the rushing tandem of Heaney and Cabral-Martin. Cabral-Martin rushed for a four-yard score followed by yet another successful 2-point conversion run by Heaney. Up 29 with all the momentum in the corner, it looked as if the Owls had all but locked this game up. However, Lawrence had no intention of going down without a fight.

Led by the arm of senior quarterback Christian Fredericks, the Tornadoes threw for two quick scores, with Fredericks using his legs to bring the score to 29-21, a one possession game. Late in the fourth quarter, a 3-yard Lawrence rushing touchdown brought the score to 29-27, but Cabral-Martin made arguably the game’s biggest play with his aforementioned pass deflection on the Tornado two-point conversion attempt.

While the win seemed like a major upset victory for the Owls, Head Coach Stephen LoCicero knew his team could pull out the win. “We played a great game: disciplined and aggressive…I knew if we did that, we would have a real chance,” commented LoCicero. LoCicero gave rightfully earned praise to top performers such as Cabral-Martin and Barbuto, but also to members of the scout team who were vital in preparation for the contest. “[Cabral-Martin and Barbuto] have both been playing great…Our scout team has prepared the team well, and they need to be recognized for their efforts getting the team ready….without them, we would not be successful.”

Unfortunately for the Owls, the magic ran out against top-seeded Plainedge in the county quarterfinals at James M. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University, but LoCicero knows that his team did everything it could, and this season was incredibly successful: “We played our best football in November thanks to the hard work and effort of the entire team. Everyday, every player gave undeniable effort. Great job by every player and coach!”

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