Last Friday, two longtime rivals: East Islip and Sayville, duked it out again for another title game.
It was a 4 p.m. game to decide the Division III Suffolk County champion at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University.
The two longtime adversaries have had many hard-fought bouts and the last time the two programs met in the Suffolk Title game was in 2021, when East Islip beat Sayville 35-28. But in much more recent memory, on Sept. 30, Sayville narrowly edged East Islip 20-13, and East Islip was out for some vengeance with the county title on the line.
The first half consisted of stellar defense on both sides of the ball. It was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter and it was mere seconds away from being scoreless at the half. But just before time elapsed in the second quarter, East Islip Kicker No. 8 Anthony Mariani kicked a 33-yard field goal through the uprights, giving his team a 3-0 lead as they trotted to the locker room for the intermission.
Sayville was held scoreless for almost 36 minutes, but with under 2 minutes left in the third, Kyle Messina caught a pass from Patrick Coan and ran all the way to the end zone on a 61-yard touchdown reception, giving his team 6, followed by the ensuing PAT (point after touchdown) from Nick Watson, and Sayville led 7-3 with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter. In the four quarter, Coan made a costly interception throwing from Sayville territory.
Coan’s pass went into the arms of Jack Kalinowski, as the defensive back caught it at the 49-yard line near the Seawolves logo and momentum shifted. No. 5, quarterback Thomas Costarelli, heaved a 30-yard pass that was received by Matt McIntee at the 2-yard line. No. 6 Andrew Cooper crossed the plane on a two-yard touchdown run then Anthony Mariani converted the PAT and East Islip led 10-7 with 9 minutes remaining.
A few minutes later, after Sayville failed to convert the first down on a turnover on downs, East Islip had the ball again and Costarelli connected to Cooper for a 28-yard touchdown toss; then another kick by Mariani gave his team 17 points with 4:45 remaining.
The final score was East Islip 17, Sayville 7. East Islip football is the 2023 Suffolk County champion! It is the fifth Suffolk County championship in school’s history. They will play South Side on Friday, Nov. 24 at 4:30 p.m., at Hofstra, for the Long Island championship. East Islip is looking to win their first LIC in 16 years, when they defeated Lawrence in 2007.