Last week the Sachem East football team went toe-to-toe against the number 1 ranked Connetquot on the road and came out with a dramatic victory. Since that win, it has been the buzz of the community--on the streets, on Twitter, on Facebook: everyone is still talking about "The Catch."
Ryan Dippel's 20-yard catch on the final play of the game sent Connetquot packing and Sachem East to the Suffolk County Championship game for the first time in its history.
They'll face William Floyd. A team that, on the eve of Sachem East's victory, eliminated Sachem North at Fred Fusaro Stadium with a dominating, but not exactly perfect, performance.
Sachem East will have its work cut out for itself if they want to hoist that trophy, but William Floyd is a team that can be gotten. Remember: Floyd's only two losses on the season are against Connetquot and Northport. Two teams Sachem East beat in the playoffs to get here. Here are some keys to tomorrow's game at Stony Brook University.
- Contain A.J. Otranto. It's tough to completely stop him, but he can be limited. Against Sachem North last week, Otranto broke a lot of tackles that would have held him to minimal yards. Sure-handed tackling is a must if they want to prevent big-yardage plays from the star QB.
- Spread the wealth. Ryan Dippel has emerged as a big weapon, and from this standpoint, probably would share MVP awards for last week's game against Connetquot. In addition to his winning catch, he scored the opening TD and pulled in an interception. Between Dippel, Balsamo and Casali, play-calling should spread the ball around and keep Floyd guessing.
- Turnovers. Floyd turned the ball over on its first two possessions last week against Sachem North. If Sachem East can capitalize on those mistakes, they'll give themselves a much-needed edge.
- Don't leave points on the board. Last week against Connetquot, they could have changed the complexion of the game if they had booted a short field goal to go up 17-7. Instead they went for a 4th-down conversion and failed. Against Floyd, if they get a lead, they need to stay ahead, and that means coming away with points every time they get inside the 10.
- Win the psychological battle. By that we mean over themselves. When Floyd turned the ball over twice early in the game against Sachem North, they never rattled. Floyd will never feel nervous or press, or make mistakes out of jitters. Sachem East needs to match that same coolness under pressure. A big key will be: if Sachem East starts to fall behind on the scoreboard, with the star players try to do too much on each play? Will they take risks they normally wouldn't? They kept their cool after losing the lead against Connetquot. They'll need to stay true to themselves and play with a level head to give themselves the best chance.
Sachem East vs. Floyd: Kenneth Lavalle Stadium. Stony Brook University: Sunday, November 25: 11 a.m.