Sachem North continued on its quest towards a county championship with a victory over cross-town rival Sachem East Friday afternoon.
North, who benefited from five Dalton Crossan touchdowns, pounded East, 57-6, in the Suffolk County Division I semifinals before more than 4,000 fans at Fred Fusaro Alumni Stadium.
Sachem North (9-1) advances to its third straight Suffolk County championship and will play William Floyd next Sunday at Stony Brook University. Floyd beat Longwood, 19-13, in the other county semifinal.
Crossan finished with 17 carries for 248 yards and five touchdowns, which ties a program record for scores in a game. He also tied it in Week 8 against Lindenhurst and is only the second player to do it twice in one year at Sachem. Crossan also broke Sachem's career rushing touchdown record. He now has 47, one more than James O'Neal's 46 set in 1994-1995. His 32 rushing touchdowns this season also ties O'Neal's single-season mark.
"It ultimately comes down to Dalton Crossan," said Sachem North coach Dave Falco. "He’s a special player. He’s really led this team every step of the way."
Crossan scored all five touchdowns in a row, three in the first half and two in the second half. Sachem North led 22-0 at halftime and outscored East, 35-6, in the second half with mostly back up players on the field. Malik Pierre and Kevin Lathan (2) combined for three touchdowns.
East's Billy Merrone scored his team's only touchdown on a 2-yard dive play in the third quarter.
East's Steven Casali, who finished with 15 carries for 32 yards, did not play the second half. He was hurt during the fourth quarter against West Islip in the quarterfinals last week.
Sachem East (6-4) had its most successful season to date, breaking regular season and playoff records for wins and points scored.
"You have to give a lot of credit to the Sachem East coaching staff," Falco said. "They did a great job getting that program back on its feet."
Sachem East coach Mark Wojciechowski did not offer comment after the game.
For many, the game was not the easiest contest to be involved with. From players to former coaches, there are many on both sidelines with similar backgrounds and spirit within the Sachem community.
Legendary Sachem coach Fred Fusaro took part in the ceremonial coin toss prior to the game. He was torn, having coached both Falco and Wojciehowski, not to mention most of the assistant coaches.
"I’m happy that both programs are doing well," he said. "Woj has done a fabulous job at East and David has continued with everything that has gone on at North. The atmosphere was great. It’s obviously a rivalry. The fact that I coached all these guys at both schools adds to it."
Others like North assistant coach Alex Grimm, who played three years at Sachem North before playing his senior year at Sachem East during the first year of the historic split, just took it as another game to get to the championship.
"This is my home and I have ties to here as well," he said. "At the end of the day it’s just a football game to see who gets to the county championship and it really doesn’t matter who lines up."
Sachem East assistant Jay Mauro, who is also a dean and the head lacrosse coach at Sachem North, actually had to coach against some of his own lacrosse players.
"I believe they know in their hearts that I care about them and would do whatever I can for them," said Mauro, who decided to coach at East because his mentor Wojciechowski took over the program and he wanted to help him. "Regardless if it was at Sachem East or another program it wouldn't matter. I love my guys who play for me in the spring. They are all great kids."
Sachem turns its attention to rival William Floyd yet again. The Flaming Arrows have played the Colonials more times the last three years than any other opponent (2-3).
"We’re going to be prepared," Falco said. "The key for us is not putting the ball on the ground and running the football. It’s going to be the same formula."
"We’re excited to get back to the county championship game, especially against Floyd," Crossan said. "We’re going to be coming for them."
Fourth and Long
- This is the fourth time the schools have played each other on the gridiron. Sachem North leads the series, 3-1. The 57 points scored are the most Sachem has recorded in a game in its 50-year history in both the regular season and playoffs.
- Check Sachem Patch all week long for coverage leading up to the Suffolk County Division I Championship.
N: D. Crossan 39 run, Morris kick
N: D. Crossan 20 run, Morris kick
N: D. Crossan 39 run, 2 pt conversion
N: D. Crossan 50 run, Morris kick
N: D. Crossan 9 run, Morris kick
N: Pierre 64 run, Morris kick
E: Merrone 2 run, missed kick
N: Lathan 3 run, Morris kick
N: Lathan 12 run, Morris kick