In an immediate test to see where it measured up to one of the best football teams in Conference III, Big Red opened the season on the road Saturday afternoon, losing to the Lynbrook Owls 38-20.
The Owls (1-0), who were playing their first game since winning the Long Island Class III championship last year, showed why they are still a force to be reckoned with this season. They dominated all facets of the game, including special teams, which accounted for one of their scores.
The defense forced four turnovers on the day, giving extra possessions to their run-heavy offense. Once on the attack, the Owls amassed over 200 rushing yards in the game.
“This is a group of seasoned kids who have comeback," said Lynbrook Coach Steve Locicero. "They played in a lot of games last year. We are very proud of an entire team effort. We have 72 kids on a roster. Everybody got in today and they all played, I thought, very well.”
On the other side, Big Red (0-1) knew it was going to have to control the line of scrimmage in order to compete. Their offensive line was unable to open up holes sizable enough for running back Chris Saperstein to find daylight and the defensive line had trouble with Lynbrook's option offense.
“We have 24 kids that haven't played varsity football before, out of 30,” said. “We had a tough first half, obviously. We had a good first quarter but then the mistakes that we predicted happened.”
Owls had a touchdown called back due to a penalty. An end-around that gave receiver Anthony Rainone a clear, 46-yard path to pay dirt but was called back on an illegal formation that would have given Lynbrook 13-6 lead very early in the first quarter.
Hero: Lynbrook quarterback Luke Spitzer was a human highlight reel, accounting for 172 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. He had a 50- and 44-yard touchdown runs, as well as a 60-yard punt return that he brought back for a score. His effort gave the Owls a 19-6 lead they would never relinquish. He also nearly had his third rushing touchdown in the first half, but his 30-yard scamper in which he was untouched was called back on a false start penalty.
Quotable: “We're not defending anything," Locicero said. "You can only defend something that people can take away from you and since they can't take a Long Island championship away – it's ours, we won it – we're just trying through go back to the process. That is the goal, but we're not defending that.”
Bottom Line: There were no surprises here. Lynbrook is a very good team and is expected to compete for the championship again this year. Glen Cove is trying to build on last season's playoff appearance but face a tough road, facing the top two seeds in the first four games.
Key Stat: The Owls defense never let Big Red establish a running game, holding Glen Cove to 33 yards on the ground in the first half.
Who's Next: Lynbrook @ Plainedge, Sept. 17, 1:30 p.m. Glen Cove @ , Sept. 17, 1:30 p.m.
Nassau Conference III Football
TEAMS............1.....2.....3.....4 -- F
Glen Cove.......6.....0.....0...14 -- 20
Lynbrook......19...12.....7.....0 -- 38
L – Spitzer 50-yard run (kick good)
GC – Famigletti 34-yard catch (kick failed)
L – Spitzer 44-yard run (kick failed)
L – Spitzer 56-yard punt return (conversion failed)
L – Rainone 39-yard catch (conversion failed)
L – Scibelli 9-yard run (kick failed)
L – Kelly 2-yard run (kick good)
GC – Fiorino 69-yard catch (kick good)
GC – Saperstein 12-yard run (kick good)