After winning their conference for the past four seasons, the 2011 Seaford football season came to a dramatic heartbreaking end in the quarterfinals of the Conference IV playoffs on Saturday.
Trailing 21-16 late in the fourth quarter, fourth-seeded Seaford drove down the field and fell a half yard short of the end zone on fourth down play with 1:20 remaining in the game to give fifth-seeded Valley Stream North (7-2) the upset victory.
Seaford sees its 2011 season end at 5-4 and for the first time since 2006 will not be crowned Nassau County Conference IV champions.
“They are incredible team with such a great history,” said Valley Stream North Head Coach Tom Shiavo moments after his team’s upset road win over the Vikings “We had a great week of practice which led us to have a great game.”
Seaford was able to jump out early on their second possession with a 15-yard pass to Nick Fischetti to give the Vikings a 6-0 lead. The Seaford offense then began to struggle despite hard runs by Fishetti and Alex Rodriguez during the game, failing multiple times to convert on fourth and short situations. With Seaford struggling on offense Valley Stream North was able to take advantage with two touchdowns by Bill Patsos giving the Spartans a 14-6 lead at the half.
The momentum seemed to turn in the second half when trailing by eight, Brian Gilbert of Seaford picked off All-County Quarterback Anthony Martelli for 58 yards, which set up a Viking field goal to bring Seaford back into the game at 14-9.
Both teams traded touchdowns with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Martelli to Jesse Oppenheimer for Valley Stream North and a five-yard scoring run for Nick Fishetti to set the stage for the final drive for Seaford.
With less than seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and deep in their own territory, the Viking offense was able to get both their running and passing games going. The Vikings effectively moved the ball down inside the Spartan 10 yard line to set up a first and goal situation.
After three failed attempts to reach the end zone, Seaford was sitting at the five yard line with only one shot left to continue their season. Vikings Quarterback Tyler O’Donnel was able to find an open Nick Fishetti but he was met at the goal line by two Valley Stream North defenders who were able to push him out of bounds a half yard away from the goal line.
“Our team really was able to step up for this game,” said Patsos.
The Titans will now move on to the Nassau County Conference IV semifinals at Hofstra University this Thursday.
Seaford head coach Rob Perpall declined to comment after his team's heartbreaking season-ending defeat.
Seaford entered this season winners of 43 in a row against Nassau County opponents before the remarkable streak was on Sept. 17. The Vikings four losses in 2011 all came by eight points or less.