Wantagh running back Brian von Bargen has been an asset for his team all season long on the offensive side of the ball.
Von Bargen proved his worth again last night under the lights at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium in the Nassau County Conference II playoff semifinal game against Elmont Friday night. The senior offensive weapon, who has committed to play lacrosse at Hofstra, scored a game tying touchdown in the second quarter on a two-yard run and the game winner from six yards out early in the fourth quarter to propel the Warriors (9-1) to the Nassau County Conference title game over Elmont, 14-6.
"We played this team two weeks ago so we knew what we were up against," said Wantagh head coach, Tom Casey, whose Warriors defeated Elmont 21-8 on Oct. 29 in snowy conditions "I thought we made the necessary adjustments in the second half and we got the ball in our best players hands, [von Bargen]at the right time."
Elmont scored the first touchdown in a game that would turn out to be a defensive struggle. Running back Qusarn Caldwell took the handoff from quarterback William Faison in the second quarter and scampered 51 yards to the endzone to the delight of the Spartan fans. The Spartans then failed ona two-point conversion leaving the score at 6-0.
Wantagh got on the board after blocking an Elmont punt on the subsequent possession. With great field position, VonBargen took the handoff from quarterback Nick Mullen and ran the ball into the end zone from two yards out. A missed extra point kept the score tied 6-6.
In the third quarter both teams went back and forth but were not able to move the ball from either side of the field.
The Warriors got a positive drive going in the fourth quarter bringing the ball 71 yards up the field inside the Spartan red zone. That is when von Bargen took the ball from Mullen and muscled his way inside the end zone from six yards out. Senior Matt Balzano followed that up with handoff from Mullen to score the two point-conversion for a 14-6 Wantagh lead.
The Spartans had one final drive left with under two minutes to go late in the fourth quarter. Faison completed a pass to tight end, Ben Odugbesan to get the ball on the Wantagh side of the field. On fourth down Faison aired it out towards the endzone but the ball was picked off by Joe Giardina to effectively end the game.
Coach Casey credited his defense with holding the Elmont offense to just six points in the game.
"I thought the D played a great game for us and they have been a solid unit for us all year," said Casey.
Wantagh will vie for a Nassau County title when it takes on unbeaten Garden City this Friday at 7 p.m. at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium. The top-seeded Trojans defeated Carey 27-0 in Friday's semifinals and handed Wantagh its only loss this season, .