Lady Tiger flag football ends regular season with loss, wins playoff opener

Lady Tiger flag football ends regular season with loss, wins playoff opener

By Steven Zaitz

It’s a good news and bad news scenario for the Northport Lady Tiger flag football team.

Starting with good news, they clinched a playoff berth for the first time in team history and finished the year with an 8-4 record equaling a marked improvement from 2023 when they were 4-4-1.

After losing to Walt Whitman on April 10, the Lady Tigers strung together seven wins in a row, averaged 32.4 points a game during that stretch, and established themselves as a major factor on the Suffolk County flag football scene.

But that pesky bad news — in dropping their final two games of the season to North Babylon and Connetquot, scoring nary a point in either contest, Northport dropped to the eighth seed in the playoff tournament bracket and needed to win a play-in game against No. 9 Sachem East — which they did 19-14. Their reward? A date with the mighty and unbeaten Half Hollow Hills combined squad that has not lost a league game all year and has outscored its opponents 287-69. And oh yeah, the Lady T-Birds are the defending Suffolk County champs.

On a windy Saturday afternoon at Connetquot in Islandia, Tiger sophomore quarterback Grace Gilmartin, who has played brilliantly during the Tigers winning streak, was 9 for 26 for 82 yards and 2 interceptions. The second pick, by Connetquot linebacker Lilia Weeks, occurred late in the game and deep in Northport territory. Lady Thunderbird running back Ines Ruiz took an option pitch from quarterback Makayla Morganelli on the very next play 10 yards for the only score of the game. The final was 6-0.

Many of Gilmartin’s passes were knocked down or blown off course by the gusty wind in what was predictably a low-scoring affair for both sides – and is so often the case, the team that makes the biggest mistake ends up on the losing end. On this day, the pick by Weeks in the last five minutes of the game represented this mistake.

Connetquot played spoiler and they finished 3-4-2 and out of the playoffs. Northport has cleared its first hurdle with its playoff win against the Flaming Arrows. The next one against Half Hollow Hills will be higher.


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