The Ward Melville Patriots looked to make it two wins in a row of this early football season in front of their home crowd Friday night, after their impressive season opening, 34-12, road win over Sachem East a week earlier.
After falling behind by two scores, the Patriots clawed their way back in the opening minutes of the third quarter off a three-yard touchdown run by senior running back Nick Gaffneym who set up the play before courtesy of a 57-yard pass play to wide receiver Brody Morgan. The point after kick failed at the 9:05 mark as the Patriots trailed 13-6. Morgan answered next with another pass reception from quarterback Andrew Belli this time covering 29 yards for the score to trail by one. Again, Morgan finished what he started, kicking the extra point to tie the game a 13-13.
Longwood found the endzone to retake the lead with 1:52 left to go in the third and with the kick retook the lead, 20-13. Four minutes into the fourth quarter the Patriots defense stalled Longwood’s offensive drive, forcing them to kick a field goal to stretch their lead, 23-13.
Ward Melville answered with a Belli 15-yard pass play to Jackson Weber who found the endzone, and with Morgan’s foot, trailed 23-20. The Lions were able to fend off the Patriots late game surge to put the game away in the Sept. 16 Division I matchup.
The loss drops the Patriots to 1-1 and will look to resume their winning ways Sept. 24 with a road game against Commack. Game time is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.