By Bill Landon
The Patriots of Ward Melville (5-1), sitting in second place on the Division I leaderboard, were looking to win their final two games of the regular season in a quest to displace top-seeded William Floyd, starting with a home game against Longwood Friday night, Oct 20. It had rained most of the day on the grass field at Ward Melville High School, but the weather cleared in time for the 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Lions would strike first on a 30-yard pass play four minutes in for the early lead before Ward Melville senior running back Griffin Kramer answered the call with a 17-yard run to the end zone and with the point after tied the game at 7-7 all with five minutes left in the opening quarter. Four minutes into the 2nd quarter Longwood struck again with a quarterback keeper to put the Lions ahead, 14-7.
Ward Melville quarterback Ethan Burgos rolled out of the pocket and threw to the end zone finding wide receiver Brody Morgan for the touchdown. Both seniors finished the job when Burgos took the snap for the point after, and Morgan split the uprights to make it a new game at 14-14 with five minutes left in the half.
Longwood coughed up the ball on their ensuing offensive drive and the Patriots pounced when Burgos threw 20 yards downfield again to Morgan for a first and goal. Again, it was Kramer on the carry for the score, and the Burgos-Morgan duo put the Patriots out in front, 21-14, at the halftime break.
The Patriots never looked back when Burgos, on a keeper, punched in from 10 yards out for the score and followed it with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Morgan to take command of the game. Longwood found the end zone one last time midway through the final 12 minutes of play, but it was too little, too late as the Patriots prevailed 35-21.
Ward Melville will travel to Sachem East on Oct. 27 looking for another win in the regular season finale before postseason play begins Friday Nov. 3.
— Photos by Bill Landon