Rich Czeczotka and the football team kicked off the Long Island Class IV championship game in typical Back Friday fashion.
They made a mad dash for the end zone – again and again. The Knights jumped in front 35-0 just 15:57 into the game against Nassau champ Roosevelt and then wrapped a bow on their second straight title with a water bucket bath of .
The latter came in the closing moments of a 56-21 Glenn win before a crowd of 1,500 at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
“It feels like a million dollars,” said Shanahan, who capped his 17th season as Glenn’s coach with a 101-52-2 record.
Glenn (11-1), 43-3 since 2008, became the first school to claim since Babylon (2002-03) and just the third program since the advent of the LIC in 1992.
Credit a strong cast of 15 seniors, the anchor of a program that’s been to four straight Suffolk title games. that scored on its first four possessions.
“We were determined to make a stand on offense,” Czeczotka said. “We wanted to score as many points as possible. Especially since this was our last game. We wanted to go out on top.”
One week after exploding for three touchdown passes and rushing for 128 yards and two scores in a in the Suffolk Division IV title game, Czeczotka was nearly as impressive. The quarterback completed 14 of 20 passes for 142 yards against Roosevelt and rushed for 110 yards on 14 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
If Czeczotka was the catalyst, then Tom Forsberg was the finisher. The senior running back scored four touchdowns and rushed for 88 yards on 18 carries.
“Credit the offensive line,” Forsberg said. “They were picking up key blocks. Keep doing something if it’s going to work. That was our mentality.”
It was all Czeczotka and Forsberg on the opening drive. After throwing an incompletion on the first play from scrimmage, Czeczotka hit his next four passes to march the Knights to the Roosevelt 16-yard-line. Forsberg accounted for 20 yards on the drive. But it was Czeczotka’s 1-yard dive that put Glenn on the board.
While the offense mesmerized, the Knights won the game – and the title – on defense. Roosevelt’s opening drive was halted by cornerback Nick Wagner, who returned an interception 29 yards to the Rough Riders’ 11. It was the first of five interceptions for Glenn.
That was followed, on fourth-and-2, by a 3-yard touchdown sprint up the gut by Forsberg. kick made it 14-0 with 5:42 left in the first quarter.
“That was definitely a big swing,” Wagner said. “Our offense went down and scored real quick. To get that pick on their first drive really deflated them – we think – and gave us momentum.”
It snowballed from there. The defense held vaunted Rough Riders senior running back Erin Parker to just 6 yards on his first eight carries.
Only when veteran Roosevelt Coach Joe Vito moved Parker to quarterback did the Rough Riders get moving. But by then, Glenn held a commanding 35-0 edge.
Parker finished with 154 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries – including a 67-yard breakaway with 5:38 left – to pace the Rough Riders (8-3).
But the most remarkable performance of the day was turned in by Wagner, who set three Long Island championship game records. Wagner had a record three interceptions (giving him eight on the season). He returned one 68 yards for a score, an LIC record. Wagner added a 60-yard punt return for a score, the first in the LIC’s 20-year history. Wagner also had 15 yards receiving and 21 rushing, part of a complete performance.
Forsberg, Wagner and Co. have a football partnership that goes back to their preteen days playing for Commack PAL. No one could have imagined it would end so gloriously.
“When I was a little kid I didn’t even know,” said Forsberg, referring to what he and his teammates eventually accomplished. “To come out as a senior and leave everything on the field – it feels great. The words are indescribable.”
Long Island Class IV Football Championship
Teams.............1.....2.....3.....4 – F
Glenn............21...21.....7.....7 – 56
Roosevelt........0...13.....0.....8 – 21
G – Czeczotka 1 run (Orkiszewski kick)
G – Forsberg 3 run (Orkiszewski kick)
G – Forsberg 15 run (Orkiszewski kick)
G – Wagner 60 punt return (Orkiszewski kick)
G – Forsberg 1 run (Orkiszewski kick)
R – Parker 6 run (Sukhra kick)
G – Wagner 68 interception return (Orkiszewski kick)
R – Sanders 21 pass from Parker (pass failed)
G – Forsberg 4 run (Orkiszewski kick)
G – Czeczotka 25 run (Orkiszewski kick)
R – Parker 67 run (Sweeney run)