The football team was buried in a 14-point hole. Babylon running back Trevor Fudim had already run for 80 yards, including touchdown runs of 18 and 2 yards. It looked like a long day ahead for the Knights.
That's when Knights quarterback Ryan Rielly and his offensive line took control of the game as top-seeded Glenn rallied past No. 3 Babylon, 34-26, to claim the Suffolk Division IV championship on Saturday at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.
Glenn (11-0) won its first county title since 1984 and the seventh in school history. Now the Knights advance to the Long Island Class IV championship vs. Nassau champ Seaford next Saturday, 4:30 p.m. at Stony Brook. Babylon closes the season 8-3.
Heroes: Rielly had his number called by the Knights sideline on nearly every single offensive play. Rielly completed 15 of 21 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns to just one interception. Rielly also carried the load for the Knights on the ground, leading the team with 201 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Rielly accounted for all but 3 of Glenn's yard from scrimmage in the game.
"Our tight end, Kevin Massa and our whole line did a great job," Rielly said. "Thomas Moore, the center; Bryan Shankman, the left guard; Joey Giaramita, the right guard; and the two juniors at the tackles, Kevin Dixon and Mike Diesu. They just did a great job. They were physical and they gave me time to throw, and that's all I can ask for."
Tom Forsberg and Jon Mannix were Rielly's main targets in the passing game. Forsberg had seven receptions for 123 yards, including a 54-yard bomb for a touchdown in the second quarter. He also had a big return after the Knights stopped Babylon deep in their own territory. Forsberg fielded the punt at midfield and returned the ball to the 25-yard line. It set up a 19-yard touchdown pass to Mannix to give the Knights a one-point lead in the third quarter. Mannix finished the game with four catches for 83 yards and two scores.
Lost in the Glenn victory was a nice performance by Fudim, who had 159 yards on 27 carries including 3 touchdowns for Babylon. Fudim got banged up on a play near the end of the first half. He returned for Babylon halfway through the third quarter, but wasn't as effective, gaining only 15 yards after that point.
Turning Point: The Knights received the kickoff to start the third quarter and immediately had success moving the ball. Rielly had runs of 8 and 18 yards to get the Knights into Babylon territory, but Rielly was picked off on a pass towards Mannix near the 10 yard line to end the drive. That's when the Knights defense made their stand, allowing only 9 yards and preventing a first down to force a Babylon punt. The two teams traded punts once again. Then Forsberg had his big return to give the Knights excellent field position and Rielly a chance to make up for his interception when he hit Mannix for the 19-yard reception that gave the Knights a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Quotable: "This was a hell of a high school football game," Glenn coach Dave Shanahan said. "It could have gone either way. There's no doubt about it. But Ryan Rielly is a hell of a player and no matter what they tried, we always found a mismatch and that's what we're trying to do. Our game plan was to find the mismatch here and there. The Babylon team should be proud of themselves. It's always a healthy battle with them and I have a lot of respect."
Bottom Line: This was the ultimate test for the Knights. They recovered from a 20-7 deficit to come back and win in convincing fashion. At the end of the game, they were in position to score once again, opting to run out the clock instead of running up the score.
The way the offensive line and tight end blocked for Rielly in this game was phenomenal. Rielly was able to set get to the edge and turn the corner on run plays to the outside for big gains, and if the offensive line can replicate their success next week, this team could be Long Island champions. Even on pass plays, Rielly keeps the play alive with his feet and turns them into long runs when receivers aren't open.
Key Stat: Rielly completed 71 percent of his passes in the game.
Who's Next: Long Island Class IV championship vs. Nassau champ Seaford, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.
Suffok Division IV Football Championship
Teams….........…1.....2.....3.....4 -- F
Babylon…........14...12.....0.....0 -- 26
Glenn..........……7...14.....6.....7 -- 34
B -- Fudim 18 run (Sguelia kick)
B -- Fudim 2 run (Sguelia kick)
G -- Rielly 16 run (Orkiszewski kick)
B -- Fudim 25 run (kick failed)
G -- Forsberg 54 pass from Rielly (Orkiszewski kick)
G -- Mannix 11 pass from Rielly (Orkiszewski kick)
B -- Shannon 3 run (pass failed)
G -- Mannix 19 pass from Rielly (run failed)
G -- Rielly 8 run (Orkiszewski kick)