John Trainor got the handoff on a blast play, but took off like a rocket instead. The Northport High School senior running back was supposed to dive into the heart of the Sachem North defense.
What he found was a gaping hole. Trainor jetted through and didn’t stop until he reached the end zone 14 yards later. That’s how Northport football finished the opening drive Saturday against Suffolk Division I heavyweight Sachem North.
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It was an authoritative statement by someone who did not even touch a football last season.
Trainor tore the labrum in his right shoulder two summers ago playing lacrosse. It meant a lost football season. He watched with agony as the Tigers missed the playoffs.
Now Trainor has his life – and the Tigers – back on track. Northport, behind his 145-yard, three-touchdown performance, scored a mammoth 33-10 upset of previously undefeated Sachem North.
“When I was told I wouldn’t be able to play I was heartbroken,” Trainor said. “During the off-season I really got after it in the weight room. That’s where it started. I was looking forward to this football season. It’s my last one.”
The top-seeded Flaming Arrows (4-1) averaged 44 points a game heading into the Week 5 road test against Northport. But it was the Tigers who looked like the offensive juggernaut.
Northport (3-2) scored on all four first-half possessions and six of seven drives to knock off the Flaming Arrows. The Tigers ran for 200 yards and senior quarterback Sean Gilroy completed 10 of 16 passes for 152 yards against a fearsome Sachem defense.
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The Northport football faithful have waited for this moment. Sachem is 19-4-2 all-time against Northport dating back to 1975, according to historian Chris Vaccaro. Northport won meetings in 1991, 2004 and 2007.
“They’re the No. 1 seed," Northport Coach Kip Lukralle said. "One of our coaches said, ‘It’s not a rivalry with them. It’s not a rivalry until we beat them and take something from them.’ And that’s true.”
After Trainor’s opening touchdown, Northport went up 14-0 on Nick DeCeglia’s 13-yard sweep. The Tigers took a 20-7 lead into halftime thanks to a pair of Matt Smith field goals.
Sachem countered. The Arrows took the first possession of the third quarter and drove 52 yards on 10 plays. But quarterback Mike O’Donnell – filling in for injured starter Trent Crossan – threw a short completion on second-and-long and missed on third down. Kicker Bryan Morris booted a 30-yard field goal to close the gap to 20-10 midway through the third.
It wasn’t the message Sachem Coach Dave Falco wanted to send.
“When you don’t show up to play, and you’re not ready to play emotionally, that’s what’s going to happen,” Falco said.
Northport simply went back on the offensive, marching 83 yards capped by a 1-yard dive by Trainer.
Tyler Andreassi ran for 88 yards on 15 carries and Kevin Bragaglia added 92 yards (62 on a breakaway touchdown) for Sachem North. Yet there was no spark. One of Long Island's most feared rushing attacks could not shake Northport.
Sachem North, coming off an emotional 21-14 win over district rival Sachem East, showed little fire when it was most needed.
For Northport, this win is the latest in a special run. It comes off two straight impressive victories after an 0-2 start.
“In terms of wins," Lukralle said, "there’s none bigger than that.”
Suffolk Division I FootballTeams 1 2 3 4 F Sachem North 0 7 3 0 10 Northport 14 6 6 7 33
N – Trainor 14 run (Smith kick)
N – DeCiglia 13 run (Smith kick)
S – Bragaglia 62 run (Morris kick)
N – Smith FG 35
N – Smith FG 34
S – Morris FG 30
N – Trainor 1 run (Smith kick)
N – Trainor 18 run (Smith kick)
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