VIKINGS LOSE IN HEARTBREAKER; SETS UP MUST-WIN GAME
By Tristan Vitale, Northwordnews
Coming into Saturday, the North Shore Varsity Football team held a 1-1 record after a week one win against Roslyn and a tough loss the following week to the 2nd seeded Plainedge. In a 14 team conference where only the top 8 teams make the playoffs, this led the 10th seeded Vikings into a pivotal week three match-up against the 9th seeded Spartans of Valley Stream North, also a 1-1 team. Not only would a win put the Vikings on a much simpler path to the playoffs, but it would also avenge last season's homecoming loss.
North Shore seemed up to the challenge at the start of the game. Their newly revamped, no-huddle offense came out hot, scoring touchdowns on three out of their four first half possessions. A few big plays kept Valley Stream in the game, but still the Vikings took a 20-12 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter though, the Spartans came out firing, scoring on their first possession then recovering an onside kick and scoring again to take the lead. With about 8 minutes left in the game Valley Stream had the ball deep in Vikings territory with a 33-20 lead, and the game seemed to be slipping out of reach for North Shore. However, a huge defensive stop and a quick score on a miraculous 90 yard catch and run off a pass from QB Michael Floccari to WR Michael Frahlich put the Vikings right back in the game.
Only down 33-27, North Shore's defense once again shut down the Spartans on their next possession, giving the Vikings the ball back with 6 minutes left in the game and the chance to either tie it up or take the lead in what would be an improbable comeback. Sadly, after a critical holding penalty, North Shore was unable to convert on their offensive possession, and was forced to give the ball back to Valley Stream with 3 minutes left in the game. The Vikings, hopeful for one last defensive stop, nearly got it until a 4th down touchdown pass sealed the game and a 40-27 win for the Spartans.
It was a hard fought battle between both teams from start to finish, and a game North Shore easily could have won. However, as stated by Head Coach Daniel Agovino after the game, "mental mistakes" made the difference between a win and a loss.
The loss now puts the Vikings in a situation where they must get a win in order to stay on path for the playoffs. This leads them into a week four match-up against Floral Park, another team with a 1-2 record, which will be played with a playoff-type atmosphere as a win for either team might potentially make the difference in extending their season down the road.
Traditionally, varsity games are played on Saturday afternoons, however due to the Jewish holidays, this week's game will be played on Thursday at 4 pm after school. Please come out to North Shore High School this Thursday to support the Vikings in this critical game as they look to get a much needed win to put their season back on track.
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