The fifth seeded Sewanhaka Indians traveled to Wantagh to take on the fourth seeded Wantagh Warriors on Friday, Nov. 7 for its opening playoff game.
The Indians opened the game sluggish on offense, and were held in check throughout the first quarter. The Indians defense did its best to keep the team within striking distance, but field position form shaky special teams play, put them in a difficult position.
Warriors running back Dylan Beckwith, was able to punch in a 15-yard touchdown run, to give the Warriors a one score lead after the first quarter.
Beckwith would find the end zone again in the second, this time from six yards out, putting the warriors up 13-0. The Indians offense then began to click.
The Indians sustained two long drives, and were once again effective running the ball. They were able to claw their way back into the game behind a five-yard run from Shaheim Taylor-White and a 17-yard touchdown run from Brenton Mighty.
The Indians held the Warriors to only a field goal the rest of the second quarter, and went into the half, trailing 16-13.
In the third quarter, Indians Head Coach George Kasimatis was faced with a tough decision, when the Indians had the ball around their own 40-yard line, facing fourth and one.
“We have struggled punting the ball this season,” Kasimatis said. “That weighed heavily in my mind. We had punts of 15 or 20 yards and haven’t been able to flip the field.”
Kasimatis decided to go for it, putting the ball in the hands of his workhorse back, Mighty. However, the Warriors were able to come up with a big stop, stuffing Mighty, and forcing a turnover on downs.
The Indians were able to force a long third down attempt by the Warriors, but a conversion to tight end Corey Sachs, helped lead a touchdown drive, putting the Indians down 23-13.
“We went for it cause of our struggles punting, but we also had the wind [in our direction],” Kasimatis said. “We were confident we would get it, and then could start throwing it.”
Kasimatis said it could have been a different game had they converted on that play.
The Indians were able to run effectively the rest of the way against the Warriors, as Taylor-White punched in another touchdown and Mighty was able to eclipse 100 yards rushing.
In the passing game, quarterback, Elijah Tracey was able to get things going in the second half, connecting often with Yvans Oscar and Michael Parasconda.
However, it proved to be just a little too late, as the Indians fell by a final score of 30-21.
Despite the loss, Kasimatis is proud of the way his team played this season, the first in Conference II.
“I am really proud of how they played,” he said. “We had a lot going against us down 13-0 and we made adjustments and continued to fight.”
Kasimatis said his team played hard all season, and he is already looking forward to next year.