Brett Stewart took Carey’s best shots. And then the Garden City quarterback gave the Seahawks his best shot.
Stewart picked himself up and rallied Garden City from a 12-point halftime deficit with two touchdown passes and a two-point conversion pass as the Trojans came back for a thrilling 22-18 win over Carey yesterday in the semifinal round of the Nassau Conference II playoffs at Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University.
Garden City (9-1) extended its dominance over Carey (7-3) in the post-season. The Trojans have won all six playoff encounters and hold a 21-3 advantage in the all-time series. The win moves Garden City into the championship game against Wantagh (8-2) on Sunday at Hofstra University at noon.
Stewart completed 17 of 30 passes for 163 yards and two interceptions and added 71 yards rushing. His second scoring pass, a 6-yarder to Spencer Bais in the fourth quarter that gave the Trojans a 13-12 lead, tied the Garden City all-time record for touchdowns thrown in a single season of 20 set by Matt Casey in 1998.
“I threw two interceptions in the first half and I didn’t get down on myself,” said Stewart. “You can’t do that. I wanted to get to the championship.”
Stewart reflecting back on his record-tying performance was less than impressed. He was more in tune to the delight of his teammates who celebrated all around him.
“This win was for the seniors,” Stewart said. “I don’t really care about records.”
Stewart’s toughness keyed the Trojans second half comeback.
Carey forged a 12-0 lead after quarterback Ray Catapano rolled right and lofted a long pass to a wide open James Carr down the visitors sideline for a 76-yard touchdown. The extra-point kick failed and the Seahawks led 6-0 with 6:30 left in the first quarter.
Carey added to its lead when halfback Conner Colasurdo took the direct snap and followed a big block from Sean Nagy to score on a 1-yard run. The two-point pass conversion failed with 5:51 left in the half.
Catapano completed 10 of 12 passes for 182 yards in the first half as the Seahawks went to intermission in control.
Garden City used a seven-play, 73-yard drive in 3:21 to cut the lead in half. Justin Guterding caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Stewart down the sideline and spun away from a defender for the score. Gerard Smith added the kick to make it 12-7.
“We wanted to prove people wrong,” Guterding said. “There were people who didn’t think we could win.”
Carey responded with a drive to the Garden City three, keyed by a 63-yard pass to Matt Robison. But on third down and goal, an errant toss was recovered by Guterding at the Trojans six.
Stewart directed a 12-play, 94-yard touchdown drive capped by a 6-yard pass to Spencer Bais. Tim McDonagh caught the two-point conversion pass and Garden City led 15-12 with 7:12 left in the game.
Catapano, who completed 23 of 31 passes for 353 yards and two scores, drove Carey 67 yards to the Trojans one and on fourth down and goal went back to the wildcat formation with Colasurdo in the backfield. He took the snap and dove into the left side of the line but was denied inches from the goal line.
After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty move the ball to the 16, halfback Scott D’Antonio reeled off an 84-yard touchdown run to seal the win. The first guy to congratulate D’Antonio was Stewart, the kid who got back up and led his team to the title game.