Nestor Haddo’s spectacular 60-yard punt return for a touchdown with 4:18 left to play broke open a close game between Clarke and Mineola, propelling the Rams to a 27-13 victory in a Nassau Class IV football game Saturday at Clarke High School.
The Mustangs had scored two consecutive touchdowns to draw within one point when Haddo appeared to be down at his own 40. One Mineola defender had his jersey pulled, but could not hold on. Haddo managed to evade three Mineola tacklers who converged on him, breaking free and then scampered the rest of the way in front of the homecoming crowd at Clarke.
“I thought he was down, but he was able to work a little magic on that play,” Clarke coach John Boyle said.
“We had eight shots at the guy,” Mineola coach Dan Guido said, believing the players’ forward progress was stopped back at the 40. That play proved pivotal as the Rams tacked on a late touchdown to turn a tight game into their third win in four tries. Mineola’s record is now 2-2.
“Every time we play Mineola it’s the same type of close game,” Boyle said.
Clarke, which led 6-0 at halftime, scored on its first possession of the second half, an 8-yard pass from Jake Louw to John Fogarty. Fogarty then caught the two-point conversion pass from Peter Falgiano to stake Clarke to a 14-0 lead.
The Mustangs fought back with a pair of touchdown passes from Vinny Bieniek to both Bobby Rogers (18 yards) and Matt Long (14). Mineola had a chance to tie the game with 7:56 to play, but missed the conversion kick, leaving it at 14-13.
“A missed extra point and the punt return, that was it,” Guido said. “We made too many mistakes today.”
The Clarke defense came away with three interceptions in the game – one each from Haddo, Kyle Wenzel and Andrew Eannucci.
“The kids are working hard and getting better each week,” Boyle said.1 2 3 4 F Mineola 0 0 7 6 13 Clarke 6 0 8 13 27
Scoring Summary 1st Quarter MHS-C Clarke TD Falgiano 2-yard run
kick failed 0-7 3rd Quarter MHS-C Clarke TD Fogarty 8 pass from Louw Fogarty pass from Falgiano 0-14 Mineola TD Rogers 18-yard pass from Beinick Sullivan kick 7-14 4th Quarter MHS-C Mineola TD Long 14-yard pass from Beinick kick failed 13-14 Clarke TD Haddo 60-yard punt return Schwartz kick 13-21 Clarke TD Fogarty 19 pass from Falgiano kick failed 13-27