Football is a game of inches. Perhaps no team can attest to that more than the Syosset Braves. last Saturday at added to what has been a season of tough losses.
After an afternoon of missed opportunities for Syosset’s offense, the Braves took the lead with one minute left in the game. On the ensuing drive, Uniondale marched down the field and scored a game clinching touchdown with seven seconds showing on the clock.
“The game actually should not have been as close as it was,” Syosset Coach Paul Rorke said. “We let up a big play on defense and offensively we were sloppy throughout the game. We didn’t score as much as we needed to.”
The loss was the third of the year that was decided by five points or less. , thanks to a faked extra point. Two weeks earlier,
“When you go back and look at it, it really wasn’t one single thing,” Rorke said of the similarities between the three losses. “It was a combination of plays. As a team, you have to step up, make a play and shut your opponent down. We have not been able to do that. That’s not to say it’s been on any one facet of the game. We weren’t as productive as we needed to be offensively and we weren’t as tight as we needed to be on defense.”
As frustrating Saturdays mount, it would be easy for a group of teenagers to lose focus. But, according to Rorke, that has not happened to the Braves.
“Any of those [losses] has not been because of a lack of effort,” he said. “Here’s a team last week that’s 1-5 going into this game and these kids played really hard. These kids put forth a great effort. The kids, as a group, have been motivated.”
Syosset will close out the regular season Saturday against the East Meadow Jets at Syosset High School at 1:30 p.m. At 6-1 East Meadow is considered one of the top teams on Long Island. Its only loss came to perennial power Freeport last week. But the quality of opponent doesn’t change the expectations of the coaching staff.
“We expect them to play hard,” Rorke said. “In terms of keeping them motivated, one thing that we constantly talk to them about is their effort. We’ve done that since the beginning. If we can get them to put forth the right effort and make a few fortunate plays that go our way, we expect to come out on top.”
Saturday will mark the first meeting between the two teams since .
“No matter how it turns out, it’s the last home game for the kids,” Rorke said. “I expect the kids are going to play well.”