(Photos by Karen Spehler)
Heading into the fourth quarter on Saturday, the Cold Spring Harbor High School football team found itself playing from behind. In their homecoming game, the Seahawks (5-1) were down 14-13 to Oyster Bay (0-6) in front of a packed house.
“I think the crowd helped,” Head Coach Ben Zuk said.
With their home crowd behind them, the Seahawks marched down the field. The clock read 10:32 as quarterback Wes Szajna connected with his wide receiver Connor Crosson for a 32-yard score; following a 2-point conversion Cold Spring Harbor pulled ahead 21-14 and stayed there.
“It’s cool to see our mental toughness,” Zuk said. “I think it’s better that we won a close game instead of a blowout… It was really fun.”
A captain, Szajna led his team on 7-for-11 passing, racking up 115 yards through the air with 2 touchdowns and an interception.
“Wes is huge,” Zuk said of his senior. “We tried not to throw too much and to pick our spots, two of his big passes were scrambles where he found his receiver.”
Along with the fourth quarter-score, Crosson and Szajna also connected on a 7-yard touchdown pass earlier on in the game. On the ground, junior captain Alex Kaley amounted 89 yards on 7 attempts while sophomore Dylan Guarneri added 66 yards of his own on 9 attempts with a touchdown.
“We can go from a full house to a spread and be… decent at both,” Zuk said of his offense. “I’m not one of those guys who’s hooked into the idea of ‘this is who we are, this is what we are.’”
Versatility has played a part in the Seahawks five straight wins this season that have come following an opening day loss to Clarke (4-2). Cold Spring Harbor hasn’t lost since Sept. 12, and Zuk is hopeful his team be able to use the momentum in the playoff push.
“Hopefully we’ll make it there; right now we’re the 6-seed and the top eight teams make it in,” he said. “I don’t see us losing 15 power points [in the next two games]… but I’ll believe that we’re in when they put a playoff schedule in front of me.”
A trip to Valley Stream South (1-5) on Saturday at 2 p.m. and one last home game against Friends Academy (1-4) on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. are all that stand between Cold Spring Harbor and a playoff spot. One more win, Zuk said, and the Seahawks should get it.