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Sachem's Suffolk County Championship History

Varsity vs William Floyd HS on 11/20/2011 4:00:00 PM
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 by Sachempatch.com

Sunday marks the 16th time the Flaming Arrows have played in a county championship game.

 

Sachem is no stranger to the Suffolk County championship, having played in it now 16 times in the last 50 years. They have won six titles.

The Flaming Arrows are tied with Babylon and East Islip for the most apperances in a Suffolk County title game with 16. Sayville (15), West Islip (15), Bellport (14), and North Babylon (11) aren't far behind.

Of the 15 games already played - Sunday's is 16 - Sachem has captured six county titles, the last coming in 1995. Sachem has lost their last five apperances in the Division I final dating back to 1996, including the last two to William Floyd.

The first title win was a memorable victory over Patchogue-Medford in 1977, which former Sachem coach Fred Fusaro credits as a game that helped him keep his job early during his career. More in-depth, he credits John Matheis' interception in the fourth quarter as the play that saved his Sachem coaching career since it secured the victory.

“The ball went up and they had two big tight ends like redwoods go up for the pass," Fusaro said. "They were both in the end zone and it crossed them and went into our guys’ hands."

The following year in 1978, Sachem beat Boomer Esiason and East Islip, 15-0. The Redmen didn't cross the 50-yard line and Boomer was 4-for-11 passing for 33 yards.

The 1983 victory over East Islip is something that many say shouldn't have happened. Why? Quarterback Michael Johnson was "over the line" of scrimmage when he threw a pass that was caught by Michael Botti in the endzone. The game has subsequently been called the "over the line" game.

Sachem gained possession with five minutes remaining at their own 20-yard line and drove down the field.

“With six seconds left on the clock, Michael Johnson hits Michael Botti in the end zone for the game-winning score,” said current Sachem coach Dave Falco.

Johnson threw up a prayer from 34 yards out and was hit by two East Islip defenders as he released the ball. Originally, Johnson rolled out of the pocket in search of tight end Mike Passantino, but he wasn’t open. Instead, the ball floated to Botti, who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“I didn’t even know I was in the end zone,” Botti told Newsday after the game. “I only knew it was a touchdown when the whole team rushed over and piled on top of me.”

In 1986 Sachem had its most prolific defense, allowing just 44 points. Led by a handful of noteable names from Sachem's past, the Flaming Arrows shutout West Islip, 14-0, in the county final.

“We had high expectations,” said Dave Shanahan, a starting running back on the 1986 team and the current head football coach at John Glenn High School. “Our expectations were to go to the county championship and win it."

In 1995 Sachem advanced to its first and only Long Island championship with a 21-0 win over Longwood, a team that beat the Flaming Arrows earlier in the seaosn.

Matt Clark led a 14-play drive that ended in a 3-yard touchdown by James O’Neal in the second quarter and that turned out to be all the Flaming Arrows would need. O’Neal scored two other touchdowns in the game as well, one a 1-yard dive play and the other a 3-yard pattern of similar proportions. Dave Caputo, the defensive coordinator at Sachem today, intercepted two passes in the game; setting up both of Sachem’s final scoring drives.

The Flaming Arrows won during their first four appearances in the championship 1977-1979 and 1983.

Sachem's championship apperances have come in threes: 1977-1979, 1983-1986, 1994-1996 and 2009-2011. 

Sachem will play Floyd for the third straight time this season. It ties Pat-Med and West Islip as the only other teams to line up against the Flaming Arrows three times in a county final.

Last year's loss to William Floyd saw the Flaming Arrows score more points in a championship game, then ever before (34).

Year Opponent Score Outcome Notes
1977 Pat-Med 21-16 W Hansen Award and Rutgers Trophy
1978 East Islip 15-0 W  
1979 West Islip 19-7 W  
1983 East Islip 20-14 W Only undefeated season
1984 Whitman 17-14 L First championship loss
1985 West Islip 24-7 L Hansen Award
1986 West Islip 14-0 W Rutgers Trophy
1994 Connetquot 10-7 L  
1995 Longwood 21-0 W Hansen Award, LIC appearance
1996 Pat-Med 18-13 L  
2000 Commack 35-27 L  
2002 Pat-Med 48-20 L Fred Fusaro's last Sachem game
2009 Floyd 27-6 L Program record for wins (10)
2010 Floyd 41-34 L Program record for wins (10)
2011 Floyd ? ? ?

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