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Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013: Long Island female kicker is the real deal

   Leading off today: Folks made a fuss earlier this season when female football players Jensine Falu-Montes of Webster Schroeder and Grace Wallace of Sandy Creek scored touchdowns in varsity games. But both did so in blowout wins in which their TDs were the equivalent of caraway seeds on a bun.

   That wasn't the case Saturday for another female player. Nijay Brown scored the winning points with a 20-yard field goal in overtime as Eastport-South Manor topped Bellport 20-17 in a Section 11 contest.

   E-SM backup quarterback Matthew Kane scrambled for a 5-yard TD run with 27 seconds to go in regulation, and Brown's extra point tied the game.

   Brown, 16, is a junior who is in her second year on the team. Even before Saturday's heroics, she'd made a 30-yard field goal in a 22-18 win over Hauppauge, hit a game-tying extra point with a minute left against Sayville, and kicked the winning extra point with :38 to go vs. Amityville. She's 12-for-16 on extra points.

   "The ball jumps off her foot," Sharks coach Paul Mastronardi told Newsday. "I've coached college and this kid can play. This isn't about her being a girl. She is an athlete . . . she is the kicker."

   Before Brown joined the varsity late in last season, "We had people kicking it all over the place," assistant coach Joe Read said. It was so bad that E-SM stopped trying conversion kicks and went for two after each TD.

   Then Brown came along and went 2-for-2 in her first game.

   Speaking of talented females,Part I: Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski, the reigning NYSSWA girls basketball player of the year in Class A, told Newsday she has committed to play at the University of Michigan beginning in 2015.

   Brozoski led Long Island Lutheran to the state Federation Class A Championship last season as a sophomore while averaging nearly 20 points, six assists and two steals per game. She was the first sophomore to earn Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year honor and has had near-legend status in the sport since junior high.

   Speaking of talented females,Part II: Queensbury sophomore Brittany LaPlant broke the presumed NYSPHSAA single-season record for goals in a girls soccer season by scoring seven in a 10-0 win Friday to reach 66 for the year.

   With two-plus seasons left in her career, she may well be on her way to 250 or more goals before heading off to Rutgers.

   LaPlant had a nine-goal game earlier this season in another blowout win.

   In pondering LaPlant's accomplishments, Greg Brownell of The Post-Star asks some valid questions about how much is too much.

   I'll offer my standard stance: There are times when the losing team bears as much responsibility as the winning team when it comes to lopsided scores, and there are also situations in which the winning team has only so many options with respect to pulling talented players off the field.

   I can understand Queensbury's need to keep LaPlant on the field long enough to maintain her fitness with the postseason just around the corner, but I'd also politely suggest there are other positions she could be playing once the score reaches 5-0 or 6-0 in order to let her get her mileage in.

   Don't think so? Well, Abby Wambach is the most prolific goal scorer in the history of international soccer

  
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(including a goal today in a friendly vs. Australia), but that didn't stop her high school coach from using her as a goalie in one of the most talked about games in Section 5 history.

   You never know what talents you can unlock by using a little imagination.

   What a great moment: With the crowd chanting his name, Josiah O'Brien raced up the middle Friday and scored untouched on a 20-yard run during Yorktown's 48-27 football win over Poughkeepsie.

   This was no run-of-the-mill play, though. O'Brien, 18, is one of the estimated 400,000 Americans living with Down syndrome. The play was a highlight of senior night and was coach Mike Rescigno's way to reward the dedication of the four-year team manager.

   “That was fun,” O’Brien told The Journal News.

   O’Brien, a son of the Rev. Dan O’Brien, pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Yorktown, is involved in numerous activities in and around school. A year ago, he won the team’s “Twelfth Man Award” at the annual football banquet.

   “Josiah is a spiritually grounded kid, who reminds you what life is all about,” Rescigno told the paper. “And he has taught me about leadership. After one game he told me, ‘Coach, we need to throw more and you need to yell less.’ And that’s something I’ll never forget.”

   Extra points: A 9-0 win over Sweet Home Wednesday gave Iroquois its 10th straight shutout in field hockey. Megan Fonfara scored six goals in the win.

   Devin Lopez of Sleepy Hollow engineered a 41-32 football win over Ossining one day after being cleared to play after a shoulder dislocation. The senior QB was 19 of 25 for 334 yards and four touchdowns and also ran 26 times for 169 yards and two more TDs.

   Collegiate junior Marco Pompilj finished in 15:13.4 to win the top boys division at the Brown Invitational cross country meet Saturday. The Northport girls earned team honors.

   Clarence Turner, whose Camden (N.J.) boys basketball teams featuring the likes of Milt Wagner and Billy Thompson played some epic contests against New York City schools, has died at the age of 81.


  
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