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Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014: Lawrence wins on 82-yard return of fumble

   Leading off today: "That's unbelievable what just happened," Lawrence football coach Joe Martillotti told MSG Varsity on Friday night.

   The man has a point. It's not every day you see a 6-foot-2, 265-pound defensive lineman scoop up a fumble with 1:06 to play and ramble 82 yards for the winning touchdown, but that's precisely what Melik Mavruk did to carry Lawrence to a 40-35 victory over Sayville in the Long Island Class III championship game at Hofstra.

   "Me out of all people, running (82) yards? That's amazing," Mavruk said.

   A chess match broke out once Lawrence (12-0) turned the ball over on downs and Sayville (11-1) marched down the field as sophomore quarterback Jack Coan (16-for-38, 315 yards, 1 TD) and senior running back Matt Selts traded carries on a 16-play drive to 12 with 1:22 left and Martillotti called his last timeout with 1:22 left.

   Martillotti considered letting Sayville score, but was sure Golden Flashes counterpart Rob Hoss anticipated that strategy and would have instructed his players to take a knee short of the end zone.

   That's when Mavruk made his huge play, picking up a botched handoff between Coan and Selts.

   "Melik really wasn't the guy I wanted to see pick up and go with it because Tevine Johnson was right there and he's the fastest guy on the team," Martillotti said.

   More from Long Island: Syosset won its first L.I. Class I championship with a big defensive effort to defeat Lindenhurst 35-13.

   "That's crazy after so long, so many teams coming through here, such a history," senior Ian Berg said. "To be able to be the first, a senior going out on top, there's nothing better."

   Syosset (8-4) forced five turnovers, scored twice off interceptions and stopped Lindenhurst (9-3) on fourth down three times.

   "The defense played unbelievable," Syosset QB Will Hogan said. "They made it incredibly easy for us on the offense, especially with the two scores and the shutout for three quarters. It was really great to see."

   Junior E.J. Aronson halted Lindenhurst's 19-play, 73-yard drive when he stuffed a 4th-and-3 run from the Syosset 3 on the last play of the first quarter.

   Aronson finished with 6½ tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery, while also rushing for 89 yards on 16 carries.

   2013 POY picks Happy Valley: Aquinas quarterback Jake Zembiec, the 2013 NYSSWA player of the year in Class AA whose junior season was severely limited due to a broken wrist, tweeted Saturday that he has committed to Penn State.


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  •    Various recruiting services have rated him as a three- or four-star prospect. Zembiec had numerous other offers, including from Michigan State. He was in Happy Valley on Saturday to watch the Spartans take on Penn State.

       Eligibility granted: Friday's rapid-fire developments in Syracuse likely brought a smile to fans of Section 5 basketball. Christian White, who transferred from Monmouth to Syracuse University over the summer, was granted eligibility by the NCAA to begin playing immediately for the Orange rather than having to sit out the usual one season. He then made an appearance late in Friday's win over Holy Cross.

       White was a four-year starter at Aquinas, where he made his reputation as a solid but undersized point guard and gritty defender. He had a promising freshman season at Monmouth only to fall out of favor along with several others following a coaching change.

       Syracuse spokesman Pete Moore told The Daily Orange he did not know the exact type of waiver, but said it is likely related to White making the decision to walk on to a team closer to home.

       SU had only one true point guard in freshman Kaleb Joseph before the decision on White.

       Extra points: Sixth-year Sherburne-Earlville football coach Mike Jasper has submitted his resignation after four straight trips to the sectional playoffs.

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