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Blazers Go Head-to-Head With the Best

The Great Neck North High School football team played one of the greatest football games in recent Great Neck history in a first round playoff to loss to Plainedge on Saturday, Dec. 12. After trailing 14-0 at halftime, the Blazers came out in the second half and scored on the second play from scrimmage with Dillon Sedaghatpour going 40 yards down the left side line for a touchdown. Kyle Heyman added the extra point to make the score 14-7. After trading possession back and forth for the remainder of the 3rd quarter, the Blazers, led by All-County Quarterback Adam Goltche, marched 80 yards down field to the Plainedge one-yard line. During the drive Adam connected with Cyrus Nazmiyal and Ariel Mardkhai on passes of 16 and 23 yards respectively to make it first and goal. On 2nd down it appeared that Adam had scored the game-tying touchdown on a quarterback sneak, but the officials ruled him down on the Plainedge one-inch line. On 3rd down the Blazers fumbled the ball and Plainedge recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

After stopping Plainedge to begin the fourth quarter, the Blazers steadily moved the ball up-field with a very balanced throwing and running attack. The final touchdown for the Blazers was a 48-yard Goltche pass to Ariel Mardkhai, who made a twisting catch between two Plainedge defenders who he then out ran to the end zone. With the score 14-13, the Blazers attempted a fake kick in a bid to go for the win. The pass from kicker Kyle Heyman barely missed the outstretched hands of a diving Aaron Shirian. With less than 2 minutes to play in the game, and with Plainedge controlling the clock and the ball, the Blazers were forced to allow Plainedge to score the final touchdown in hopes that they would be able to score on the ensuing possession. Unfortunately, Plainedge was able to intercept the ball with less than a minute to go ending what was an amazing game played by both teams.

Senior wide receiver Ray Yassi explained it best. “We went toe-to-toe with one of the best football teams on Long Island and we really feel like we could have and should have won the game.” Nobody could have argued with that. Plainedge has a rich football tradition having gone to the playoffs 14 straight years and had beaten the Blazers head-to-head in their last 3 meetings. Head coach Michael Lewis was understandably proud of his boys. “They played their hearts out. They prepared for this game, they worked hard all summer to get to this point and it came down to a matter of inches. Nobody expected us to make this a game. This is a testament to the character of these boys and I couldn’t be prouder.”