Tiger Football Defeat North Babylon To Win Homecoming Game


Northport-East Northport School District

Every team wants to win their homecoming game, and while it wasn’t pretty, the Tigers were able to do so on Saturday, defeating North Babylon by a score of 28-27.

Carter LaCorte

Every team wants to win their homecoming game, and while it wasn’t pretty, the Tigers were able to do so on Saturday, defeating North Babylon by a score of 28-27. Special teams proved to be the difference – Northport was fantastic on kick returns, while a missed extra point kick lost the Bulldogs the game. 

The Tigers received the ball to start the game, but didn’t score after a long drive. In fact, neither team scored until the second quarter, when North Babylon ran it in on the very first play. 

It didn’t take long for the Tigers to respond, however. A return by Christian Raio brought the ball into the red zone for Northport to start the drive, setting up quarterback Owen Johansen to run in for the score. 

The Tigers would also get the next touchdown, as a drive extended by a pass interference call ended with Giancarlo Valenti giving the Tigers a 14-7 lead.

The most crucial play of the game was set up by North Babylon, as they drove all the way to the goal line with one second remaining in the half. The Bulldogs ran a dive play, and after a few seconds of a dog pile, Johansen escaped with the ball and ran the full 100 yards for what appeared to be a scoop and score touchdown. But instead of going up 21-7, the officials gathered and ruled that North Babylon had indeed scored before the ball came loose, meaning the game was tied. 

Roughly half an hour later, following a performance by the band and an athletics Hall of Fame ceremony, the Tigers would take the lead once again, as Johansen scrambled out of the pocket into the end zone. 

But the North Babylon rushing game proved to be too strong for the Tigers to stop. A long score followed, until their pride got the best of them. The Bulldogs tried a sneaky onside kick, but the Tigers recovered. This gave Northport great field position for a drive that ended with another Valenti score.

The momentum was fully on the Tigers side after this, as the combination of a flag and a huge tackle by Teddy McCarthy pinned the Bulldogs on their own five-yard line to start. 

Once again, the strong rushing game pulled through. North Babylon nearly scored on the first play, before rushing up the middle near midfield to make the game 28-27. 

All the Bulldogs needed was an extra point to tie the game, but the kick was no good. While North Babylon did eventually get the football back, they couldn’t do anything with it. The game was eventually iced by Johansen scrambling once again for a big gain and a first down, allowing the Tigers to kneel out the clock and take the victory. 

Northport struggled all afternoon to get the passing game going. But the trio of Raio, Valenti, and Johansen were able to carry the offense on the ground, a big accomplishment for Coach Campbell’s offensive line. The Tigers improved to 2-1 on the season, and will look next to a different type of Bulldogs in the form of the 3-0 Lindenhurst squad.