Manhasset’s Defense Defeats the Cougars

Sophia Vlahakis

Under the lights on Friday was a busy night for the Manhasset defense. It was a game filled with fumbles, sacks, interceptions and perfectly timed tackles, demonstrating that defense is a strength of the 2018 Manhasset Varsity football team. Going into the season ranked last, Manhasset pulled off its third straight win of the year against the Bellmore JFK Cougars.

Sophomore Aidan Mulholland was unstoppable, scoring two touchdowns and running for 152 yards. His first touchdown came in the first quarter from a pass from quarterback Tim Barrett. Mulholland ran from the opposite end zone to add the first points to the board. His second came right away in the third quarter, giving Manhasset back the lead (14-13).

The second half was full of suspense and Bellmore had many chances to gain back a lead. However, the defense remained strong and held Bellmore to only one field goal. A fumble caused by Steven Vlahakis was recovered by Lucas Cole who ran it all the way home to add another touchdown to the board, increasing Manhasset’s lead (21-13). In the fourth quarter, Manhasset led by one touchdown but continued to frustrate Belmore JFK with its pounding defense. Captain Ross Tortora and John Whelan both broke up long passes and Tortora and Vlahakis both made tackles near the end zone to stop potential touchdowns. The game-changing play however occurred with two minutes and 44 seconds left. Jackson Cherry intercepted a pass as the Cougars were about to continue a drive towards the Manhasset end zone.  The interception led Manhasset to take a knee and wait out the clock. With a final score of 21 to 16, Manhasset defeated the Cougars in a game that could have easily gone the other way.

The defense had 8 sacks, three sacks each for captains Steven Vlahakis and Derek Mulholland, and two for Mark Psyllos. Additionally, interceptions were made by Jackson Cherry and Joseph Mulholland, and kicker Alex Papadakos kicked three extra points. Bellmore came close to scoring many times but Manhasset’s defense continuously halted the opposing team by recovering fumbles and stopping them on third downs. Every Manhasset fan was on their feet while the second half played out as Manhasset pulled off another upset. Now three and two, the team looks for more wins and a potential playoff run as they get ready to play Mepham this upcoming Saturday.