Sometimes, the other guys are just better.
You can plan and scheme and prepare and be as psyched as you possibly could be, ready to run through as many walls as need be.
But sometimes in sports, the opponent is just superior, and there’s not much you can do.
That was the feeling of North Shore football senior wide receiver Nicholas Livoti after last Friday’s Conference IV Long Island Championship game.
The Vikings came in undefeated and on a 19-game winning streak dating back to last season. They were the defending LIC champions, they were confident, and were facing Suffolk champ Bayport-Blue Point, making its debut in the LIC.
Unfortunately for the Nassau champs, BBP was superior. Taking control of the game in the second half after a close first half, the Phantoms ran away with a 35-7 win at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
It was the first defeat in 20 games for North Shore, and ended a remarkable run of success the past two years.
“We lost to a real good team today, no shame in that,” Livoti said “We watched them on film, and the difference is they were a lot quicker, a lot tougher than we thought they would be.
“It’s disappointing but they played better than us (Friday).”
The Vikings looked like they were right there with BBP for the first half, as quarterback Peter Liotta threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Livoti that tied the game at 7.
Down 14-7 at halftime, North Shore coach Dan Agovino said his squad still felt pretty confident.
“We were pretty happy with how we played to that point, played pretty strong defense, but that quarterback (Brady Clark) was able to avoid the sacks,” Agovino said. “But they just took over in the second half.”
Clark, a St. John’s baseball commitment, was able to complete 10 of 14 passes for 166 yards and rushed 11 times for 85 yards. He threw touchdown passes in the third quarter to Michael Luce, and then early in the fourth to J.J. Aiello to put the game out of reach.
On defense, BBP was able to contain Liotta North Shore star running back Nick La Rosa. La Rosa was held to 81 yards rushing and no touchdowns, and the Vikings just couldn’t get any sustained drives deep into Bayport-Blue Point territory once the lead became large.
“We did have a few good drives but they had a couple 80-yard drives and we just weren’t able to get our offense on the field enough,” Agovino said.
Still, it was a sensational two-year run for North Shore, and Livoti said he and his fellow seniors took great pride in what they’ve done.
“We were upset at how it ended but we made so much history at our school,” Livoti said. “With the community being so great in supporting us, we feel really good about how much we accomplished.”
“These kids have proven that our foundation is here to stay,” Agovino said. “We’re losing six all-county starters, but we have a lot of good young kids coming back. We’re very excited about the future.”