This was unfamiliar territory. For the first time since the Suffolk County championship game in 2006, Floyd found itself trailing at halftime.
A 50-yard, with-the-wind field goal by Justin Bertone with two seconds left gave Connetquot a three-point lead yesterday before a crowd of 3,800 for Homecoming Day in Mastic Beach.
For a half, there was a whole lot of head-shakin' goin' on. There were thousands of fans wondering, "What's going on here?'' There were many former Floyd players watching from the sideline in disbelief.
And there were the Thunderbirds, rushing off the field at halftime to cheers from hundreds of fans who made the trip, yelling themselves hoarse after more than holding their own against Floyd and its 39-game winning streak. "The first half, that's as good as we can play," Connetquot coach Mike Hansen said.
Unfortunately for the Thunderbirds, it was not as good as Floyd can play. The Colonials needed only six plays to march 83 yards with the opening kickoff of the second half, and only another six plays to go 43 yards after a three-and-out defensive stand. Suddenly it was Floyd by 11 points, and the swagger was back.
Floyd went on to defeat Connetquot, 27-9, in a Division I game to extend its Long Island-record winning streak to 40 games and its 2008 record to 7-0.
"They're very tough,'' said Hansen, whose team is 5-2. "They are who they are."
That would be the kings of Long Island football, a team that for almost four full seasons has found a way to win and plays especially well in the second half.
"I went in and told them I knew we could win," coach Paul Longo said. "We could move the ball, but Steven [Murphy, the quarterback] was a little too excited in the first half and missed some passes."
Murphy admitted he was "jumpy" in the first half when he had open receivers on several occasions and overthrew the ball, not compensating for the gusty conditions. "I didn't make the throws and the wind was taking the ball," Murphy said.
So Longo, confident in his offensive line led by guard Tom Lindley, told Murphy and Vaughn Magee to run the ball -- on every play, as it turned out. Murphy didn't throw a second-half pass.
Magee churned for 165 yards, 158 after halftime, on 18 carries and Murphy broke tackles for 129 yards, 79 in the second half, on 20 carries. Each player scored two touchdowns.
Murphy concluded the first drive of the second half with a 4-yard touchdown run and Magee finished off the next drive with a 17-yard run that helped Floyd build a 14-3 lead after three quarters.
Floyd, which forced the T-Birds to punt twice in the third quarter, took advantage of a short field to score early in the fourth quarter when Murphy dragged two tacklers into the end zone for an 8-yard TD run. Connetquot cut it to 21-9 on a spectacular catch by Matt Nason on a 37-yard pass from Ryan Anderson. But Magee's slick 37-yard TD run eliminated any late drama.
"Our O-line was flat in the first half, but they took over in the second half," said Magee, who praised his opponent. "This was our toughest game of the season, hands down. They were as tough as us; we just outplayed them."
Murphy acknowledged a "grim" halftime locker room, but he said that after the two third-quarter drives, "we got into that Floyd groove, where nothing goes wrong."
Scoring: C -- FG Bertone 50 F -- Murphy 4 run (Miranda kick) F -- V. Magee 17 run (Miranda kick) F -- Murphy 8 run (Miranda kick) C -- Nason 37 pass from Anderson (kick failed) F -- V. Magee 37 run (kick failed)
Steve Murphy (QB/S) 6/12 for 47 yards, 0 TDs, 0 PAT, 0 Int
Ryan Andersen 11/22 for 173 yards, 1 TDs, 0 PAT, 1 Int
Jon Sternbach 6 receptions for 100 yards, 0 TDs, 0 PAT
Wayne Magee (G/DL) 18 attempts for 156 yards, 2 TDs, 0 PAT
Steve Murphy (QB/S) 20 attempts for 129 yards, 0 TDs, 0 PAT
Joseph Zuco 17 attempts for 75 yards, 0 TDs, 0 PAT