All Rachel Ryan could do was smile.
A 40-12 victory over Southampton for her husband’s football team was a welcome present on her 33rd birthday, but there was another reason a broad grin stretched across her face. Before the game Donnie Liotine, the team’s leader in seemingly every definable way, told her that he would score 33 points in her honor, one point for every year. It was a meaningful gesture, but surely he would not score 33 points, she thought. She was right. He didn’t.
He scored 38.
In one of the greatest performances in 90 years of Stony Brook football, Liotine ran for 340 yards on 15 carries, a remarkable 22.7 yards per carry, and six touchdowns last Friday night on the Mariners’ senior night to cement a season full of great accomplishments. His four touchdowns runs went for 46, 90, 71, and 59 yards. His 340 yards not only eclipsed the school record for rushing yards in a game, it obliterated it, besting Anthony Passalacqua’s 242 yards vs. Babylon in 1998 by a mind-boggling 98 yards. Friday night’s performance may only be eclipsed in Blue and White lore by Derek Kenney’s 466 passing yards (seventh-most in New York State history) and five touchdowns (third-most in Suffolk County history) vs. Bayport-Bluepoint on November 11, 1995. However, Liotine’s night will stand alongside any athletic accomplishment in Stony Brook history for years to come.
That is, of course, if he doesn’t break his record next year. He’s only a junior.
There have only been 85 other 300-yard games in Long Island football history, dating back to at least 1953 when the records begin, and only 30 have been for more than 340 yards. Liotine’s remarkable night was not just impressive for a school of our size; it stands as one of the great performances in the history of Long Island football.
For good measure he also threw a 58-yard completion to Jerome Washington, giving him 398 all-purpose yards on the game.
It was a night to celebrate a great performance, but it was also a night to pay tribute to a great team that persevered through innumerable obstacles this season, as well as the outstanding coaching staff, led by Kris Ryan, that got the best out of our boys. We’ll remember 2011 as the season we started 2-0 for the first time since 2006. We’ll remember the epic game against Mercy at home under the lights. We’ll remember Taylor Colucci’s outrageous speed on one of his kickoff returns and Andrew White’s ankle-shattering jukes. We’ll remember Wyatt Piazza’s courage as he stepped into Marco Masakayan’s vacancy and led us to victory over Mercy. We’ll remember Liotine’s heart-pounding runs, where seemingly everyone on the field touched him yet somehow, some way, he made it.
It is a season we’ll look back on and smile about because we watched a team come together. Newsday ranked us last in Division IV in the preseason poll, yet this team conquered three teams ranked above them, twice in dominant fashion, and held halftime leads over two teams ranked in the top nine. They proved that despite the size of our school, the size of our bench, and the size of our players we could battle anyone because bigger schools, benches, and players don’t have a monopoly on heart. They made Friday nights exciting again. They made us believe in Stony Brook football again. I can’t wait for next year.
Junior Don Liotine had 15 carries for a career-high 340 yards and six touchdowns to lead Stony Brook (3-5) in Suffolk IV Friday night. Liotine’s 71-yard TD run with 30 seconds left in the first half gave Stony Brook a 20-12 lead. Liotine also had a 58-yard pass completion to Jerome Washington on his only pass attempt. Ed Kim had three carries for 20 yards for the Bears. Southampton is 0-8.