Blog Recap: Riverhead dominates North Babylon to win county title

DAN DEMATO PHOTO | The Blue Waves celebrate their 52-20 win over North Babylon.

The Riverhead Blue Waves are headed to the Long Island championship.

Riverhead, on the strength of a dynamic passing game and stout defense, throttled fifth-seeded North Babylon 52-20 Sunday night at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium to clinch the Division II county title. The Blue Waves (9-2) scored a season-high in points behind superb games from quarterback Ryan Bitzer and wide receiver Quinn Funn. The two connected for three touchdowns through the air, including a 29-yard pass play on the Blue Waves’ first possession of the second half.

Riverhead will play Garden City at noon next Saturday at Stony Brook for the Class II Long Island title. Riverhead won its first county title since 2008.

The Blue Waves’ defense limited North Babylon to its lowest point total since Sept. 29.

North Babylon (7-4) scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game to take a 6-0 lead. Riverhead then ran off 28 unanswered points to seize control of the game. The Bulldogs got to within two touchdowns but never really threatened.

In addition to his touchdowns through the air, Funn also scored a defensive touchdown when he returned a fumble six yards midway through the first quarter. The play came less than a minute after the Blue Waves took their first lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Bitzer to Funn.

The craziest touchdown of the game went to North Babylon. On the final play of the second quarter, the Blue Waves punted from their own end zone. North Babylon quarterback Jake Conner field the punt and ran a few yards before throwing a lateral pass to his right at around the 30-yard line to Connor Slane. He followed a blocker up the right sideline and scampered into the end zone with no time on the clock. The score cut the Blue Waves’ halftime lead to 28-14.

The momentum hardly carried over for the Bulldogs. Riverhead scored on its first possession of the second half and never looked back.

Bitzer threw four touchdown passes and also rushed for one. Bitzer threw a 60-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jeff Pittman early in the second quarter that put the Blue Waves ahead 21-6. It was Pittman’s first touchdown since Week 1.

Riverhead’s previous season-high in points was 42, which the Blue Waves hit four times during the season.