NEW CITY – In a game where no lead was safe and no comeback was inconceivable, Clarkstown South kicker Michael Tagaris made sure one thing was certain on his potential go-ahead extra-point kick: good or bad, it was going to have the distance.
Tagaris, a soccer player-turned-football kicker, booted a perfect shot through the uprights and out of the confines of Vincent Festa Field with 38 seconds left in the annual Supervisor’s Cup — a historic Rockland County rivalry between Clarkstown South and Clarkstown North — for what ended up being the difference in a gritty 14-13 win.
“I lose form a little bit when I just do a chip shot or something, so I just figured that if I really want this to go in, I’m just going to blast it,” Tagaris said, running his right hand through his wavy golden locks. “It was the greatest feeling ever.”
The junior started sprinting down the field with his arms raised before the ball landed among a sea of fans.
“Maybe my team was a little upset that I flew away from them, but I had a lot of adrenaline going through me,” Tagaris said.
Clarkstown South special teams coach Bill Kennedy said Tagaris is a “natural” kicker, and that his raw talent could develop into something fans see on their television screens one day in the future.
“He’s got a very special foot,” Kennedy said. “As the year goes on and he gets a little bit more comfortable — not that he’s not comfortable now; he might be the most comfortable kid I’ve ever met in my life — but as the year goes on and he gets more and more chances, he’s going to be special, and I told him that when I first worked with him.”
Clarkstown South put together the game-winning drive with less than a minute and a half left in regulation. Clarkstown North took the lead on a 15-yard rushing touchdown by junior Eric Maurer. Ironically, it was a missed 18-yard field goal by Tagaris that ignited the Rams crowd and helped shift the momentum in the home team’s favor.
When Vikings senior Samuel Mistretta punched in the game-tying touchdown, the Rams bleachers that once shook the press box behind them had gone still and the fans had gone silent.
“We can lose every single game and win this game, and have like a ‘winning’ season,” Clarkstown South senior Kyle Samuels, who scored the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter, said of the annual rendezvous. “This is about everything for us, but we’re going on to bigger and better things this season.”