Nick Fiorito was unexpectedly in uncharted territory.
The Fort Hamilton senior was ready to line up for a 39-yard field goal that would give New York City a third-quarter lead in the team’s eventual 15-10 win over Long Island at the Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium last Tuesday night. A false start would quickly make the kick 44 yards, a distance Fiorito only connected on in practice.
“I was just focused the whole time,” the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Albany-bound kicker said. “That didn’t change my thought or anything. I was just thinking about getting the ball through the yellow posts. That’s it.”
It wasn’t a booming shot that flew well through the top of the uprights, but it was good enough. The ball slowly turned end over end and cleared the crossbar to give New York City and 9-7 with 3:18 left in the quarter. The kick was the longest in Fiorito’s career. His previous best was a 35-yarder against Curtis in the regular season.
“He can kick further than that at practice, but you don’t get paid for kicking them in practice,” Fort Hamilton coach and NYC offensive coordinator Vinny Laino said. “You got to kick them in the game. That was just tremendous.”
He said Fiorito, who also plays center, is a tough kid, one that is not easily intimidated and never backs down. His Long Island counterpart Jesse Signa of St. Anthony’s made a living this season on big kicks and had a 30-yarder in the game. Fiorito answered with an important one of his own.
Laino said he will be giving the Albany coaching staff a call to make the case that Fiorito will be good enough to kick for them next season. He also averaged 34.5 yards per punt, including his longest at 51.
But it is the long field goal he will remember most.
“I was just waiting, waiting, waiting and then when it finally went over,” Fiorito said. “I was just so happy.”