Imagine being paired against a former high school teammate in the faceoff X in the biggest regular-season game so far for your Division I program.

Then times that by 10.

That was the scenario Saturday afternoon as a pair of former Smithtown West HS standouts went at it as Navy visited Syracuse.

But there’s more to it than that. A lot more. (And that’s reason we times it by 10.)

You see, 2013 Smithtown West grad Joe Varello of Navy and 2016 Smithtown West grad Danny Varello are brothers.

And a week of buildup for the Varello family had a storybook ending as senior Joe Varello netted the game-winner with two-tenths of a second left in the game to lift the 16th-ranked Navy men’s lacrosse team (9-4) to a 13-12 victory over No. 9 Syracuse (7-5).

“Before the game I told Danny, ‘Let’s just have fun,’ ” Joe Varello said. “It’s probably the most fun experience I’ve ever had in my life.”

The Mids scored two goals in the final minute to earn the program’s first win in the series since March 20, 1982. Joe Varello beat his brother Danny on the game’s final faceoff with 9.5 seconds left, setting up the game-winner.

“I pushed forward after I won the faceoff and tried to find Jeff (Durden), looking to recreate that same play from last week’s Army game,” Joe Varello said. “I passed Jeff the ball, but he wasn’t able to catch it and it fell to me. It was right there. The rest is history.”

Joe Varello won 16 of the brothers’ 27 faceoffs.

Joe Varello is 5-foot-9, 210 pounds. Danny is 5-foot-10, 200 pounds.

“For the game to end the way it did with Joe scoring the game-winning goal, you just can’t make this up,” Navy coach Rick Sowell said.

You can report a new commitment or any commitments not included by emailing Joe Lombardi at

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