Paul Boutin was only playing his second game on defense, but he was prepared.
The Westhampton Beach (5-1) senior had watched tons of film, and knew exactly what he was looking for. He made a move on it. Twice.
The first time he intercepted East Islip quarterback Brandon Miller was on a pass at the 29-yard line on his home sideline, where he snagged it before returning the ball 52 yards to the Redmen 19 to set up a Christian Capuano-Jackson Hulse score. Hulse crossed the field and caught an 18-yard pass before shaking off a tackle as he scampered into the end zone at the end of the third quarter to put Westhampton up 24-6.
“I was preparing for their out routes and that’s when I jumped the ball,” Boutin said. “As soon as I saw him . . . I knew it was coming. I followed the quarterback’s eyes and jumped on the pick.”
The game grew closer after back-to-back-to-back East Islip (4-2) touchdowns helped the Redmen close within 24-21, but that wasn’t going to shake Westhampton.
Jaden AlfanoStJohn, who also had an interception, capped a four-play, 82-yard drive with a 35-yard touchdown run with 2:54 remaining after hitting the ground with an injury a minute prior.
“I knew I had to make a play,” he said. “I knew I had to help my team out. I knew I had to suck it up. It’s football, so I’m going to get hit. I just saw the sideline and hit it full speed.”
Boutin iced it by intercepting his second pass with 1:59 to go in a game.
“I’m just shocked right now, of how we all played, but I did not expect to do that,” Boutin said, smiling. “It was a great team win. We all stepped up.”
And there were many, as head coach Bryan Schaumloffel called them, “unsung heroes.” Junior quarterback Christian Capuano tossed three touchdown passes, with junior running back Aidan Cassara (19-yard pass) and senior tight end Aidan Cumisky also finding the end zone. Cumisky made his catch before carrying the ball 45 yards for the score that put the Hurricanes up 14-0 a little over midway through the first quarter.
“The ball got tipped off the line — the line protected really well — and I got downfield,” the senior said. “I thought I was going to get tackled at the end but made it into the end zone.”
The defense, besides stealing the ball three times, made nine total sacks. AlfanoStJohn’s twin brother Jesse recorded five of them.
“We knew we needed to put some pressure on the quarterback and force some turnovers, because we knew the game wouldn’t just fall into our hands,” Jesse said. “We blitzed a good amount, got into the backfield, and took the quarterback down as many times as we could. That led to more balls being picked.”
Schaumloffel said regardless he knew his team couldn’t let off the gas going into halftime up 17-6.
“They’re a great football program. They’re one of the blue bloods of Long Island football and we knew they weren’t going to lay down at halftime,” Schaumloffel said. “We had to come out and play a great second half. We said in the locker room, ‘Someone has to make a play.’ And Paulie came through. Those were big-time plays.”
Westhampton is now tied for the No. 2 spot with Kings Park under undefeated Sayville, although the Hurricanes put up more power points.
“We know East Islip put up a fight with Sayville, and so did we,” Boutin said. “Coming off this win can get us through to the playoffs with the confidence to beat Sayville. I just feel like this could be the next step to get to the top.”