There’s something very sobering about the first game of the season: Every team starts off with the same win-loss record.
For the Westhampton Beach Hurricanes, a possible fall from grace loomed especially large, because they had so far to fall. After all, last year’s team was one of the best football teams to ever come out of Suffolk County.
The Hurricanes, undefeated, rolled to the Long Island Conference III Championship last season with an 11-0 mark led by one of the greatest running backs ever, Dylan Laube.
But Friday night, September 7, Laube was a distant memory and the adoring Hurricane fans, at least most of them, were a long way away. It was the Eastport/South Manor fans making all the noise, and with good reason. Their Ducks were sitting on a 13-0 lead, smelling an upset, and naysayers were worried the bubble had burst for Bill Parry’s charges.
Then pride, and talent, took over. Yes, Laube is gone, but there is plenty of talent on this year’s team, led by the all-Long Island senior linebacker Liam McIntyre, who is a difference maker on defense, and also a bruising fullback.
McIntyre is but one of a three-head running attack that should serve Westhampton Beach well this season. After the initial shock of falling behind wore off, Aidan Cassara, a halfback, broke through for a 17-yard touchdown run to narrow the lead to 13-7 at halftime.
Cassara tied things up with a 10-yard spring early in the third, and then the floodgates opened for the locals.
Enter Jaden Alfano-St. John, who did a pretty fair Laube impersonation. His 35-yard TD reception put the Hurricanes on top for good.
The team played ball control for most of the way from there, grinding out huge chunks of real estate and burning clock time. Alfano-St. John rushed for 123 yards and for two touchdowns on only 16 carries, and McIntyre added 121 rushing yards on 18 carries. What started out as a nail-biter ended a laugher, 35-13; Eastport never scored again after the 13 first quarter points. Rival East Islip (1-0) comes to the Hamptons Friday night, September 14, as the Hurricanes seek their 13th straight victory in what should be a real test. Kickoff is 6 PM.
In other local action, the North Fork combined team, on the road, dropped its opener 36-20 to a strong Wyandanch team in Conference IV action. The home opener is Friday evening at 6:30 against Hampton Bays, which recorded a win via forfeit since East Hampton, its scheduled opponent, did not field a team.