“I’ll never forget this varsity team and the impact we have on the community,” Westhampton Beach senior linebacker Shavar Coffey said.
In front of hundreds of fans November 15, the Hurricanes (8-2) dropped their Suffolk County Division III semifinal game to East Islip, 42-27, but what the boys has done across their careers was not lost on them.
“We prepared all week, but East Islip came out hot,” senior running back Jaden AlfanoStJohn said, “so it was hard to catch momentum, but we fought hard.”
Brandon Miller completed 12 of 19 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 16 times for 80 yards to lead the No. 3 Redmen (8-2). Dylan Rigo rushed for three one-yard touchdowns, including the first two scores of the game, but each time AlfanoStJohn had a response. The senior’s second touchdown tied things at 14-all heading into halftime. He finished the final game of his high school career scoring all four of Westhampton’s touchdowns, the third time he carried the ball that many times into the end zone in a single game this year. Junior kicker Jackson Hulse scored on all but the final extra-point kick attempt, which was blocked.
“I felt good playing, as I do in every game,” AlfanoStJohn said. “I always come through when I need to.”
It proved difficult to open the running game against the Redmen defense, and them going through the air made it that much harder for the Hurricanes to hold them.
The 17 seniors helped Westhampton Beach to its fifth straight semifinal appearance. Senior tight end and offensive linebacker Aidan Cumisky, along with several others, were part of the 2017 team that won the Long Island championship to cap off a perfect 12-0 season. In 2018, the Hurricanes went 10-0 until a 21-10 loss to Half Hollow Hills West in the Suffolk County final. They subsequently earned two undefeated league titles, and were part of a 22-game winning streak.
“Being part of such a successful program just heightened my high school football experience,” senior nose guard and center Chris Daleo said. “The program has earned a lot of attention, and it made the work we endured worthwhile. It was something to look ahead to when what we were doing was really challenging.”
In his first season as a starter, he, along with senior defensive end and offensive tackle Kevin Dillon, led an almost brand-new offensive line.
“We had some inexperience in some positions,” head coach Bryan Schaumloffel said. “Kevin Dillon and Chris Daleo did a great job of working with the new offensive linemen we had.”
“It was good to help the younger guys on the team and teach them what I’ve been taught over the years,” said senior tight end and offensive linebacker Jesse AlfanoStJohn, Jaden’s twin brother. “It’s also cool to see how we’ve inspired the young PAL players. They look at us and want to be in our shoes one day, under the lights on those Friday nights.”
Coffey, who was part of a Hurricane defense that let up 19 points per game this season, 10 last, said being a Hurricane meant the world to him.
“There’s nothing like it,” said the senior, who is deciding between playing at several Division II schools, and finished his career with 294 tackles, 15 sacks, and three interceptions. “This program has shown me what great leadership is all about, and I hope the other kids learn that success is not something that’s given, it’s earned. It starts with offseason workouts and just participating in everything the coaches have to offer. With this team, I’ve learned to just never give up. Even with hardships, there are lots of people around you to help you fight them.”
The AlfanoStJohn brothers would know about that, too. The brothers lost their mother Rose in September, right before the start of the regular season.
“All season I’m going to play with a chip on my shoulder,” Jaden said previously. “We’re going to play for our mom.”
As with several of the other seniors, he finishes his career 33-3. The running back amassed 3055 all-purpose yards, scored 47 touchdowns, and made 18 interceptions.
“Being a part of this team and program has been an awesome ride,” he said. “Hopefully my legacy and career inspired the younger kids to see what winning is like, and how to do it with class. I also hope they learned the culture of Westhampton Beach. We’re a family.”
The senior said it started for him learning from the previous greats in Hansen Award-winners Dylan Laube and Liam McIntyre. AlfanoStJohn will be joining McIntyre, a good friend of his, at Long Island University next season, committing to the Sharks November 16.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “I can’t wait to team up with him again and make some more history together.”
AlfanoStJohn said he chose Long Island University because of the atmosphere and how the coaches treated him each time he visited the campus.
“I chose LIU because I want to be a part of something special,” he said, adding his mother Suzanne was emotional at his decision. “My mom was in tears knowing that all my hard work had paid off, and she is extremely excited I decided to stay on the island so she can watch all my games.”
Schaumloffel is also looking forward to seeing his former athletes compete together.
“I’m proud of both of those guys,” he said. “The friendships and the experience of playing at the next level I think is a great opportunity for those guys who were part of very talented senior groups. They’ve had a lot of success. They worked hard, although coming up a little short of their goals, won a lot of football games, and did a lot of great things.”