For two and a half quarters on Thursday afternoon, the East Hampton football team gave Mount Sinai all it could handle, but the Division IV powerhouse Mustangs went on a roll in the second half and ended up winning 41-14. The Bonackers, ranked ninth in a preseason coach’s poll, fought hard against the top-ranked Mustangs, ending the first half down 13-7 including a missed field goal on their opening drive and a lost a fumble deep in Mount Sinai territory during the second quarter.
After preventing the Mustangs from scoring at the end of the first half, the Bonackers’ stellar play continued in the second half. East Hampton forced a fumble on Mount Sinai’s third play of the second half and scored on a 70-yard run by Cortland Heneveld on the ensuing play, giving the Bonackers a 14-13 lead early in the third quarter.
The game, however, was all Mount Sinai after that. On their next possession the Mustangs scored on a 65-yard run by Zach Wolfe. The Bonackers were not able to move the ball on their next possession and were forced to punt. The Mustangs answered with another quick score, a 58-yard run by Mike Cortese bringing the score to 28-14. East Hampton continued to struggle on both sides of the ball as the Mustangs scored two more unanswered touchdowns.
First-year head coach Steven Redlus said after the game that the Bonackers “played their hearts out for two and a half quarters” but the Mount Sinai squad, which started 11 seniors, just “wore us down physically.” East Hampton has six seniors returning on offense and five on defense, while the rest of the starters are experiencing varsity football for the first time, including three sophomores starting or “playing major minutes on offense and defense” according to Redlus.
Despite the loss, Redlus was encouraged by his team’s performance against Mount Sinai.
“They are a dominant program that has a winning team every season,” he said. “We gave them all they could handle.”
Even if the Bonackers could only stay with the Mustangs for two and a half quarters, Redlus credits East Hampton’s offseason program as being “the best it’s ever been” and stated the team is on track to get to where it “can compete for a full 48 minutes against the best teams in Suffolk.”
The Bonackers next host Greenport/Southold on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Coach Redlus is confident in his team’s chances, saying “we are headed in the right direction.”