In what seems to be becoming a common occurrence between two cross-town rivals, a brawl brought an abrupt end to a boys soccer game between Southampton and Hampton Bays at Southampton High School on Thursday, September 19.
With the Mariners leading the Baymen, 2-1, with 18 seconds remaining in the game, a Southampton player fouled a Hampton Bays player at midfield. The Hampton Bays player who was fouled immediately got into the Southampton player’s face and then the two started to wrestle each other, causing both Southampton and Hampton Bays players to rush midfield.
Coaches, school officials and security at Southampton immediately ran onto the field to separate both teams.
Since both teams had players run onto the field from their respective benches, officials had no choice but to call the game with 18 seconds remaining and with Southampton holding a 2-1 lead. All players who leave their benches and come onto the field of play must be ejected from the game, according to Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school athletics.
Nearly a year ago, in late September of 2012, a brawl between the Southampton and Hampton Bays varsity football teams ended a game prematurely midway through the second quarter. Hampton Bays was leading that game, 34-0. The game was deemed official by Section XI, with Southampton getting the 2-1 victory over Hampton Bays. Southampton Athletic Director Darren Phillips and Hampton Bays Athletic Director Drew Walker both met with Section XI Executive Director Edward A. Cinelli on Monday morning to go over all of the information that was pulled in from both schools.
Hampton Bays wound up having 17 players suspended, with 15 of them getting suspended for coming onto the field, and two other players suspended for their roles in the altercation. Southampton will have three players suspended, two for leaving the bench and one for his role in the altercation. All players with one-game suspensions on both teams missed Monday’s games.
Both Phillips and Walker ran onto the field to break up the brawl along with security and coaches. When asked why there was a wide disparity in the number of players suspended for both teams, Walker said it was partly because Hampton Bays had 29 players at the game while Southampton only had 16.
“We just have a lot more players,” he said. “[Southampton] had a couple who didn’t leave the bench. Anyone in the contest who steps on the field is automatically suspended for the next game. It’s a great rule and it’s there to defuse any type of situation.”
The brawl overshadows what was a close and competitive game. Southampton took a 2-0 lead in the first half. Senior Milos Djurasic sent the ball into the box off a set piece and sophomore Gianluca Santacruz headed it to an open Stefan Djurasic, a senior, who lifted it over Hampton Bays senior goalie Joe Calamita to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute.
About 15 minutes later, Hampton Bays junior Andy Reyes took down Southampton senior Andrew Gardner with a slide tackle in the box. The official called for a penalty kick, which was taken by Stefan Djurasic, who scored in the bottom right portion of the goal and gave Southampton a 2-0 lead. Hampton Bays scored before the end of the half though.
Hampton Bays senior Andres Tapia took the ball down the right side and crossed the ball into the box. Fellow senior Moises Villareal tried to the head the ball in the goal intially but it was stopped. After a quick scrum in front of the net, Villareal kicked the ball in to make a 2-1 game.
The Baymen led possession of the ball in the second half and had a few attempts to score. The few times Southampton had the ball it had its chances to widen the lead but came up a little short. Hampton Bays was driving the ball downfield before the foul at midfield occurred and caused the brawl.
“We were playing as hard as we could,” Hampton Bays head coach John Paga said. “Southampton is a really, really good team and I knew going in there it was going to be hard to beat them. But we played well in the second half and one stupid thing with 18 seconds left destroyed the whole thing.
“I’ve coached the team for nine years now, we’ve never been in a fight,” he continued. “And there has only been one red card handed out to one of my players before this. It’s a black eye on my program.”
Hampton Bays played with nine varsity players in its game on Monday and called up four junior varsity players to field a team. Paga expected to have most of his team back by Wednesday.
Southampton head coach Dave Riley said a two-goal lead is the toughest lead to hold. “It’s easy to get momentum that comes with one goal,” he said. “Their goal let them take control of the game. We had been nicely dictating the pace, but I feel like their goal gave them that edge.”
Riley added that his defense was solid throughout the game and he was happy that the 2-1 result was upheld by Section XI.
As for the fracas, Riley said he was disappointed in a few of his players, but for the most part, he was proud of the way most of his players stayed away from the situation. He noted that most of his players did not come on to the field.
“It was a good game, and that’s the thing, we usually have a good matchup with Hampton Bays,” he said. “I was glad it got under control very quickly. Both [athletic directors], I was impressed how they were out here, and that none of it transferred to the crowd.
“There is always a lot of cheering at cross-town rival games,” he added. “There’s a lot of crowd support from both sides, especially when its a league game, and it’s fun to watch. Unfortunately one bad decision can trigger a melee. Guys on both sides made a bad decision. Hopefully they’ll be getting the right consequence.”
Since it is the second altercation between the two schools within a year, there is a chance that games will not be scheduled between the two rivalries in the future. Phillips, though, pointed out that there are only three sports that ever create such conflicts—football, boys soccer and boys basketball. There have never been any incidents in any other sports, nor has there been any between the girls’ teams.
Both teams are scheduled to meet again Wednesday, October 9, at Hampton Bays at 4 p.m. Both Riley and Paga are expecting it to be another competitive game and don’t expect anything else to happen going forward.
“We’re excited to play on their turf,” Riley said. “It’s always good to see a close game. It spoils it when it ends like that for both sides, but I’m sure the next match will be a good match too.”
Another reason why Phillips and Walker met with Section XI on Monday was to go over the options of how to rectify the situation.
“I think both school’s administrators are trying to figure out a way that maybe we can do something to try and bring the kids together, either with a captain’s meeting or a community project,” Phillips said. “I feel there is something we can do to bring the kids closer, even though there is a long-standing rivalry.
“For something that can happen in a split second, it takes a long time to recover from that,” he added.
Walker shared Phillips’ sentiments.
“We’ll be working together to try and improve sportsmanship and behavior from students and spectators and try to be proactive,” he said. “We’re looking at possible roles between the districts to try and develop a strong relationship between the buildings and have the students understand that there are implications to their actions.”
Both Southampton and Hampton Bays had games before they met last week. Southampton lost 2-1 at Mattituck on September 17, while Hampton Bays won 5-2 at home over Babylon on the same day.
Mattituck’s James Hayes scored on a through ball from Kaan Ilgin with 13 minutes left to make it 2-0 in Southampton’s loss to the Tuckers. Senior Elliot LaGuardia scored a late goal for the Mariners (2-1 League VII, 3-2 overall). The Baymen (1-1 League VII, 3-2 overall) held a 4-0 lead at halftime over Babylon. Tapia scored two goals for Hampton Bays while seniors David Pescatore and Nick Giannone and junior Nick Lemorrocco each scored a goal.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Southampton—Wednesday, 9/25, vs. Babylon; Friday, 9/27, vs. Center Moriches, 4 p.m. Hampton Bays—Wednesday, 9/25, at Wyandanch, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 9/27, vs. Mattituck, 6 p.m.