Equaling the exuberance from the Eastport South Manor football team’s last-minute win over Amityville in Week 1 was the disappointment from its follow-up performance against Islip. With an ESM homecoming crowd filling the stands and lining the field, the Buccaneers dominated both sides of the ball, building a three-touchdown lead at halftime and coasting to a 28-7 victory over ESM.
“We didn’t play well at all, and Islip is a very good football team,” Sharks head coach Paul Mastronardi said. “They were very physical up front, and we were having problems handling it.”
ESM dealt not only with a stout Islip defense but also the elements. A stiff breeze from the south paralyzed the Sharks’ offense in the first quarter, and in turn set up Islip in prime field position. ESM went three-and-out on each of its first two possessions, and the ensuing punts went for 2 and 14 yards. Islip took advantage of the short field in both cases, with Wynell Michaud scoring from 31 and 13 yards out to help the Buccaneers construct a 14-0 advantage just past the halfway point of the first quarter.
“The wind was a factor in the beginning,” Mastronardi said. “We lost the coin toss and had no choice but to take the football. That got us behind schedule, and the punts killed us.”
Facing another punting situation on their third possession, the Sharks used some trickery to lengthen the drive. On 4th-and-3 from the ESM 27-yard line, they lined up in punting formation but up-man Cole Zeller took the direct snap and raced 13 yards to the ESM 40. However, the drive stalled just past midfield.
Islip effectively put the game away on its next possession. A roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Bucs new life in ESM territory, and quarterback Kieran Mullins found wide receiver Tim Going with a 14-yard scoring strike at the 5:47 mark of the second quarter.
Trailing 28-0, ESM ended the scoring drought midway through the fourth quarter, going 80 yards to do so. Zeller finished off the drive, taking the handoff and walked a tightrope down the left sideline for a 36-yard touchdown run. He also had scampers of 18 and 11 yards during the possession.
Zeller had his fair share of success on the afternoon, rushing for a team-best 99 yards. However, the Buccaneers managed to bottle up the Sharks’ Jake Hobbie, who shredded the Amityville defense for 105 yards on the ground the week prior.
The Sharks return to action on Saturday, September 28, when they travel to Sayville to face the Golden Flashes, who are coming off a 25-18 loss at top seed Miller Place.