In Division IV football, there’s Babylon, and then there’s everyone else.
In four games, the Panthers have done what most coaches expected them to do, establishing themselves as the undisputed favorite to win the division, the county championship and most likely the Long Island championship too. On Friday night, Hampton Bays was Babylon’s latest victim in a 48-8 loss.
Head coach Mike Oestreicher summed up the loss simply.
“They’re pretty damn good,” he said. “I thought my kids played hard and never gave up, which is a good sign for us.”
Babylon took a 7-0 lead early, but the Baymen did manage to drive the ball inside the Panthers’ 20-yard line after that. But they failed to score, and after that, Panther tailback Jake Carlock ran back consecutive punts for touchdowns that bridged the first and second quarter, putting the Panthers up, 21-0, in flash. After that, it was essentially over.
“Teams like Babylon, they get up and they don’t ever come back down,” Oestreicher said.
The loss dropped Hampton Bays (1-3) to eighth place in the division. The top eight teams make the playoffs. Babylon, meanwhile, improved to 4-0 and maintained its spot at the top of the division standings. The Panthers have beaten teams by an average of 36 points per game this season. They also average more than 43 points per game.
The Baymen avoided the shutout on a 75-yard touchdown run by Taylor Catz in the third quarter. Catz also punched in the two-point conversion. While Oestreicher said he wasn’t disappointed with his team’s effort in the loss, the numbers weren’t pretty. Baymen quarterbacks Ryan Palazzolo and Sean Grismer—who got the start—were a combined 9 for 14 passing for negative seven yards and an interception. Hampton Bays fumbled twice, losing the ball once, which combined with the interception made a total of two turnovers. Babylon turned the ball over once with an interception by Christian Nydegger. Babylon passed for 147 yards and rushed for 158, while the Baymen ran the ball 31 times for 164 yards. Hampton Bays had only six first downs, two courtesy of Babylon penalties. Joe Veeck led the Baymen on defense with nine tackles.
Oestreicher isn’t thrilled with the fact that his team—seeded fifth going into the season and thus the recipient of a brutal schedule—has only one win in four games. And life wasn’t going to get much easier for the Baymen this week, as they are slated to host Shoreham/Wading River (3-1), which is tied for third place in the division with Greenport/Southold. Shoreham’s only loss came against Babylon.
“They have five very good athletes,” Oestreicher said of Shoreham. “They’re an offensive juggernaut and they will pose a very lofty challenge. We will have to play outstanding football to win.”
The game is set to begin at 7 p.m.