Many players who have gone through both the East Hampton and Southampton football programs never even got a chance to play for the Hamptons Cup. East Hampton senior Cortland Heneveld, on the other hand, has the distinction of being 2-0 in games when the historic East End trophy was up for grabs.
Heneveld rushed for nearly 200 yards and scored four touchdowns as East Hampton (1-4 in Division IV play) retained the Hamptons Cup with a 47-14 victory over Southampton (1-4 in Division IV) on Saturday night at Homecoming. Heneveld and the Bonackers defeated the Mariners last season, 42-7, to bring the cup back to East Hampton after a two-decade stay in Southampton.
“It feels awesome right now,” Heneveld said of the win. “You don’t need anything to get up for this game—you just get out here and try and clear yourself up. It’s almost like you have to calm yourself down and stay calm.
“The other games matter, though,” he added. “We’re hoping to win the next three games.”
The victory is the first under new head coach Steve Redlus, who was drenched with a Gatorade shower by his players as time expired on Saturday night. Redlus, who graduated from East Hampton in 1995, never had the opportunity to play for the Hamptons Cup. During his junior year, Southampton was not on the schedule. Then, in his senior year, East Hampton was moved from Division IV to Division III, when the Bonackers reached the county finals.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Redlus said. “It’s long overdue. These kids were not an 0-4 football team. Our schedule has been tough. Southampton was a worthy opponent tonight, but our kids were ready to play. I think the proof is in the pudding—in the score, how well they played. It was pretty much a flawless game.”
East Hampton got started right away. It drove the ball down the field without any real problems, and Heneveld scored about five minutes into the game, with Lucas Escobar adding the extra point to make it a 7-0 game. Then, later in the quarter, Brendan Hughes ran the ball 61 yards untouched to give the Bonackers a 14-0 lead after the extra point.
Heneveld added two more touchdowns in the second quarter to give the Bonackers a commanding 27-0 lead. Southampton scored before the end of the half on a 1-yard run by Lyle Smith to make it a 27-6 score at halftime.
Southampton head coach Edgar “Hikey” Franklin was not pleased with how the officiating went on Saturday night, especially in the second quarter. “I’m not taking anything away from East Hampton. They played a great game,” he said. “But the officiating was absolutely horrible. And I’m never one to point the finger at the officiating, but I feel they didn’t throw the flag both ways. It was just terrible.”
The Southampton sideline was visibly upset in the second quarter when they believed they saw an East Hampton player hold one of its players three consecutive times. After the third time, the Southampton player who was being held got frustrated and threw the East Hampton player off him, and was called for a personal foul—which gave East Hampton 15 more yards into Southampton’s territory.
Later in the game, Smith rushed the ball and appeared to have the first down, which would have led to a first and goal at East Hampton’s 2-yard line, but the head official said it was short. After Franklin asked for a measurement, it was clear the Mariners had the first down.
“It went from fourth and goal to first and goal, and when I asked the official why I had to ask for a measurement, he said to me, ‘What’s it matter? What’s the difference?’” Franklin said. “That makes a big difference in the game.”
The Mariners came out on offense to start the second half and scored on another 1-yard run by Smith to cut the lead to two scores at 27-14, but that was the closest they would get. Heneveld added an easy 46-yard touchdown run later in the third quarter, and then in the fourth, Hughes added a touchdown after a 27-yard run by Jordan Johnson. Danny McKee sealed the game with a 70-yard interception for a touchdown late in the game.
Heneveld finished with 197 yards rushing and the four scores. Hughes finished with 97 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, while R.J. Notel, Colton Kalbacher and Jordan Johnson all combined for 119 yards rushing. East Hampton rushed for more than 400 yards as a team.
Hughes also had seven tackles on defense, two for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. Johnson had four tackles, three for a loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Kalbacher led the team with nine tackles, McKee had seven tackles, a forced fumble and the interception, and Bryan Gamble finished with seven tackles, one for a loss, one sack and a fumble recovery.
“I think we were prepared for everything they were going to do,” Heneveld said. “They were running the ball but they couldn’t do anything else. I don’t think they had any completions other than the one screen. Offensively we punted once, maybe twice. But they weren’t able to stop us.”
Redlus said his team had a much better week of practice, after a poor week of practice leading up to its game last week at Center Moriches. He said it’s important that the team defended the Hamptons Cup.
“It’s a huge thing, because if you look at it, it’s probably a little lopsided on the Southampton side, historically,” he said. “Southampton had a dominant football program for a long time. It’s definitely awesome to defend it back to back. With the future of knowing if we’re going to be in Division III or Division IV a little cloudy, it might be with us for a nice long stretch. It was really important to make sure that we kept it here in East Hampton.”
Franklin said that he thought his team did a good job of playing until the final whistle. He said his players could have easily quit for a number of different reasons, but they didn’t.
“I think [East Hampton] was a little better than we were expecting,” he said. “They’ve definitely improved since we scrimmaged them earlier this season. Their backs were a lot better than we expected. They definitely fed off the crowd and their homecoming. I don’t feel we quite matched that.
“Our kids played hard without a doubt,” Franklin added. “They didn’t quit and fought hard to the very end.”
Unlike Redlus, Franklin, who is now 0-2 in Hamptons Cup games as a head coach, actually played in games for the Hamptons Cup while playing for the Mariners in the early 1990s. He was a part of back-to-back winning teams and he explained that the players of today don’t realize the significance of the rivalry between the two schools.
“It’s definitely hard for me to lose those games,” he said. “The players now don’t see how big the game is to play for the cup or defend the cup. It’s a big rivalry game that Section XI dismantled or dissolved by going into divisions that are decided by school population and enrollment. It took away from the rivalry, and the kids now don’t understand that it’s something that dates back to the 1920s.”
East Hampton will look to continue its winning ways this week when it plays at Mercy on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Monarchs have only scored 26 points this season in five games. Southampton will host Elwood/John Glenn at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.