After three consecutive weeks of frustrating losses, including two blowouts, against some of the top teams in Division IV, the Hampton Bays football team finally had a chance to get out its frustrations on Friday night.
And, boy, did it ever.
The Baymen walloped Stony Brook (1-5), 63-7, at home on Friday night to improve to 2-4 on the season, and most importantly, keep their playoff hopes alive.
Because the Baymen were seeded fifth coming into this season, they’ve had a brutal schedule, taking on juggernauts such as undefeated Babylon and second-place Shoreham/Wading River. They finally saw relief in the form of a weaker opponent on Friday—the Bears’ only win was a come-from-behind effort over 1-5 Southampton two weeks ago. The Baymen also were healthier than they’ve been all season, according to head coach Mike Oestreicher, who said his squad has been struggling with various injuries since week one.
Stony Brook took an early 7-0 lead, scoring on its first drive of the game on what Oestreicher described as a “broken play.” But he was never worried. Hampton Bays went on to score 63 unanswered points.
Several Baymen had great efforts, but the standout was running back Taylor Catz, who tied a school record by scoring five touchdowns on the night. That record was first set in 2002 by Adam Hamill and later tied in 2003 by Jamie Costa. Catz had 12 carries for 173 yards, and added a 70-yard punt return. Teammate Cody Nolan, a fullback, carried the ball six times for 68 yards, and also added a 69-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Running back Josue Monroy had nine carries for 71 yards and a touchdown. As a team, Hampton Bays rushed the ball 39 times for 376 yards.
Defensively, Catz had an interception, and Tommy Tretola had a fumble recovery, caused by Ryan Cavanaugh.
Hampton Bays scored 14 points in each of the first two quarters, and put up 28 in the third. Oestreicher sat most of his starters before the third quarter was over, with his team leading 39-7.
Oestreicher and his team knew they were taking on a much weaker opponent than they had in the last two weeks, when they suffered lopsided losses to Shoreham/Wading River and Babylon, the second- and first-place teams in the division, respectively. Still, he wanted to see a much stronger effort from his team than what he had witnessed in those losses, and he said he got it.
“We had to decide which team was going to show up,” he said, referring to the type of effort his players were going to bring. “And this is the first week where we’ve been healthy. It was good to see us perform, and I thought we executed well and played well. I think [the win] was more a product of us playing well than [Stony Brook] not being a good football team.”
The Baymen will return to a tougher schedule this Friday when they travel to take on Mount Sinai (4-2), the third-place team in the division. Oestreicher said he figures his team will need to win one of its last two games to assure a spot in the postseason. Hampton Bays will visit Greenport/Southold (5-1) on November 2 at 1 p.m. in the regular season finale. The Porters lost to Center Moriches last week, their first loss of the season, but have benefited from a relatively easy schedule to earn one of the best records in the division.
Oestreicher said he doesn’t expect either game to be easy, but said he and his players would love to take care of business sooner rather than later by beating the Mustangs.
“They’re a physical football team with very good athletes,” he said of Mount Sinai. “They sit among the top of the division for a reason. In the last couple of years, we’ve been right there with them and have been able to stay in football games and have a chance to win. But we’ll have to put out our best performance of the year to beat them.”
Friday night’s game at Mount Sinai will kick off at 7 p.m.