Miller Place’s Jake Buonaiuto’s 71-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage during Friday night’s game was a sign of things to come for the Westhampton Beach football team. The Panthers went on to win, 35-3, on the Hurricanes’ home turf and also hand them their first loss of the season.
Westhampton Beach countered Buonaiuto’s touchdown with a 23-yard field goal by sophomore Ryan Wagner with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter, but that was the extent of the Hurricanes’ offense. Miller Place went on to score 28 unanswered points and the team was powered by Buonaiuto, who finished with two scores and 202 yards on the ground.
“We moved the ball well in the beginning of the game, but we would self-destruct, we’d take an offsides’ penalty, or we’d take a sack,” Westhampton Beach head coach Bill Parry said. “We just didn’t play well.”
The Canes were coming off a lopsided victory of their own in the season opener against Harborfields two weeks earlier, but Parry said he did not think his players ever underestimated Miller Place, one of the top teams in Division III this season.
After rushing for 287 yards as a team two weeks ago, Westhampton Beach was held to just 54 yards total on the ground against Miller Place.
“They really exposed our weaknesses,” Parry said of the Panthers. “We know we need to do a better job of pass protecting. They just physically dominated us.”
Bryce Phillips led the Westhampton Beach defense with six tackles. Ben Bruzga and Nick Einstman each had three tackles.
Westhampton Beach will play its next game on the road at Kings Park this Saturday, September 20, and kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. It will be homecoming for the Kingsmen, which have started their season 0-2 following losses to Comsewogue and Rocky Point.